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40th Anniversary

The (Anniversary Edition) Approval Matrix

Our deliberately oversimplified guide to 40 years in the culture capital of the world.


So what exactly happened in New York over the last four decades? Let’s see. There was Letterman. And hip-hop. And, you know, books. And pretty much everything else that was important in American culture, except maybe country music and Hollywood. So how do we fit it all in here? Simple: We don’t. This is two pages, not a black hole. We did, however, make room for the most brilliant, despicable, memorable, and iconic. In answer to your next question—But where the hell is [insert favorite influential New York cultural figure here]?—we can only say, “Read it again.” They might be in there somewhere. If not, hey, this is New York City. You try to cram 40 years into four boxes.


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