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New York Stories: Landmark Writing from Four Decades of New York Magazine Paperback – September 16, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a delightful foreword, Tom Wolfe hits the ground running with a chronicle of New York Magazine's humble beginnings, as a supplement to The New York Herald Tribune, and its growth, at the hands of fearless editor Clay Felker, to rival the untouchable New Yorker. For the mag's 40th anniversary, the editors have collected some of its most memorable essays, including Mark Jacobsen's 1975 "Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet" (which loosely inspired the television show Taxi, Nik Cohn's Tribal Rights of the New Saturday Night and, in turn, the film Saturday Night Fever), two Gloria Steinem essays (including her brilliant 1969 manifesto, "After Black Power, Women's Lib"), and other articles from the likes of Jay McInerney, George Plimpton, Nora Ephron, Joe Klein, and current New York regulars Kurt Anderson and Emily Nussbaum. More recent favorites include Steve Fishman's "The Dead Wives Club, or Char in Love," about a group profile of Staten Island firemen's wives widowed on 9/11, and Mark Jacobson's "The $2,000-an-Hour Woman," a 2005 piece on "America's No. 1 escort" (whose colleague would later bring down Gov. Eliot Spitzer). Highlights abound, including Wolfe's classic 1976 "The 'Me' Decade," which details the yuppy phenomenon's "great religious wave" of narcissistic self-discovery for "dreary little bastards" with money. A pleasure to read, this book will satisfy anyone wishing to reminisce about New York City and the birth of New Journalism.
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From Booklist

From its birth as a Sunday newspaper supplement, New York magazine has incubated many of the nation’s best writers, its influence on journalism and literature far exceeding its size and circulation. Virtually inventing the “new journalism” of the late twentieth century, New York has consistently courted both innovation and controversy and appeals to an audience well beyond its metropolitan base. This anthology brings together representative examples of the magazine’s prose. Cultural issues include Gael Greene on pretentious restaurants, Julie Baumgold on Truman Capote’s last days, and Vanessa Grigoriadis on bloggers. The magazine’s political pundits couldn’t be more stellar: Gloria Steinem, Garry Wills, David Halberstam, and Richard Reeves, profiling national leaders from Nixon through Obama. Tom Wolfe contributes a foreword that succinctly captures founding editor Clay Felker’s charisma and talent as well as his magazine’s perennial sniping feud with the New Yorker’s William Shawn. --Mark Knoblauch
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; 1St Edition edition (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812979923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812979923
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you needed any proof, here are several dozen reasons why some of the best writing and journalism of the past four or more decades were to be found in the pages of NEW YORK magazine. Tom Wolfe's memory-filled foreword and ode to founding editor Clay Felker is worth the price of admission alone. But you don't need to live (or have lived) in New York to appreciate takes from Kurt Andersen on George W. Bush (and George H.W. Bush), Julie Baumgold on (the real) Truman Capote, Susan Berman on Bess Myerson (and Ed Koch), Jimmy Breslin on Joe Namath (and running for office with Norman Mailer), Michael Daly on "a good man who became a bad cop," Nora Ephron on cooking Julia Child, Steve Fishman on the post-9/11 "Dead Wives Club," Vanessa Grigoriadis on Gawker, Gael Greene on how to eat at snob restaurants, David Halberstam on Spiro Agnew, Pete Hamill on the white lower middle class circa 1969, Anthony Haden-Guest on Dr. Herman Tarnower (and Jean Harris), John Heilemann on John McCain (and Bob Dole and Hillary Clinton), Gary Indiana on life in the East Village, Mark Jacobson on "the king of prostitution," Joe Klein on race (and Bill Clinton), Ariel Levy on female chauvinist pigs, Nicholas Pileggi on the mob, George Plimpton on "the writer from Philadelphia" Jerry Spinelli and a visit to Elaine's, Richard Reeves on Jerry Ford, Nancy Jo Sales on pen-paling with Woody Allen, Jennifer Senior on Senator Barack Obama, John Simon on booing for a living, Chris Smith on a "comedy isn't funny period" of Saturday Night Live, Stephen Sondheim on crossword puzzles, Gloria Steinem on black power, women's liberation (and Richard Nixon, alone in a room), John Taylor on John and Susan Gutfreunds during the "gilded age" of Wall Street, when it was "hard to be rich," and Gary Wills on George Wallace (but really on Jimmy Carter). There isn't a bad story among this collection.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You know that old chestnut..."I just couldn't put it down"? Well it applies to my experience with this amazing chronicle of the cool, the bizarre, and the fascinating. And all three apply to the first story by Tom Wolfe who takes us into a party hosted by Leonard Bernstein for the Black Panthers. This, like many of the stories, go back a few decades in the magazine's history and time and space have improved the tales. Pete Hamill provides a gritty account of class struggle and the now famous, The Secret of Grey Gardens, tells the story of Bouvier relations and their living conditions in the Hamptons which became the basis for a documentary and Broadway musical.

Comedy Isn't Funny is a snapshot of Saturday Night Live in one of its lowest periods and the result is a sad and hollow picture. I remember reading Hard To Be Rich when it came out in 1988 and credit it with prompting me to read every book on 1980's largesse and greed that has appeared since. The Crack In The Shield haunts you and offers more questions than answers on the subject of corruption. Henry Hill is profiled in Wiseguy which became Goodfellas and the creepy duo of Sid and Nancy do provide a nauseating love story.

There are many more and all are entertaining showcasing that very unique New York style of essay writing. I recommend it for enjoyment and for gaining a clearer picture on recent cultural history.
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Very good. I had already read some of these stories when they were originally published. The time range of the stories makes it interesting because one can see the city changing.
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