Bruce Wasserstein displayed his deal-making expertise when he swooped in at the last minute to beat out a consortium of bidders for New York that included Harvey Weinstein and Mort Zuckerman. But from that moment on, his love of journalism guided his ownership of the magazine, relying as he did on the instincts he developed as a college reporter at the University of Michigan. Unlike the private investors who often buy publications like New York, Bruce had no interest in using the magazine to advance a personal agenda. On the contrary, he had a journalist’s curiosity and took pleasure in the provocative. At monthly meetings with the magazine brain trust, he wanted to talk as much about the latest news, or politics, or shifting currents of all kinds as he did about New York itself. His ownership style was hands-off but very engaged, and he was more likely to ask questions than give directions. He had enormous respect for the institution that he was now part of, and a strong belief in the future of both print and web journalism. That belief was reflected in the deep support he showed for New York Media, both as an investor and as a proud owner. He made it possible for the website to grow into a fully complementary partner to the print magazine, yet he always loved holding the physical pages in his hands so much so that he would complain on the off-weeks of a double issue. When he bought the magazine in 2004, some wondered what he wanted with New York. It turned out that he just wanted the best possible future for it, and he had a self-interested desire to be the man who made that happen. In that sense, New York could not have had a more perfect owner than Bruce. In every possible way, he will be missed.
Photo: Getty Images
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