year in review

New York’s 20 Most-Read Stories in 2021

Photo: New York Magazine

The past year was filled with spectacular finales, so it’s no surprise that endings show up frequently on New York’s list of the most-read stories in 2021. As Donald Trump exited the White House, readers dove into analysis of his presidency and reporting on its lethal crescendo on January 6. On the culture front, they gravitated toward razor-sharp analysis of Kim and Kanye’s split and reporting that helped expose Scott Rudin’s allegedly abusive workplace behavior, which led to the megaproducer stepping back from his projects. And as we all wondered when the COVID-19 pandemic would finally end, New York published a meticulously researched cover story on a then-underconsidered theory about its true origin.

This list, which is measured by total collective minutes of audience engagement, is just a small sample of the work New York puts out each day in print, across its six digital sites — Intelligencer, the Cut, Vulture, Grub Street, the Strategist, and Curbed — and in its growing portfolio of newsletters. For more of all of it, be sure to sign up for One Great Story, our daily recommendation newsletter, and to subscribe.

January 6

20. Gina. Rosanne. Guy.

Photo-Illustration: John Ritter

What do you do the day after you storm the Capitol? Read the story ➼


19. Katie Couric Is Not for Everyone

Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

The legendary anchor has written a wild, unflinching memoir. Does that make her a bad person? Read the story


18. The Political Life of Dr. Oz

Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow

His campaign to be the next Republican senator from Pennsylvania is facing one major problem: Republicans in Pennsylvania. Read the story ➼

A Long Talk

17. Mike White Accepts the Criticism

Photo: TODD MIDLER/The New York Times/Redux

The White Lotus creator understands if you feel conflicted about that ending. So does he. Read the story

The National Interest

16. An Ex-KGB Agent Says Trump Was a Russian Asset Since 1987. Does It Matter?

Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Revisiting the Trump-Russia mystery in light of recent revelations. Read the story

Andrew Cuomo

15. Abuse and Power

Photo: George Etheredge

Andrew Cuomo’s governorship has been defined by cruelty that disguised chronic mismanagement. Why was that celebrated for so long? Read the story


14. The Tiger Mom and the Hornet’s Nest

Photo: Photograph by Gillian Laub for New York Magazine

For two decades, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld were Yale Law power brokers. A new generation wants to see them exiled. Read the story


13. The End of Kimye’s Wild Ride

Photo-Illustration: Kanye/youtube

She thought he was an artistic genius. He wanted to “dip her ass in gold.” And now it’s over. Read the story


12. Marilyn Manson ‘Almost Destroyed Me’

Photo: Ashley Walters

Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco says her relationship with the singer left her with physical scars and PTSD. Read the story


11. How Sara Gruen Lost Her Life

Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland

The Water for Elephants author’s six-year fight to free an incarcerated man left her absolutely broke and critically ill. Read the story

Let there be Kronk

10. ‘We’ll Never Make That Kind of Movie Again’

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures/Everett Collection

An oral history of The Emperor’s New Groove, a raucous Disney animated film that almost never happened. Read the story

The Industry

9. Scott Rudin, As Told by His Assistants

Illustration: by Fede Yankelevich

A portrait of a toxic workplace. Read the story


8. Trump Is on the Verge of Losing Everything

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A broken president leaves the White House twice impeached, on the brink of bankruptcy, and criminally exposed. Read the story

The National Interest

7. Tom Brady Joins Biden to Laugh at Trump in Worst Day of Trump’s Life

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The sum of all Trump fears. Read the story

The Swamp

6. Senior Trump Official: We Were Wrong, He’s a ‘Fascist’

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

“The legacy of the Trump administration is going to be that the president sparked an insurrection and people died.” Read the story

Gotcha! Gotcha Again!

5. Okay, Let’s Talk About Behind Her Eyes’ Double Twist Ending

Photo: Netflix

That final reveal gives some of what comes before greater context, but that doesn’t mean it’s good context. Read the story


4. We Spoke to the New Yorker Who Found a Whole Apartment Behind Her Bathroom Mirror

Photo: @samanthartsoe/TikTok

“I was kind of expecting there to be somebody.” Read the story

First Person

3. Rachel Lindsay Has No Roses Left to Burn

Photo: Munachi Osegbu for New York Magazine

I thought I could change The Bachelor franchise from within. Until I realized I was their token. Read the story

Get Out

2. The Nightmare Share

Photo: Gillian Laub

She posted an ad for a roommate. What’s the worst that could happen? Read the story


1. The Lab-Leak Hypothesis

Illustration: Illustration by Robert Beatty for New York Magazine

For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if …? Read the story

New York’s 20 Most-Read Stories in 2021