Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Vintage Gawker Collection, where we'll roll out old posts from the vault in full to provide perspective on the present. Tonight: Jessica Coen's 2005 post, 123 Reasons to Love New York Right Now.
New York Magazine's first year running their Reasons to Love New York feature was in 2005, when the below post ran on this site. Since then, it's been one of their most successful and eagerly awaited yearly features. People love their lists. Especially New Yorkers. Ask Time Out. They publish one every three weeks. But all that shit aside...
Besides being my personal favorite, this post, published four years ago on Monday, was also to those I've spoken to who read it and remember it—counting 7,176 hits to this day, a comparatively small group when looking at Gawker's audience and readership these days—one of the more memorable ones we've run over the history of the site. It resonated as patently true, and it wasn't the kind of thing anybody in print, but especially the magazine it was riffing on—New York—would've run with.
But you'll see the times have (in many, many ways) very much changed. Other things? Shit's stayed the same, for better or worse. For example! We'll always be able to fart on the street without anybody noticing, at least until Bloomberg starts to tax us for it. Until then, long live this great, great city.
Without further ado, 2005 Gawker co-editor Jessica Coen's original post in full, and after, the magic of hindsight.
Alas, as we read the piece and grew infected with the warm glow of lust for NYC, we realized that there was a lot missing from the listicle. Sure, we love Central Park and squirrels and fancy shoes, but those things don't really get to the heart of why we adore New York so totally and completely. In fact, we can think of 123 completely different reasons to love New York, all of which make a bit more sense to us. After the jump, Gawker's 123 Reasons to Love New York Right Now.
1. Because we scorn the fat.
2. Because we can drink until 4 AM.
3. Because we have our drugs delivered to our doors.
4. Because all we have to do is walk down the street in order to be propositioned for sex.
5. Because we get to push tourists if we're late for work.
6. Because we only pretend to recycle. ¹
7. Because Tompkins Square park is still friendly to junkies. ¹
8. Because whether you make $50k or $200k, you're still "middle class." ²
9. Because "fuck" is intrinsic to our local dialect.
10. Because there's a Starbucks on every block.
11. Because you can get anything you want on Craigslist.
12. Because Anderson Cooper.
13. Because our restaurants are so cramped, we can hear if our neighbor is being an asshole.
14. Because you can live in the same place for 10 years and never have to see or meet your neighbors
15. Because a pink paper like the New York Observer can survive. ¹
16. Because assistants.
17. Because everyone's Gay.
18. Because we can make someone like Blackface Jesus into a celebrity. ³
19. Because sometimes it smells like maple syrup. ¹
20. Because there's always a secret room behind the VIP room. ²
21. Because we can get fake TiVo for $9.95/mo.
22. Because our tabloids are considered newspapers. ²
23. Because the transit strike keeps us from really working.
24. Because Jocelyn Wildenstein exists. ²
25. Because you can go to the East Village Baths and not get raped.
26. Because David Cross's imposters live here. ³
27. Because Brooklyn is for domesticating. ³
28. Because i-bankers and hipsters can peacefully coexist. ²
29. Because there's always a free drink available somewhere.
30. Because we know Sex and the City is a crock of shit. ²
31. Because we know Friends is a crock of shit.
32. Because it only takes $30 million to launch and burn a magazine. ³
33. Because we think Vitamin Water is a real beverage. ³
34. Because we never have to shovel snow (unless it's coke).
35. Because we all know we're actually better than Tinsley Mortimer.
36. Because "road trip" just means Ikea.
37. Because even Lenny Kravitz's toilet gets clogged.
38. Because smoking is encouraged.
39. Because we only have one mall, and it's not any good anyhow.
40. Because people read.
41. Because we invented PNP.
42. Because words like Otto Tootsie Plohound make sense to us.
43. Because we eat McDonald's ironically.
44. Because ANYONE can lie to Page Six. ³
45. Because Jews.
46. Because you can take a dump at the Apple Store.
47. Because you can buy anything, even a stolen baby.
48. Because mani/pedis are affordable.
49. Because George Whipple.
50. Because our public opinion can turn on a dime.
51. Because real estate is a professional sport.
52. Because only black is the new black.
53. Because it's acceptable to Shoot the Freak. ³
54. Because our pigeons have rabies.
55. Because Conde Nasties don't threaten our food supply. ³
56. Because anyone can get into Soho House and see that it's nothing. ²
57. Because everyone's got a blog. ³
58. Because Paris Hilton moved to Los Angeles.
59. Because Bloomberg has that adorable bald spot. ³
60. Because it's easy to stalk famous people.
61. Because everyone you know has slept with one another.
62. Because Woody Allen is allowed.
63. Because Fresh Direct has every single product's nutritional info on its website.
64. Because Peter Braunstein stabbed himself in the neck.
65. Because we have a looser definition of substance abuse.
66. Because everyone has a cat or a book deal. ¹
67. Because you only need a Village Voice to get a chick with a dick. ³
68. Because anybody can be a DJ.
69. Because even if you can only play "Wish You Were Here" on the guitar, you can make a few bucks at a subway station.
70. Because Robin Byrd.
71. Because everybody knows the 1-800-Mattress song. ³
72. Because sometimes it's just fun to give tourists wrong directions.
73. Because you can buy live jellyfish from a wooden box in Chinatown.
74. Because your parents love to come visit and pay for dinner.
75. Because your parents don't love to come visit.
76. Because you can walk down the street and fart and nobody will notice. ²
77. Because if you want a cat, you can walk into any deli and just steal one.
78. Because you can do your Sunday morning walk of shame undetected.
79. Because Teen Vogue is only $1.99. ¹
80. Because fifth floor walk-up apartments are great for the glutes.
81. Because nobody uses condoms anymore.
82. Because Dr. Zizmor is a celebrity.
83. Because you can drop a penny in an empty water jug and make some dude's day. ³
84. Because everyone looks like shit in the morning.
85. Because there's such a thing as $300 sushi.
86. Because you can be a gay man and reasonably keep both a wife and a boyfriend.
87. Because bagels.
88. Because there's just enough Brits around to keep us speaking proper English.
89. Because we worship high fashion in collapsible tents.
90. Because vegetarians keep to themselves. ³
91. Because our knock-offs are often better than the real thing.
92. Because there's always someone naked in Times Square.
93. Because the New York Press is still trying. ²
94. Because your cab driver is probably more interesting than you are.
95. Because you can get mustard on everything.
96. Because it's perfectly fine to answer your phone mid-sentence.
97. Because H&M: Our Gap is Eurotrash on purpose. ³
98. Because we don't stand in line, we stand on it.
99. Because we tolerate the New York Sun. ³
100. Because gift bags. ¹
101. Because you can ride the Staten Island ferry all day at only the cost of your stomach. ²
102. Because "summer" really does make sense as a verb.
103. Because we know what "new bar smell" is, but not "new car smell."
104. Because 666-6666 has nothing to do with Satan. Technically.
105. Because even your intern has an intern. ¹
106. Because only old people have land lines. ³
107. Because parts of Central Park still smell like a poopy country farmyard.
108. Because you can make a career out of being Amanda Lepore. ¹
109. Because everyone drinks at brunch.
110. Because our tap water won't kill you.
111. Because it's easy to steal wifi. ²
112. Because as much as you hate it, Rockefeller Center is still kind of neat.
113. Because city kids have been there and done that before you even got here. ²
114. Because everyone's painfully human, even the staff of the New York Times. ³
115. Because used clothes cost more than new ones.
116. Because we'd rather be emaciated than healthy. ¹
117. Because in one morning, you can look like a jackass in the background of four different morning shows.
118. Because it's perfectly acceptable to give the finger to anyone at any time.
119. Because the smell is concentrated in Chinatown. ²
120. Because doing your own laundry is for rich suckers.
121. Because you can buy Vagisil at the bodega at 4 AM.
122. Because we keep Jersey at arm's length.
123. Because we gave silly Adam Moss a job. ³
As you can tell, spot-on, in so many ways, whether things have or haven't changed. Hats off.
But here's how it breaks down:
¹: Only kinda changed. Now we get fined if we don't recycle, and landlords take that shit out on us. Assuming you're not smart enough to blame the other neighbors. Tompkins is still friendly to junkies in that junkies still have friends hanging around Tompkins Square Park. Just try and make the dumb, touristy mistake of "buying" drugs there these days and experience what a first-class NYPD beatdown is like. Tragically—really: upsettingly—we learned what the maple syrup smell came from (Jersey, The Garden State of Smells, of course), but that doesn't mean it won't still happen or stop us from enjoying it, even though it's different, now that we know. If you call the (wonderful, but few) remaining New York Observer writers clinging onto gigs after Jared Kushner dispatched with Peter Kaplan and unceremoniously fired most of their talent, Spencer Morgan's shameless instigating of eyeballs through faux-trend pieces, and the slow evolution towards becoming Jared Kushner's pink advertorial spread, then yes: the New York Observer is still surviving. Besides everyone having a cat or a book deal, now everyone's cat has a book deal, and Kate Lee's made it. Teen Vogue? Try $3.50. Gift bags are still around, they just suck now. Now, your intern's intern has an intern, and none of the three are paid, but at least two have graduate degrees. Amanda Lapore's career probably makes her feel like a den mom, now. Not only would we rather be emaciated than healthy, but there're citywide initiatives to keep this the case.
2: More than ever. The middle class? Growing, because everyone's getting poorer. In other words, unless you're working at Goldman, welcome to the center. This city will always have one more VIP room behind the VIP room's VIP room: the rabbit hole keeps growing deeper. Not only our are tabloids still real newspapers, but the Wall Street Journal's now owned by the tabloids, and if you're Mark Penn, takes money for copy like a tabloid does, too. The New York Press will never die, and neither will Jocelyn Wildenstein. The Sex and the City movies remind us just how full of shit that show always was. Now that SoHo House is trying to get rid of rich people, it's especially nothing. The Staten Island Ferry's one of the few free things left in this city. City Kids have now been there and done everything you've experimented with at 30 by the time they're sophomores at Horace Mann. Our parks have WiFi, but it's still better to steal it. The smells of Chinatown grow more diverse every year and you learn to love them. And you will never, ever not be able to fart while walking detected. We will kill to preserve that liberty.
3: Shit's changed. Conde Nasties are now beginning to threaten our food supply, but given that they're handing out gift cards for the cafeteria this year for holiday presents, efforts are still being made to keep this the case to some, if any extent. David Cross impostors are out; hipster grifters are in. Brooklyn's not just for domesticating anymore; it's a nice getaway from all the moneyed bankers taking over the East Village, or it was until they all moved back in with their parents in Connecticut. It now takes way less than $30M to make a magazine crash and burn, just ask Maer Roshan. Twice. Now that the rest of America believes Vitamin Water's a real beverage, we see through it, and instead worship the funky ass-in-a-glass that is Kampuchea. It's only acceptable to Shoot the Freak for however many summers the freak has left, which, as always: it's year-to-year thing. Blogs are dead, now everyone—everyone—has a blog network. Or a Twitter or a Tumblr or a startup. Anyone can lie to Page Six but us, because former Gawker intern Neel Shah's runs it. Bloomberg's bald spot? After three terms of looking at it, no longer adorable, now: menacing. Chicks with dicks? Go Craigslist, not Village Voice, which has also, like the Observer, been stripped bare of everything but their Chicks With Dicks ads. Why not cut out the middleman? Our ability to turn Blackface Jesus into a celebrity has been subverted by the fact that 2009's Blackface Jesuses have Twitter feeds and can do it themselves. Also, the ascent of Julia Allison to Sony Spokeswoman makes Blackface Jesus look like a minor-league waterboy. Who remembers the 1-800-Mattress song? You can still make someone's day by dropping them a penny, but the UHO was just ruled an illegal organization, so: they're done with. Vegetarians now absolutely refuse to shut the fuck up, but so do active meat-eaters and the hipster butchers who service them. Everyone else has H&M, and it used to be ours, goddamnit. Then again, we've still got Uniqlo and TopShop, which tourists have no idea what to do with. Not only did we tolerate the New York Sun, but now that it's gone, we miss it. Most of the old people who had land lines are dead, or well on their way. We now know, more than ever, just how painfully human the staff of the New York Times is, as their ranks are cut to size buyout by buyout, layoff by layoff, person by person.
And finally, not only did we give silly Adam Moss a job that he still has, but a few years after she wrote this, silly Adam Moss gave Jessica Coen one of the most clutch jobs at New York Magazine as their website's managing editor.
It's clear that things are different. And so is the New York we live in and love now. It could use a new list to remind us of why we still love this place and put up with the shit that it serves us daily (unless you're in London). A new list needs to emerge, and it will.
In the comments, if you want an item to be submitted for Gawker's 123 Reasons to Love New York Right Now, which we'll run next week, tag your comment in this post with #123, or submit them on the tag page here. I'll be coming up with some of my own, looking for help from some other writers around town, and looking to pick a bunch from you guys. It was a hell of a post about a hell of a town, and respectively, we'll try to do it the justice and give this city the love it deserves: ours.