By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
By Tessa Stuart
By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
By Carolyn Hughes
By Chuck Strouse
By Albert Samaha
Why not run for office? "Because attending meetings all day is boring, and this is so much more enjoyable." —edroso
First things first: The notoriously anonymous blogger—well, mostly anonymous; he signs his e-mails "Dave"—who runs Brooklyn Vegan is not secretly a viral-marketing stooge or a Viacom employee or Lloyd Blankfein. He's just a little retiring. "I started blogging from a day job," Dave says about his long-standing refusal to disclose much about his real-life identity. "It is/was a mix of not wanting them to know, and because I'm shy."
That day job is a thing of the past, now. The stridently indie, maniacally updated local music website, founded around the 2004 peak of New York's outer-borough rock revival, went full-time two years ago. "It was too much work to do at another job, and the ad money, though modest, was enough to justify it," he explains. "I still haven't figured out how to take a vacation." Sleeping seems like an issue, too—Brooklyn Vegan updates upward of 20 times a day, and its posts routinely bear 3:04 a.m.–type timestamps.
Veteran readers come for the circus as much as they do for the endless show photos and tour dates that are the site's daily bread; though BV is an invaluable information source about music in the city, it's also where people tend to come together online in the comments section and speak, uh, candidly, about bands both local and national. Which is to say, woe to those setting foot for the first time on a site that's often held up as a symbol of the supposed intolerance and casual misogyny of indie-rock fans.
"It's a tough subject that I haven't fully figured out," Dave says. "Racism and personal attacks aren't welcome, and I've had to monitor comments in certain posts to try to get rid of people whose only point seemed to be to insult someone's looks or reputation based on potentially false accusations." For example: "I'd hit it," the standard commenter greeting for the various femme darlings of the indie scene. "A lot of comments are meant sarcastically, and memes get created that some people might find offensive," Dave explains. "Most people take it with a grain of salt."
Or even enjoy it. At this point, baptism by Brooklyn Vegan is practically a local music ritual. Says Dave, about one particularly beloved Brooklyn-based music duo: "Matt & Kim once said something about getting disappointed if they don't get a lot of negative comments in a BV post." —ZACH BARON
While Jeremiah's Vanishing New York focuses on things that are fading away, Forgotten New York focuses on things that are still here, but overlooked—either vestiges of what's (usually long) gone, or places in what are known as the "outer boroughs" to which media pay little attention because not much happens there: Bronxwood Park, an abandoned diner in Ozone Park, the Staten Island Railway.
If Jeremiah is nostalgic, copywriter Kevin Walsh, who runs Forgotten New York from his home in Little Neck, is forensic: When he tackles an address or district, he'll learn and tell you all he can find about it—which is considerable. (He can't always be definitive, though; as to where Houston Street got its name, for example, he can give you only the best theories.)
"[Lamppost documentarian] Bob Mulero remarked that he and I are probably the only people who have cared enough to collect such comprehensive info, outside the records of the Department of Transportation," says Walsh. "When we go, it all goes, unless we find a way to perpetuate it."
Walsh had been compiling photos, books, and "manila envelopes full of newspaper clippings" of this kind for years when the Internet showed up, and "it was as if my chance had finally come." He did some small sites to start, then in 1998, he used Adobe Page Mill—"state-of-the-art" at the time, he recalls—to make Forgotten New York. Over the years, he has acquired fans, publication in print (including the book Forgotten New York: Views of a Lost Metropolis), correspondents of a similarly historical bent who help with the site, and many, many, many more pictures and nuggets of New York life.
The site is huge, exhaustive, and, you'd think, exhausting. Does he ever regret the time he's spent on it? "Not for a second," he says. In fact, he plans a revamp this year to add comments and daily postings.
Forgotten New York has a feature unusual in the normally reclusive blog world: guided tours. Jeremiah regularly takes groups of his followers out to some choice spots. "It gets me out of the house," he says, adding, "I get $5 a head, and I get to meet the fans, which is always fun." —EDROSO
There are tons of Mets blogs. Faith and Fear in Flushing is one of the more effusive, not to say literary, of the bunch. They watch the games and the trades, but are also given to exegeses on the Mets mythos and ethos, with essays on the deeper meaning of Tug McGraw ("We can do it, said Tug—I'll pitch, you persevere and together we'll figure this thing out"), the Mets' lack of no-hitters, and the upside of Jeff Francoeur's hitting into an unassisted triple play.