By Albert Samaha
By Amanda Dingyuan
By Anna Merlan
By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
By Tessa Stuart
By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
It's the extended busman's holiday of two pro writers, Jason Fry and Greg Prince. They'd been "talking idly" about doing something together when Fry was assigned to write about blogs for The Wall Street Journal in 2005. "But I'd never actually done it," Fry recalls. "I was a bit too young to be a columnist who habitually doesn't know what he's talking about, so I decided to actually write a blog for a little while."
Fry and Prince loved the Mets, so there was the hook. "Being a Mets fan means expressing yourself constantly," says Prince, "and we've found an ideal venue for it."
They've been at it for five "nonprofit years," though Fry says they've recently decided "to accept advertising that isn't for off-shore gambling." Doing the blog, day after day, doesn't gain them the access regular sportswriters get—"It won't get you a quote from Jerry Manuel or David Wright," says Prince, though he did get to interview sportscaster Gary Cohen for his book version of Faith and Fear in Flushing. "We still rely on those who cover the team for that stuff—but we don't rely on them for a whole lot else. After a particularly compelling game, I'm going to want to read what my partner writes and what a whole bunch of our counterparts are going to write. The newspaper guys don't take precedence anymore—at least, not in my eyes."
"I know it sounds corny," says Fry, "but when I go to Citi Field now in my Faith and Fear shirt, I often run into friends I made through the blog, or people who see the shirt and ask, 'Faith and Fear in Flushing?' I wouldn't mind a little money on top of that—or even a lot of money—but it's a pretty excellent reward in its own right." —edroso
Let us consider the cityscape of prominent "underground culture" sites that surround Animal New York, and, in this context, we suppose "underground culture" (Animal's words) means locally based bloggers and photo uploaders whose Internet personas suggest they intimately understand the difference between throw-ups (the graffiti kind) and throwing up (the puke kind) and could cop drugs at a text's notice (weed doesn't count). There's Vice, but in reach, that's like comparing Duane Reade to King's Pharmacy. There's the Street Boners and TV Carnage, but that's basically self-proclaimed "asshole" Gavin McInnes personified: crass, acerbic, not for the weak at heart or stomach. To single out a third, there's aNYthing's GLOB, but that reads like a bad inside joke among dudes who've had too many skateboard injuries, addictions, and piss hard-ons at the Mars Bar.
That's why we're telling you about Animal New York, a professional weekday enterprise that's international in scope, New York in tone, but something even your little brother could appreciate. Animal is run by Bucky Turco, someone the Voice recently named "Best Downtown-Minded Internet Savant"—he was the first person to interview Hipster Grifter tattootard Kari Ferrell. But Turco's also the guy who recently co-produced the first Manhattan show of fiercely anonymous sticker slapper/spraycan wielder B.N.E. this past December. And in an era in which every assclown on the block has a street-art photo blog, Animal sets itself apart by not only capitalizing on Turco's access, but also providing context—like clarifying that Mr. Brainwash, an opportunist Andy Warhol cribber who recently designed an album cover for Madonna, is "universally despised." In any given week, Animal's four-person cast of characters will describe Jersey Shore Guidette Snooki as a Mrs. Potato Head who "makes my penis recoil in horror," post Facebook photos of Republican Senator/pimp daddy Scott Brown posed creepily with his bikini-clad daughters, and excavate spoilers to a Sundance documentary from anonymous art-juggernaut Banksy. Animal's also really good at engaging with its audience, say, here, like this: "Here's a word of advice for all of you whore-mongers out there . . ." —DODERO
Being mostly about film and TV, The House Next Door isn't, at first glance, an obvious New York blog. But "there is something of a New York centrality to the House," says blog runner Keith Uhlich, and he and founder Matt Zoller Seitz live in Brooklyn. Also, it makes sense that one of the pre-eminent culture blogs emanates from the cultural capital of America. If there's a meaningful movie event in the city, like an early Carl Dreyer retrospective at BAM, they're on it.
Aesthetically speaking, they get around. The several contributors at The House, as they call it, put keen critical focus on art both high and low; they discourse elegantly on Rohmer and Ophüls, and also The Dark Knight and Looney Tunes (" 'I Love to Singa' is about stalwart determination, not to mention the simultaneous insanity and importance of artistic pursuit").
They also seek outside perspectives; The House employs a large staff, including a Turkish correspondent, Ali Arikan, and this summer, took a dispatch from the deadCENTER Film Festival in Oklahoma City. "I always have, and always will, continue to pursue writers and subjects and readers from other areas of the world," says Uhlich.