The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

There are countless tales to be told in New York City, and the Village Voice is here to tell them. Each week of the year, the Voice delves deep into the most New York–centric of stories, giving readers in the city (and beyond) a taste of something fresh, irreverent, or monumental affecting New Yorkers. We combed through each of this year's features and collected the ones that you read the most throughout the year. Here they are: the top 10 longform pieces that most resonated with Voice readers in 2015.

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

10. Twenty Ways to Die in New York 
New Yorkers aren’t any more morbid than people in any other city, but perhaps because of this town's sheer population density and history, it’s impossible to avoid stepping on the exact spot where somebody drew his or her last breath. (Maybe somebody even died in your apartment — maybe even in the room where you sleep each night!) Here are twenty situations many New Yorkers encounter regularly, even daily, that could be fatal. Read more about some of the most peculiar ways to die in New York... 

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

9. Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses Remembers a Bittersweet Super Bowl Weekend in NYC
"On my birthday, I thought about my daughters, my wife, and the friends who have walked me through the hard times and been with me during the good times, when we could act like kids and cry for our Seahawks. I thought about Kurt, I thought about the actor in the West Village. I was so sad that they weren't going to know what it felt like to be fifty, to see their team win and their daughters grown, and to become the men that they were capable of becoming. There's nothing elegant about being wasted. There isn't nobility in dying before you get old." Read more from Duff McKagan's memoir...

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

8. With Eat Pray Thug, Heems Moves Past That Funny Rap Group With the 'Dumb' Name
It was in north Brooklyn that Himanshu Suri spent his post-collegiate years — a period that began in 2007 with the Wesleyan grad working on Wall Street and terminated, a half-decade later, with the dissolution of his surprise-hit hip-hop trio, Das Racist. The group had made him an unlikely big shot, but as it went, so too did Suri's closest friendships, his serious girlfriend, and, eventually, his bacchanalian ways. Years later, he booked time at a Mumbai studio operated by Bollywood machers, writing and recording most of Eat Pray Thug in a three-day whirlwind. Whereas in Das Racist the rapper claims he hid behind humor, on the new disc he appears as a man unmasked. He raps and sings of traumas personal (breakups, sobriety), political (drones, cops), and, especially, occupying the areas in between. Read more about Heems's musical transformation...

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

7. New York's Bravest Is Trans FDNY Firefighter Brooke Guinan
Brooke Guinan is New York City's first and only transgender firefighter. The FDNY employs more than 10,400, only 44 of whom are women, and Guinan is the only member who has served the department as both a man and a woman. Since September, when a poster of her wearing a tight T-shirt reading "So Trans So What" went viral as part of an awareness campaign for the LGBTQ-advocacy group V.O.I.C.E. (the Vocal Organization for International Courage and Equality), Guinan has seen her profile rise as a role model for others who battle gender stereotypes in male-dominated professions. Guinan does have something in common with many in the FDNY: The department runs in her family. In fact, she's third-generation. Read more about firefighter Brooke Guinan...

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

6. How a Young Donald Trump Forced His Way From Avenue Z to Manhattan
In 1978, then–Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett requested several thousand pages of records from the State Urban Development Corporation for a story he was chasing about a series of multimillion-dollar real estate transactions. Some of the city’s most prominent power brokers were involved — including former New York mayor Abe Beame — and at the center was a brash young developer named Donald Trump. Nearly forty years on, Trump — the right wing’s preening, bombastic id — is running for president. His campaign, once covered by the media mostly as a joke, is showing no signs of slowing down. Read more about Donald Trump's rise to power... 

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

5. Why French Bulldogs (and Their Owners) Are the Worst: A Rant
Unlike many formerly healthy, intelligent, skillful, and useful breeds turned couch potatoes and beauty queens, French bulldogs never had a practical purpose to lose during years of show-ring mutation and overbreeding to meet the demand for four-legged luxury items. Frenchies, whether purchased from puppy mills or society's so-called "reputable" breeders, have been dysfunctional from the start. "Form and function," that specious defense for keeping ornamental pets, is even less applicable here because Frenchies have been, from Dog Adam in the 1890s, pure form. They can lounge about eating bonbons all day if they want, because, much like court dogs of centuries past, their traditional function, so to speak, is only to advertise the discriminating taste, social standing, and spending power of the company they keep — in other words, to show their owners' own good breeding. Read more about why Frenchies are terrible... 

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

4. 99 Essential Restaurants in Brooklyn 
This is the borough of coal-fired pizza, of red-sauce Italian, of dim sum, of Caribbean, of seafood shacks, of bakeries, of Russian feasts followed by floorshows, of Coney Island, of one of the oldest and most famous steakhouses in the United States. To ignore this would be to miss Brooklyn completely. Brooklyn has always been a new frontier — that was as true for every immigrant community that tried to re-create a bit of its homeland here as it was for restaurateurs fleeing Manhattan for lower rents and fewer rules. Here's a compendium that endeavors to capture the breadth, history, grit, creativity, and diversity of the place. Read more about the 99 essential restaurants in Brooklyn... 

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

3. The Gentrifier’s Guide to Not Being an Asshole
It's one of the realities of modern New York: Wherever you go, there somebody else just was. And with both an influx of young urban transplants and soaring housing costs wherever you look — a real estate report found that rents in parts of Queens are rising even faster than those in Brooklyn — if you moved recently, regardless of your own paycheck and complexion, there's a good chance you replaced someone who was poorer and darker than you. Read more about how not to be a gentrifying asshole... 

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

2. Remember the Warriors: Behind the Chaotic, Drug-Fueled, and Often Terrifying Making of a Cult Classic
In the ensuing three-plus decades following The Warriors' release, New York City, on many levels, has become virtually unrecognizable from the gritty version portrayed (realistically, at the time) in the movie. Perhaps because of this, the film has, over the years, earned the sometimes dubious status of "cult classic." By the time The Warriors was set to hit theaters, in February of 1979, gangland America had become a powder keg ready to explode. But for the first time, a film did not seek to explain away gang violence, nor rationalize its existence through bourgeois social theory. Instead, The Warriors attempted to present the experience of America's downtrodden youth as it was, with no moral judgment. Read more about the making of The Warriors... 

The Top 10 Most-Read Village Voice Longform Stories of 2015

1. Smuggled, Untaxed Cigarettes Are Everywhere in New York City
For cigarette smugglers, the rewards can be huge. With a van and some start-up money, a day trip to Virginia — where cigarettes are taxed 30 cents per pack, compared to $5.85 in New York City — could net a smuggler more than $40,000 in profit when the goods are resold in the city. All for a few relatively low-risk hours along I-95. Read more about New York's cigarette smuggling industry...

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