Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
January 14, 1959, Vol. IV, No. 12
The Village Square
By John Wilcock
Brooklyn Heights, where Villagers go when they get married, has a weekly paper called the Brooklyn Heights Press. For years this publication staggered along printing social notes and other handouts, finally almost collapsing under the weight of community disinterest that had become so widespread that it must have been organized.
A year or two ago Richard Margolis, a young magazine-promotion writer, bought the paper paper, hired a couple of full-time staffers, raised the circulation to about 6000, and has just completed a campaign to sell one thousand $15 shares to people in the neighborhood. Margolis, 29, now finds himself with something like 400 shareholders and is looking, with some apprehension, toward the first shareholders’ meeting next month.
“Of course I’m glad to have them all,” says New York’s youngest publisher. “But I can’t help thinking it’s going to be a lively meeting. If there’s one thing people think they know more about than any other, it’s how to improve the local newspaper.”
At present his shareholders tend to use the office for social purposes. “Who cares about policy? It’s nice to have somewhere to sit and chat on week-ends,” one of them commented when I wandered over there last Saturday.
And, truth to tell, there isn’t much to do in the Heights. A lot of Villagers make an initial safari, fall for the quiet, quaint streets (and low rents), and proceed to move in haste, only to repent at leisure. There are no espresso places, no theatres, only one movie. Some good writers have passed through, though—Ludwig Bemelmans, Norman Rosten, Truman Capote—and the Press charts their activities from time to time. They don’t reciprocate, even when, as with the latter two, they still live there.
“We cover Capote but he doesn’t cover us,” says Margolis—at what happens to be the moment that one of his staff is busy condensing Capote’s thoughts on Brooklyn Heights from a forthcoming issue of Holiday magazine.
The Heights has about 20,000 residents, and they’re split, roughly, into two camps: the young and the old. The young like the paper’s features about artists, musicians, and off-Broadway theatre; the old complain about “all those reviews of dirty plays.”
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]