As expressed back on this old post, I've always had something of a complicated love/hate relationship with New York Magazine. On the one hand, given my lifelong adoration of this city and my strenuously arguable skills as an ersatz writer, it seemed -- for a little while, at least -- like the perfect place for me to end up, although -- of course -- that never happened. The closest I came was getting a photograph reproduced in their Approval Matrix in 2014. I certainly applied for jobs there, over the years, and badgered contacts who'd penetrated its confines, but nothing ever panned out, alas. Either I wasn't right for the gigs in question or, more likely, they just weren't interested in what I was pushing. Oh well.
On the other hand, however, the magazine has always exuded a level of ersatz-sophisto smarm that has rubbed several people the wrong way. More to the point, they've editorially mishandled enough topics over the years, to my mind, to render themselves utterly devoid of any real semblance of credibility. After a certain point, the wife and I cancelled our subscription. I can't say I've paged through an issue in at least four or five years.
But, y'know, times change. While tactile print magazines are going the way of the wooly mammoth, many hackneyed periodicals have found a way to reinvent themselves on the web. For all intents and purposes, New York may have done just that, but I don't know. I still don't make a point of reading it. That all said, I spied one article (with accompanying video) this week that caught my eye, and thought I'd share it here.
While ultimately a sponsored piece of "advertorial" content, courtesy of Absolut Vodka -- a beverage I do not regularly consume -- What Shuttered NYC Establishment Would You Bring Back From the Dead? does speak rather directly to my predilections and preoccupations.
My only problem with the clip (watch it below) is the folks they chose to poll on the subject. With the exception of venerable old Michael Musto (and I'm dead sure he'd positively wince at the thought of being branded "venerable"), I'm not really moved by the participants here. I mean, I'm not begrudging the contributions from Alex and Zach Frankel (although their second answer towards the end of the clip is incomprehensible to my ears) or Stretch Armstrong, but I didn't find any of their answers especially illuminating (nor, for that matter, was Musto's suggestion of bringing the Mudd Club back from the dead especially a revelation). At the risk of being perceived to besmirch her further, I was neither surprised nor particularly enthused to hear Lizzie Goodman cite Brownie's as the place she'd bring back. Not exactly a shocker, given the crux of her most celebrated work.
But, y'know, I'm ultimately an opinionated snob and this is essentially just a flimsy device to make Absolut Vodka seem hip (did it need help?), so none of it really matters that much. At the same time, I do like the concept. Enough of my yappin' …. Watch the clip:
My grievance here is that the idea of bringing back NYC establishments isn't just as simple as reinstating them. To make the Mudd Club special again, you'd first have to depose everyone who currently lives at 77 White Street, which has, in more recent decades, because a pricey condo. But, more to the point, what made places like the Mudd Club -- and, to that same end, the other clubs mentioned in the clip, notably Nell's, the Palladium and the Tunnel -- so significant were the sensibilities, the cultures and the eras in which they were thriving. A Mudd Club on the White Street of 2018 wouldn't make any sense. But, perhaps I'm overthinking this.
What NYC establishments would YOU bring back?