on the cover

On the Cover: For New York, the Strange History of Erewhon, the Strategist’s Annual Gift Guide

Photo: Bobby Doherty

New York’s latest issue features a flip cover: Features writer Kerry Howley profiles the strange history and rise of Los Angeles health-food mecca Erewhon, and the Strategist releases its annual holiday gift guide.

“Our team of editors and writers truly delights in the challenge of finding the perfect present for the most difficult-to-please people, so for this year’s gift guide, it was fun to go hyperspecific — finding gifts for your boyfriend’s European mom on a liquid diet, a refuse-to-get-a-hobby husband, and teenagers (according to actual high-schoolers from the Beacon School),” said Maxine Builder, editor of the Strategist. “Amy Sedaris will also serve as our first-ever holiday-gifting columnist, to answer some of our readers’ conundrums. And if you’re still stumped, we’re confident that you’ll find something wonderful in our classic holiday catalogue, with hundreds of carefully curated items at every price point.”

Illustration: Gabriel Alcala

For the cover of New York, Howley explores how in the 1960s, two Japanese macrobiotic enthusiasts started a health-food sect that was beloved by celebrity hippies. Sixty years and a corporate takeover later, it’s the most cult-y grocer in Hollywood.

“There is something strangely compelling about Erewhon that escapes easy articulation, something beyond wealth and celebrity,” said Howley. “I think a lot of people just assumed Erewhon was the cynical work of some guy looking to charge $18 for smoothies. This is L.A., after all; half the stuff you think is authentic turns out to be a historically themed development. But Erewhon’s history is as strange and deep as one can imagine.”

Elsewhere in the issue, Zak Cheney-Rice profiles Cornel West, who has been condemned by Democrats as a narcissistic curmudgeon, dismissed by the academy as an intellectual has-been, and is now mounting a presidential campaign. Also, Andrew Rice profiles billionaire hedge-funder Steve Cohen at a time when his tenure as the Mets owner and casino-bidder is teaching him what money can’t buy.

The History of Erewhon, the Strategist’s Gift Guide