Phase One

With this issue of New York, we confess to what some of our readers have probably been suspecting over the past six months or so. Yes, we are renovating this magazine—making changes in the way it looks, the way it reads, the way it’s organized, and perhaps, ultimately, the place it occupies in your life (this last bit will take time, so bear with us). To date, the process has moved forward in fits and starts, as we’ve tinkered with various aspects and experimented with different approaches to the writing, photography, and design.

But understanding that you get only so much time for soft openings, we are now ready (well, as ready as we’ll ever be) to remove the scaffolding and declare ourselves officially open for business. We start in this issue with the introduction of a new section called the “Strategist,” a name we retrieved from our archives. Longtime readers might remember the old “Urban Strategist,” a column that offered advice on how to get hot Broadway tickets or pick the optimal summer camp. We have taken the original concept and run with it, conceiving a section that mixes utility and fantasy, dizzyingly high prices and dirt-cheap bargains, hard information and guilty pleasures. Every New Yorker should be able to find something in it they can use and afford, even if we reserve the right to veer off occasionally into sybaritic extremes. Acquisition is a kind of sport in New York, both to watch and to play. This section will cover all manner of distinctly New York pursuits, including the search for the right toro or townhouse or soap dish or spouse.

So in the 22 pages of the first “Strategist,” you’ll discover the best way to unload that spare Monet of yours, as well as those old Tretorns eating up precious closet space (this being New York, somebody out there has been looking for just that vintage). In “Market Research,” we cover the parka landscape, starting with one that goes for close to $5,000 (silk taffeta, naturally), and winding our way down to the $68 model. On our revamped “Best Bets” page, we have the latest, greatest, breathtakingly sumptuous stiletto from Manolo Blahnik, if you like that sort of thing, as well as a laser tool from Black & Decker that’ll ensure you never hang another crooked picture. We’ve expanded our restaurant coverage, and put it all in one place—Adam Platt’s review appears alongside the distinguished food reporting of Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld and the insights of the legendary Gael Greene. We’ve invented recurring features such as the somewhat obsessive neighborhood map that’ll give you the wisdom of a local (this week, the new Barneys-enhanced Upper West Side). And “The Look Book,” our new centerfold (of a sort), will showcase an eclectic range of fabulously stylish New Yorkers every week, plucked from the sidewalk.

In the coming weeks, two other new sections will be introduced or modified, to round out our fall changes. In the issue dated November 1, expect to see an equally fanatical treatment of arts and entertainment in New York, called “The Culture Pages”; three weeks after that, the “Intelligencer” section will be spruced up and new columns introduced. That week, the magazine’s overall design will catch up to the chaos wreaked by these sectional introductions, and our new look will be complete, at least for the time being.

As we do all this, we intend to preserve the essential values the magazine was founded on, its commitment to explaining the restless, ever-changing city in ways that are fresh and opinionated and entertaining and erudite. And like most New Yorkers, we’ll never quite be satisfied with what we’ve done. To produce a magazine as dynamic as the city it covers, we have no choice but to keep tinkering, as we discover what connects with readers and what doesn’t. All we have here is a framework for a weekly retelling of New York. The “Strategist” is the start of a new architecture for the magazine, but we plan on constantly repainting the rooms and moving around the furniture. We’re relying on you to let us know what you like and don’t, and to help us figure out what goes where.

Phase One