1 New York’s 16th annual “Reasons to Love New York” issue was a remembrance of 500 places that have closed since the start of the pandemic (“Reasons We’ve Loved New York,” December 7–20). Readers responded with their own mix of grief and nostalgia for the bars, restaurants, galleries, gyms, and other places we’ve spent our lives. Daniela Bernal wrote, “Didn’t know I was going to cry on a Monday morning because of a NY Mag cover, but here we are.” The New York Times’ Dana Goldstein called the tribute a “near perfect magazine issue. Read it in print. Had me in tears on several occasions.” Many readers highlighted their own experiences with the businesses listed: Sam Sheppard tweeted, “I’ve been so focused on the impact of COVID in my immediate communities, I didn’t fully grasp how many places that vividly defined my adulthood in NYC are just … gone. The place we had our first date, the cafe I visited before work, the jazz club I loved.” Inc.’s Sophie Downes tweeted, “The Vietnamese place where I took friends and dates for affordable vegetarian dinners. The boutique that had the most beautiful clothes, but never in my size. Bunsmith, the only place I knew in Brooklyn that had Okinawan beer. The croque monsieur shop! This broke my entire heart.” Russell Kaye wrote, “Odessa was our go-to late-night borscht-to-prevent-hangover all during the alcohol-fueled nights of the 1990s.” Some used the collection of stories as an opportunity to critique the government for not doing more to prevent these closures. Chris John Millington wrote, “Devastating. Our state governance has failed us. Higher taxation on an enormous tax base, and this is how it ends up for so many of our best creatives? We need better leadership incentives & better systems for rent relief and support.” That Bar in Park Slope added, “Small businesses like us are all fighting from ending up on a cover like this. Thank you to all those who support small businesses all around the 5 boroughs!” Pete Pachal wrote, “I’m glad @NYMag compiled this list even though it hurts to look at it—not just because I’ll personally miss many of these places but also because every city and town in America has a similar list, whether it’s published or not.”
2 In “Our Shared Unsharing,” Stella Bugbee wrote about the personal and political weirdness of using Instagram this year (December 7–20). Columnist E. Jean Carroll called it “one of the most wildly intelligent pieces ever written about Self-Branding.” Jordan McBride wrote, “This leads me to wonder if we’re close to collectively moving on from Instagram and the need to flex our ‘perfect’ lives online?” The New York Times’ Katie Rogers was more pessimistic about the future: “We could all stand to judge others and ourselves a little less than we do, but I certainly don’t see things trending in that direction.” Michele Stassfurth wrote to the magazine, “This article articulated exactly how I have been feeling around social media and why I recently completely unplugged from Facebook and Instagram for at least the month of December … I am deriving so much more joy from pointedly sending photos to family and friends I care for rather than posting and hoping for likes in this 2020: as if garnering double-taps from others could fix what is so wrong with our state of being right now.”
3 In “The Best of a Very, Very, Very Weird Year,” New York’s critics and editors took stock of the most original, absurd, scrappy, and ingenious works that shaped our time in quarantine (December 7–20). Autostraddle’s Heather Hogan wrote, “Nothing I’ve seen captures the horror and absurdity and joy of 2020 on the internet quite like this.” Journalist Elle Hunt said, “This list made me feel fondly nostalgic for parts of this terrible year.” @abitoverzellis tweeted, “I do hate this year with all my heart but this thread is actually enjoyable.” Others nominated their own favorite moments. Commenter hreich wrote, “Two things I think are missing: Stanley Tucci’s Negroni video and Andrew Cotter’s dog videos.” Erik Johansen agreed on the former: “This is really only missing the Stanley Tucci Negroni.” @KudoTim added, “There’s some pretty great stuff on this … list but how are you going to leave off the videos of New Yorkers clapping at 7 p.m. each night during April/May?”
4 Neighborhood Spot, an organization founded earlier this year to help struggling businesses around the city, transformed New York’s latest cover into a capsule collection, and the proceeds will go to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The line is available now through February 28 at neighborhood-spot.com.
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