George A. Hirsch; New Times Publishing Company, New York, New York.
Jonathan Z. Larsen, 1973-1979.
Initial, 100,000; Fall 1974, 150,000; Fall 1975, 235,000; June 1976, 300,000; October 1977-October 1978, 366,694; last issue, 8 January 1979, 350,000- 355,000.
Jimmy Breslin was right about New York Magazine when he said in 1968, "I think we're stuck with the thing for twenty years. You couldn't kill it with an axe." 1 New York celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 1988 with four special issues, back to back. The first, on 4 April, began with a reprise that the editors with justifiable confidence called "The Score." Excerpts from twenty of the magazine's cover stories, one from each year, were illustrated with snapshots of the covers themselves, showing vividly why art directors and designers consistently give the magazine kudos. 2
Among the cover stories featured were two that became movies: "Portrait of an Honest Cop" (Serpico) and "Peter Maas on the Deadly Battle to Become King of the Gypsies."3 The excerpts supported the magazine's claim to a distinguished record of neologisms, including "radical chic," "the 'me' decade," "couch potato," "forever single," and "downward mobility."
It is not serendipitous that three of the excerpted cover stories were by Tom Wolfe, ace phrase coiner and apostle of the "new journalism," which uses the techniques of fiction to make reportage more dramatic. Wolfe was not only one of the original writers for the magazine but also the subject of the cover story for the 21 March 1988 issue, thereby illustrating the continuity that is a strength of New York but carries the risk that future issues will have an air of déjà vu. Skirting that danger is complicated for New York by its success, which has inspired frequent imitation. In 1968, there were only a few city magazines, but by 1982 there were 200. 4
There were signs in 1988 that New York might have plateaued after two decades of impressive growth. Whereas in its first full year of publication it had carried 972 pages of ads with revenue of $1,904,322, in 1982 there were 2,547 ad pages with revenues of $25,500,000. 5 Particularly good years for the magazine were 1973 and 1983. In 1973 it won the National Magazine Award for reporting excellence, with special reference to Gail Sheehy's articles on Times Square prostitution and Herb Goro's photo essay on a lonely old man in the Bronx. Orde Coombs story, "Fear and Trembling in Black Streets," won the 1973 Public Service Award of the Public Relations Society of America. Alan Rich's