year in review

New York’s 20 Most-Read Stories in 2020

Photo: New York Magazine

Between the pandemic, the socially distanced presidential election, and an ongoing reckoning over racial injustice, the word “unprecedented” got a good workout in 2020. Throughout the year, New York readers sought out stories that offered a guide through all this new territory, from an explanation of a miraculous COVID vaccine to the pandemic’s effect on higher education to what happens when an ex-president faces trial. Other entries on our list of the most popular stories of 2020 — as measured by total collective minutes of audience engagement — addressed a problem that predates the coronavirus and will certainly survive it: the hurdles faced by powerful women, particularly women of color.

This is just a small sample of the work New York produces every day, both in print and across its six digital sites: Intelligencer, the Cut, Vulture, Grub Street, the Strategist, and Curbed. For more of New York’s indispensable coverage, be sure to sign up for One Great Story, our daily recommendation newsletter, and to subscribe.

Medical Mysteries

20. We Still Don’t Know How the Coronavirus Is Killing Us

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Six months in, doctors and researchers are continuing to discover dangerous new ways COVID-19 affects the body. Read the story ➽

Election Week Inside the White House

19. The Final Gasp of Donald Trump’s Presidency

Photo: Carlos Barria/REUTERS

By Election Day, Trump understood that losing was inevitable. Nevertheless, he was furious. Read the story ➽

Garbage Language

18. Why Do Corporations Speak the Way They Do?

Photo: Shutterstock

Corporatespeak permeates the ways we think of our jobs and shapes our identities as workers. Read the story ➽

A Dose of Optimism

17. Anthony Fauci’s Boss on Why Things Could Be Much Better Soon

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AFP/Getty Images

NIH Director Francis Collins on the pandemic, vaccines, and faith. Read the story ➽

The Next Crash?

16. Why Our Economy May Be Headed for a Depression

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Nouriel Roubini predicted the 2008 crash. Now, he’s warning that the America is hurtling toward a decade-long depression. Read the story ➽

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

15. Escape Our Current Hell With These (Good) Coronavirus Jokes

Photo: Roy Wood Jr/Twitter

The funniest jokes about the coronavirus from from comedians such as Patti Harrison, Patton Oswalt, and Norm Macdonald. Read the story ➽

The Poison of Male Incivility

14. What’s So ‘Disruptive’ About AOC Standing Up for Herself?

Photo: Alba Vigaray/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dared to respond to a colleague who had verbally attacked her, she was called opportunistic. Read the story ➽

Housing Nightmare

13. The Eco–Yogi Slumlords of Brooklyn

Photo: Ben Verde

How did a couple who built an empire of yoga studios, vegan restaurants, and homes with “living walls” end up as pandemic villains? Read the story ➽

The Trump Reboot

12. The Most Tremendous Reelection Campaign in American History Ever

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty

Inside the most disorganized, self-sabotaging presidential campaign since the last one. Read the story ➽

First Family Feud

11. Melania Trump’s Ex-BFF Tells (Almost) All

Photo: Alexi Winston Wolkoff

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff thought Trumpworld conspired to destroy her reputation. The First Lady told her, “Don’t be so dramatic.” Read the story ➽

Michaela the Destroyer

10. Michaela Coel’s ‘I May Destroy You’ Will Tear You Apart

Photo: Ruth Ossai

How a young talent from East London went from open-mic nights to making the year’s most sublimely unsettling show. Read the story ➽

‘Tenet,’ Explained

9. A Beat-by-Beat Explanation of What Happens in ‘Tenet’

Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros.

It turns out the plot of Christopher Nolan’s new movie Tenet is also a mystery to people who have seen it. Read the story ➽

A Hollywood Ending

8. Bong Joon Ho on Why He Wanted ‘Parasite’ to End With a ‘Surefire Kill’

Photo: Neon

The director explains his coda: “I thought it was being real and honest with the audience.” Read the story ➽

The Coming Disruption

7. How Coronavirus Will Disrupt Future Colleges & Universities

Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow

NYU Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway predicts a handful of elite cyborg universities will soon monopolize higher education. Read the story ➽

In Conversation: Thandie Newton

6. Thandie Newton Is Finally Ready to Speak Her Mind

Photo: Dana Scruggs

After decades onscreen, nothing surprises the Westworld actress, though what she’s ready to share will surprise you. Read the story ➽

Surprising Facts

5. We Had the Vaccine the Whole Time

Photo: AP Photo/AP2009

The silver bullet we’ve been waiting for took all of one weekend to design. Read the story ➽

The People v. Donald J. Trump

4. Donald Trump Could Be on Trial Sooner Than You Think

Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow

The criminal case against President Trump is already in the works. Read the story ➽


3. Why Did These YouTubers Give Away Their Son?

Photo: Myka Stauffer/Instagram

Myka and James Stauffer adopted a toddler from China and shared every step of the process with their online audience. Except the last. Read the story ➽

Science Fiction

2. The Story of a Coronavirus Infection

Photo: Getty Images

How the novel coronavirus could take over your body before you ever felt it. Read the story ➽

Emily Ratajkowski Reclaims Her Image

1. Buying Myself Back

Photo: Tina Tyrell

When does a model own her own image? Read the story ➽

New York’s 20 Most-Read Stories in 2020