Every time I get an issue of New York Magazine lately I ask myself: is Adam Moss turning it into a men’s magazine? A thinking man’s mens magazine, but still. I have worked for the magazine in some capacity since 1994 (when my capacity was: “Hello, Kurt Andersen’s office.”), and they have kindly had me on the masthead ever since (maybe not for long now), but I can’t say I have any access or insight into the inner workings. All I know is that the covers this year have been Obama, Obama, Obama, Michelle Obama, money, money, money, flu (and a new sports blog), sex, music. The women have all been political or naked. Where are the spooked kids of yore, illustrating the problems of the upper 10 percent? Where are the profiles of powerful women, even power couples? Where are the candy-coated trends? When I was 22, these fetishes felt very distant, but now I understand who they were for.
I suppose these standbys of the previous incarnations of New York must not sell anymore, as the magazines largely devoted to such preoccupations — shelter magazines, women’s magazines and mom magazines — fall by the wayside. New York still has plenty of shopping, but in its own section, where they also put kids stuff. Culture, too, is largely compartmentalized (except for music). The gossipy dialogue of stars and shows and openings flourishes online in the Vulture blog, which I love.
Even this year’s gift guide, adorably illustrated on the cover with Wes Anderson’s Fox family, isn’t the feature. Instead we have Taconic dad, Obama siblings, (male) kidney donors. Oh, and Nabokov. These aren’t topics just for men, but they don’t seem strictly unisex. I always liked the idea that the old New York balanced itself for both sides of the (heterosexual) couple. My husband may have used the recipes in Cookie, but he would have been startled if he actually read the articles.
When the “Screens” issue of the New York Times Magazine includes an entire article I understand not one word of, it becomes clear that I (female, 36-45) am no longer the most desired audience. And I never shopped enough when I was. I think I just realized that my first New York home, physically and psychologically, no longer fits (and just at the moment it fully embraces Brooklyn).