As FishBowlNY reported earlier today, New York Press editor Jeff Koyen has stepped down from his position in the wake of intense criticism for the paper's Pope-mocking cover story from last week.

We caught up with Koyen as he cleaned out his desk and he told us he'd probably "hit the road," maybe return to Eastern Europe, where he'd been before taking over the paper.

He also sent us this exit statement, which we're reproducing in whole:

In Friday's Daily News, Rep. Anthony Weiner called on New Yorkers to "exercise their right to take as many of these rags as they can and put them in the trash." Unfortunately for Mr. Weiner, New Yorkers don't have that right. No one does. Interrupting the distribution of any newspaper—even a paid one, wherein you buy, say, 1000 copies and toss them—is against the law. Case law dictates that the right to circulation is to be held as sacred as the right to publish, as one is worthless without the other.
My bosses apparently don't believe in New York Press' right to distribute. They refused to stand up against Rep. Weiner; they refused to condemn his call-to-action as immoral (and illegal). They also refused to stand behind me in the face of harsh criticism for publishing Matt Taibbi's "52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope". On Friday afternoon, I went on the 3 different radio programs and even suffered through an MSNBC appearance with Joe Scarborough and the disgusting bigot Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League. I did my best to show this battle to be one of free expression.

This morning, I was told to accept a two-week unpaid suspension. During that time, I was to "think about what this paper should be."

Problem is, New York Press already is the paper it should be. We are iconoclastic, occasionally obnoxious but always intelligent. If you see through the nasty Pope jokes, for instance, you will see a well-reasoned political argument.

Publisher Chris Rohland is a spineless alt-weekly weenie. I can't blame him, really. He has a wife and kids, and a nice home in New Jersey. He wants nothing more than to punch the clock and get his paychecks. Owner David Unger, who is the paper's ultimate owner, is similarly spineless. They want New York Press to be "advertiser-friendly"; they "don't want controversy."

That's their choice. But I don't need to be party to such weenieness. And I won't be sent to my room without dessert. Hence, I resigned this morning.

It's been a great run, and I have nothing but respect for everyone in the editorial department I've just left behind. Chris Rohland and David Unger, however, are weak-willed and lackluster men who should not be in control of a newspaper, especially not in these times of editorial restriction by way of advertiser dick-sucking. They're too vulnerable to the appeal of money.

So, there ya go. We might not've always loved Koyen's version of The Press, but we did read it every week and we were often surprised and amused by what we found. It'll be interesting to see who remains and who follows his resignation and what the former House of Mugger looks like in the next few months.