OF MANHATTAN 2003
The big payback.
standing in front of me at the coffee shop. I fess to being agitated, anxious
to get to where I needed to go. There she was, smiling and serene, breathing
deep from the tins of herbal tea leaves. She was mocking me with her tranquility
and flowing orange-and-red robe and shaved head.
there to be happy about? Had she tried finding a job lately? The country is
still at war and will remain at war for a long time to come. More and more nations
are banging down the door of the once-exclusive nuclear club, threatening to
render my childhood fears of atomic warfare quaint in their two-tribes-go-to-war
simplicity. And if you believe the scientists, we’ll be converting fetal
matter into foodstuff by 2012.
not a doomsayer. Recreational cynic perhaps, pessimist no. I accept this world
the way it is. As a high-alert stimulation junkie, I even love most of New York
City in 2003. Between the terror warnings, pre-neo-Tokyo branding of all available
public space, automatic rifles on subway platforms and Dark City geographic
re-imaginings—I’ve got more passing through my brain in one hour than
your average Buddhist gets in a year. It’s the life I’ve chosen, and
I’m proud to slog through with what amounts to a smile.
Gibson speculated that the streets of Chiba City, Japan, would resemble a research
experiment forever on fast-forward. The survivors are those who adapt rapidly
and exploit their surroundings efficiently. Like the joke about two hikers who
stumble upon a bear in the woods. Before turning tail, one stops to put on running
shoes. The other notes that even with sneakers, he still can’t outrun a
bear. “I don’t need to outrun the bear,” the companion replies, “I just
need to outrun you.”
In New York
City, where per-diem density of life is higher than anywhere else I’ve
lived, careers and fads and relationships and fashions and heroes and goats
are born, nurtured, exploited and euthanized on a quarterly basis. Blink, as
they say, you’ll miss something.
me to Best of Manhattan 2003, our catalog of the present and immediate past.
Here you’ll find the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the deserving
and undeserving alternately celebrated and skewered. We don’t claim comprehensiveness,
is akin to shoveling coal in the bowels of a mighty warship. It’s noble
and impermanent, destined to end up scattered above the decks and in the ship’s
immediate wake. By offering this volume, we remark upon a certain period, more
snapshot than time capsule. Would that we also become a small part of this period,
that we both observe and contribute, we’ll consider our shoveling done.
At least for this week.
writers and artists contributed to this year’s Best of Manhattan: Adrienne
Ammerman, Fred Askew, Andrew Baker, Nick Bilton, Jennifer Blowdryer, CXB, Adam
Bulger, Matt Callan, Max Capshaw, Chicklet, Tim Coleman, Katharine Crane, John
Engstrom, Celia Farber, Dan Forbes, Tanja Geis, Gabriella Gershenson, Ron Grunberg,
Adam Heimlich, Philip Henken, Laura Hibit, David Hirschman, Morgan Intrieri,
Nina Ippolito, Andrei Kallaur and The 62, Mary Karam, Lisa Kearns, Jim Knipfel,
Peter Kohman, Pasquale Leonardo, Lane Lipton, Scott Lizama, Don MacLeod, Mike
Manville, Danielle Marin, Dan Martino, Greg Maxwell, Hubert McCabe, Bob McCollough,
Judy McGuire, Jennifer Merin, Daniel Migdal, Kristopher Murry, Jennifer Needleman,
Miriam Parker, Robert Pauliny, Kristina Ramos, William Repsher, Tanya Richardson,
Bob Riedel, Jill Ruchala, Deborah Schneiderman, Allyson Schrager, Alex Schweitzer,
Sarah Shanok, Spencer Sharp, Stephen Silver, Russ Smith, C.J. Sullivan, George
Tabb, J.R. Taylor, Jay Thornton, Meeghan Truelove, Lucia Udvardyova, Spike Vrusho,
Kate Walter, Andy Wang, Steve Weinstein, Jessica Willis, Ken Wohlrob, Alexander
thanks to the research crew: Sophia Chang, Josephine Lee, Sara Lenore, Eileen
Mignoni, Tanya Richardson, Tovah Shanok.