cover image New York Stories: Landmark Writing from Four Decades of New York Magazine

New York Stories: Landmark Writing from Four Decades of New York Magazine

. Random House Trade, $17 (569pp) ISBN 978-0-8129-7992-3

In a delightful foreword, Tom Wolfe hits the ground running with a chronicle of New York Magazine's humble beginnings, as a supplement to The New York Herald Tribune, and its growth, at the hands of fearless editor Clay Felker, to rival the untouchable New Yorker. For the mag's 40th anniversary, the editors have collected some of its most memorable essays, including Mark Jacobsen's 1975 ""Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet"" (which loosely inspired the television show Taxi, Nik Cohn's Tribal Rights of the New Saturday Night and, in turn, the film Saturday Night Fever), two Gloria Steinem essays (including her brilliant 1969 manifesto, ""After Black Power, Women's Lib""), and other articles from the likes of Jay McInerney, George Plimpton, Nora Ephron, Joe Klein, and current New York regulars Kurt Anderson and Emily Nussbaum. More recent favorites include Steve Fishman's ""The Dead Wives Club, or Char in Love,"" about a group profile of Staten Island firemen's wives widowed on 9/11, and Mark Jacobson's ""The $2,000-an-Hour Woman,"" a 2005 piece on ""America's No. 1 escort"" (whose colleague would later bring down Gov. Eliot Spitzer). Highlights abound, including Wolfe's classic 1976 ""The 'Me' Decade,"" which details the yuppy phenomenon's ""great religious wave"" of narcissistic self-discovery for ""dreary little bastards"" with money. A pleasure to read, this book will satisfy anyone wishing to reminisce about New York City and the birth of New Journalism.