Gothamist, 2002 – 2017

This is the latest in the continuing series of me saying goodbye to things I love.

Gothamist has been shut down. (DNAInfo, too.) You can read the statement or the NYT coverage. I’ve had a day to digest and I am still having trouble identifying a singular emotion. So instead, some free-form reflection:

There was no website more crucial to assimilating as a newcomer into NYC than Gothamist. It helped me feel like I understood the city in a way other news rarely did. (I actually tried reading the Times on the subway some mornings right after I moved here. The paper version. That didn’t help.)

Gothamist had a soul, an energy, and its own real voice. That was the amalgamation of a lot of really talented, really funny writers who connected in a shared love (and sometimes hate) of NYC. I was lucky to read their work, and luckier still to get to work with some of them.

Gothamist was a success story of “the blogging era”: a site that gradually grew from hobby to blog to major thing to outlet to longform news site. It lasted fifteen years, an eternity in Internet time.

Gothamist was how, either directly or indirectly, I made my longest lasting friends in NYC. Countless people I identify as friends have a traceable lineage through Gothamist. Many I met at social functions the site held. Two of my closest friendships are directly through my work with the site.

Gothamist was how I became a soccer journalist and why so many people care what I have to say about the sport, even two years after giving up. Without that platform, without that freedom, you wouldn’t have heard my voice. But the loss of the outlet that I wrote for feels less significant than the loss of the thing I relied on to navigate this crazy city.

Gothamist changed my life, was a part of my identity, and I ache now that it’s gone.

Every meeting between friends must end with a parting, and so, my friends, today we take our leave. This is life. None of us profits from ignoring or hiding from the facts, so why should we bother? Life is what it is, a gift that is given to us for a time – like a library book – that must eventually be returned. How should we treat this book? If we are able to remember that it is not ours to begin with – one that we’re entrusted with, to care for, to study and learn from – perhaps it would change the way we treat it while it’s in our possession. How do you treat a precious gift from a dear friend? This is a good question to ask, and today is a good time to ask it.

– Margaret Lanternman


So, About That “Mugshot”…

No, I Didn't Go To Jail

In mid-February, I changed my profile picture on most social networks to the above photo and casually mentioned there was a story that I might be able to tell in the future. Given that my glasses were off, I was in front of a white wall, and was trying to neither smile nor frown, the response was somewhat predictable: “Did you get arrested?”

No, I did not get arrested. But today’s the day I can tell the story.

Across 2011, I chipped in articles to Gothamist about the New York Red Bulls. I made a trip out to Harrison to cover Media Day before the home opener. I helped write some blurbs for “Last Night’s Action”, the daily sports round-up, in a pinch. Around September I started writing full match reports, starting with the Rafa Marquez drama and ending with getting knocked out of the playoffs.

Writing these was a fantastic mental outlet. It’s no surprise that I love to write and tell stories – I’ve been doing it here since 2000. My love of soccer and my interest in the team turned into a very natural topic to want to write about, and I even got a few pieces of fan mail thanking me for the coverage.

During the off-season, I came to the conclusion that it might be worth stepping up this engagement slightly, and after some discussion with my editor, got the go-ahead to apply for formal press credentials for the 2012 season. The oddly taken picture that had people believing I spent a night in the slammer? Actually just part of my application process for the credentials.

I was notified yesterday that my application was accepted. So my insufferable chatter about soccer will likely only get worse, as I will officially be covering the Red Bulls (and other soccer matters) for Gothamist this season. As my first formal press gig since 2001, I am eagerly looking forward to waving a microphone in the faces of a bunch of players I’ve been following closely for much of the last two years.

This does mean I’m going to be leaving The Viper’s Nest (where I occasionally penned a piece or two) on a free transfer. Heartfelt thanks to Matt, Miguel, Tim, Brian, and the rest of the crew, who not only provide a constant stream of great discussion and passion for the team, but acted as fantastic guides to the long (and rather perplexing) history of this club. I was “chuffed” and “over the moon” to get to join them, and the RBNY world is better with them in it.

So with that story out of the way – keep watching for my coverage over the course of the season. If there’s one thing I’ve learned watching this team, it’s that win or lose, there’s always an interesting story to be told.


Things I Learned While Eating Poutine With Pat Kiernan

Poutine with Pat Kiernan at Pomme Frites

Friday evening , I got to meet NYC’s favorite morning news anchor, Pat Kiernan, over poutine. If you’re looking for some sort of a reason why, follow these links in order. Longtime readers may remember my professed love from 2004, which did not go unnoticed. The group of six – three “winners”, two Gothamist staff, and Pat – spent two hours talking about practically everything. A condensed list of things worth mentioning:

* Poutine is a “delicacy” of Eastern Canada; Pat, being from Calgary and Edmonton prior to moving to NYC, has no particular attachment to the dish.
* Pat began working for TimeWarner at Pathfinder, which may have been one of the first major dotcoms to implode in the mid-90s. Pat’s primary project on the site – the Fortune Business Report – was brought to NY1, where it still regularly airs.
* Because Pat’s Papers hadn’t quite launched yet when I posted about it, I appear to have given Pat’s Papers its first inbound link, which caused it to finally appear in Google’s search results.
* The sleep schedule of someone who has to be in to work at 4AM can only be described as a meticulous science.
* I actually like poutine. I always find chili overpowering on fries, but a splash of gravy works pretty well. The cheese curds also give you a little more control over the cheese/potato ratio than standard cheese fries. That said, the bottom of the cup does get kind of congealed.

Possibly the world's first 'poutine toast'.

Gothamist has more.

(Photos in this post mostly taken by Tien Mao.)