Dear friends, 
We are excited to announce the release of our first e-book, Making the City: Selected stories from Capital New York. We chose 16 stories, published during the past three years, that we feel reflect on our mission to investigate, explore, question, and explain the messy city of New York to a knowing community of readers and participants.
»>You can buy it here on Amazon or on iTunes for $4.99.
You do not need a Kindle or tablet to read our e-book. You can read it on your desktop, or send it to your iPhone with the Kindle app.
Let us know what you think!
Also, join us for a release party, Reading the City, on July 2 at 7 p.m. at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, featuring readings of New York stories by Capital co-founder Tom McGeveran and writers Starlee Kine, Azi Paybarah, Sheila O’Malley, Steven Boone, Steve Kornacki, Glynnis MacNicol, and more, hosted by Gillian Reagan. (Stay tuned for more details!) 
Here’s the introduction to the book, written by editors Tom McGeveran and Josh Benson: 

A Palestinian food-cart vendor with a secret recipe and a Chinese family struggling to earn its living with a takeout restaurant in the South Bronx; an ambitious young politician with a knack for working the press and a police chief who’s better at politics than his boss; a character actor trying to break into opera and a hip-hop group from Philadelphia that has made its way to the top of the late-night television pyramid; a famous woman who would challenge the supremacy of The New York Times and a self-deprecating man who would be its shining knight; the street hustles of the perennially homeless and the street photography of a fashion icon.
These are some of the characters we’ve covered at Capital New York over the last three years, since we began publishing from a cluster of white melamine Ikea desks in a windowless room in Soho in June 2010. The story subjects are a diverse group, but they have in common a desire to fix their fates against the roiling reality of life here. They’re famous, infamous, unknown, or invisible, but they’re all part of the same messy project of New York City.
This place is both hard to describe and endlessly describable. It’s a city of disparate instances, and it’s in the disparities that the engine of the city becomes, barely, visible.
E.B. White, that inescapable and comforting shadow under which anyone who wants to think or write about New York City must work, knew only some of these varieties of the New York experience, in fact. But he in turn knew what he didn’t know, as he wrote in his 1949 book, Here Is New York:
A block or two west of the new City of Man in Turtle Bay there is an old willow tree that presides over an interior garden. It is a battered tree, long suffering and much climbed, held together by strands of wire but beloved of those who know it. In a way it symbolizes the city: life under difficulties, growth against odds, sap-rise in the midst of concrete, and the steady reaching for the sun. Whenever I look at it nowadays, and feel the cold shadow of the planes, I think: “This must be saved, this particular thing, this very tree.” If it were to go, all would go — this city, this mischievous and marvelous monument which not to look upon would be like death.”
It’s a city of stories. Telling them in their specificity, and smashing them all together without an overweening concern for their comfort or compatibility, is the only real way to tell the story of New York. It’s an endless project that’s so rewarding because it’s a project that can never go away. It’s what we’ve tried to do with this website: To tell some of these stories, in their utter specificity, as a way of getting at the big stories that defy the keystroke.
This is a selection of articles we’ve published over the last three years, and not a collection, because with writers like ours, as passionate about their subjects and as determined to get the story right in its utter specificity, there can’t be a final anthology. Which is why we are so thankful for the last three years of Capital, and for the time to come. And which is why we hope, if you find these stories as compelling and immersive as we do, there will be ample occasion for more selections like these ones.

Buy Making the City: Selected stories from Capital New York on Amazon or on iTunes.

Dear friends, 

We are excited to announce the release of our first e-book, Making the City: Selected stories from Capital New York. We chose 16 stories, published during the past three years, that we feel reflect on our mission to investigate, explore, question, and explain the messy city of New York to a knowing community of readers and participants.

»>You can buy it here on Amazon or on iTunes for $4.99.

You do not need a Kindle or tablet to read our e-book. You can read it on your desktop, or send it to your iPhone with the Kindle app.

Let us know what you think!

Also, join us for a release party, Reading the City, on July 2 at 7 p.m. at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, featuring readings of New York stories by Capital co-founder Tom McGeveran and writers Starlee Kine, Azi Paybarah, Sheila O’Malley, Steven Boone, Steve Kornacki, Glynnis MacNicol, and more, hosted by Gillian Reagan. (Stay tuned for more details!) 

Here’s the introduction to the book, written by editors Tom McGeveran and Josh Benson: 

A Palestinian food-cart vendor with a secret recipe and a Chinese family struggling to earn its living with a takeout restaurant in the South Bronx; an ambitious young politician with a knack for working the press and a police chief who’s better at politics than his boss; a character actor trying to break into opera and a hip-hop group from Philadelphia that has made its way to the top of the late-night television pyramid; a famous woman who would challenge the supremacy of The New York Times and a self-deprecating man who would be its shining knight; the street hustles of the perennially homeless and the street photography of a fashion icon.

These are some of the characters we’ve covered at Capital New York over the last three years, since we began publishing from a cluster of white melamine Ikea desks in a windowless room in Soho in June 2010. The story subjects are a diverse group, but they have in common a desire to fix their fates against the roiling reality of life here. They’re famous, infamous, unknown, or invisible, but they’re all part of the same messy project of New York City.

This place is both hard to describe and endlessly describable. It’s a city of disparate instances, and it’s in the disparities that the engine of the city becomes, barely, visible.

E.B. White, that inescapable and comforting shadow under which anyone who wants to think or write about New York City must work, knew only some of these varieties of the New York experience, in fact. But he in turn knew what he didn’t know, as he wrote in his 1949 book, Here Is New York:

A block or two west of the new City of Man in Turtle Bay there is an old willow tree that presides over an interior garden. It is a battered tree, long suffering and much climbed, held together by strands of wire but beloved of those who know it. In a way it symbolizes the city: life under difficulties, growth against odds, sap-rise in the midst of concrete, and the steady reaching for the sun. Whenever I look at it nowadays, and feel the cold shadow of the planes, I think: “This must be saved, this particular thing, this very tree.” If it were to go, all would go — this city, this mischievous and marvelous monument which not to look upon would be like death.”

It’s a city of stories. Telling them in their specificity, and smashing them all together without an overweening concern for their comfort or compatibility, is the only real way to tell the story of New York. It’s an endless project that’s so rewarding because it’s a project that can never go away. It’s what we’ve tried to do with this website: To tell some of these stories, in their utter specificity, as a way of getting at the big stories that defy the keystroke.

This is a selection of articles we’ve published over the last three years, and not a collection, because with writers like ours, as passionate about their subjects and as determined to get the story right in its utter specificity, there can’t be a final anthology. Which is why we are so thankful for the last three years of Capital, and for the time to come. And which is why we hope, if you find these stories as compelling and immersive as we do, there will be ample occasion for more selections like these ones.

Buy Making the City: Selected stories from Capital New York on Amazon or on iTunes.

"I don’t think you’re ever wasting your time when you think you’re wasting your time. In one way I can say I waste a lot of time; it’s part of my occupation; I’m an occupational time waster because so much of what you do doesn’t immediately measure up. There’s a terrible expression: the bottom line. There’s no such thing. First of all you have to have belief that what you’re doing is important. And I thought that when I was a cub reporter. I really thought what I was doing was important. I thought, I am a reporter. And I worked for a very important institution, the New York Times. I’d be interviewing these people and some of them were powerful and famous and rich, and I never felt that what I was doing was inferior to what they were doing – in fact I felt what I was doing was superior because I thought, What I’m doing is trying to get the truth, and I’m talking to a bunch of liars. I mean these people are in professions that tolerate lies much more than journalism does. I’ve said this a dozen times but the pleasure and the honor and respect for the profession of journalism that I always had as a kid and have now even more so is because I was in the only occupation that tried not to lie. If you lie, you get kicked out. And the people who kick you out are your colleagues; it’s not somebody on high. You lie on any newspaper, I don’t care if it’s a great newspaper or a struggling newspaper, you’re probably gonna be thrown out."

Gay Talese quoted in Gay Talese has a Coke*: reflections of a narrative legend, in conversation with Esquire’s Chris Jones | Nieman Storyboard

"I want to get the hell deep inside and tell the truth of their story, all of them, the cops and the robbers, the mothers, the gun slingers, the analysts, the guards, the beat up mob friend, the in charge shot caller, the hapless detective, the cop or prosecutor who works 14 hour days and is nailing this thing and no one really knows (I mean, damn, nobody ever knows about Albania here in the States) — no judgements — just a true story for posterity, history, so it will be documented, real."

— Kevin Heldman, who reported on the New York-Albanian mob for a year at Capital New York and has now received a grant to continue his project. Congrats, Kevin!

"The point is, when journalists are called on to redirect the corporate culture of an organization, sometimes it works in a small way, but usually it doesn’t; and almost never on a vast scale. If management’s idea for a brand overhaul is to import cool, or gravitas, or intelligence, the best-case scenario is almost always that the importees exist successfully but completely separately: valuable parts that don’t add much to the sum. (Part Two is they always leave.)"

Tom McGeveran on Huffington’s cultural revolution at AOL. There are so many quotable passages in this piece that it was hard to pick just one. We recommend you read the whole thing.

To make a long story… long? David Remnick, Ira Glass, ProPublica & friends see a big future in long-form journalism | by Gillian Reagan | Capital New York

New Yorker editor David Remnick: “It’s this kind of willingness to go at it and at it and at it and fill  your bucket with apples in one form or another. It’s not like Barbara  Walters and you get the big get and there’s, you know, a star, Angelina  Jolie. That’s not anything that we’re talking about. It’s missing three  flights and then getting the miner character that you must have, that  nobody in the world cares about, but you. There’s a lot of kind of sheer  labor to it. But without that stuff-gathering, without that harvesting,  without that kind of dumb stubbornness? Do something else.”

Read more at Capital New York ——>

To make a long story… long? David Remnick, Ira Glass, ProPublica & friends see a big future in long-form journalism | by Gillian Reagan | Capital New York

New Yorker editor David Remnick: “It’s this kind of willingness to go at it and at it and at it and fill your bucket with apples in one form or another. It’s not like Barbara Walters and you get the big get and there’s, you know, a star, Angelina Jolie. That’s not anything that we’re talking about. It’s missing three flights and then getting the miner character that you must have, that nobody in the world cares about, but you. There’s a lot of kind of sheer labor to it. But without that stuff-gathering, without that harvesting, without that kind of dumb stubbornness? Do something else.”

Read more at Capital New York ——>

markarms:

More than 1,200 of the best long-form stories on the web! Search by topic! Filter by reading time!

We highly recommend that you add the (new! amazing!) Longreads.com to your tab queues, readers, and blogrolls. We love Longreads!

"My friends keep talking to me about how they want to start a Web site, but they need to get some backing, and I look at them and ask them what they are waiting for. All it takes is some WordPress and a lot of typing. Sure, I went broke trying to start it, it trashed my life and I work all the time, but other than that, it wasn’t that hard to figure out."

Choire Sicha, in a nice profile of The Awl in the Times, makes a point that even big media companies sometimes miss: This is not impossible. Yes, profits can be smaller online, but there are enough cheap tools out there that make professional-quality publishing available to anyone, and, if you’re smart, most of that money can be used to fund actual journalism. (via markcoatney)

Here’s hoping.

(via theamericanprospect)

Capital pal Joe Pompeo put together this great collection of 2010 mag covers: 8 Picks for The Best Magazine Cover of The Past Year
As infrastructure geeks, this one is our favorite.

Capital pal Joe Pompeo put together this great collection of 2010 mag covers: 8 Picks for The Best Magazine Cover of The Past Year

As infrastructure geeks, this one is our favorite.

[via The Paris Review]
How many of you still write or draw an outline (with an actual pen or pencil!) before starting a big project?

[via The Paris Review]

How many of you still write or draw an outline (with an actual pen or pencil!) before starting a big project?

“He kept his perspective so well and does not ever exaggerate what’s taking place, but really let you know why it’s important.”