New York Publishing Adventures: Vogue in Manhattan

American/British Dictionary

Chuffed – There doesn’t seem to be an American equivalent to this. They find it very funny.

Creasing Up – Us Brits know it as laughing really hard, but this gets you bemused looks over here.

Cotton Socks – As in ‘bless your cotton socks.’ Again, no one gets it here.

Monday 7th – Thursday 10th July

After a relaxing weekend, Monday morning heralded the start of class again. We’re now onto the digital and magazine part of the course, with a new host of industry professionals coming to speak to us.

David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief of The New Yorker, gave the keynote speech. He shared a great stat with us, that there have only been five different Editors of The New Yorker despite its long history, meaning that we’ve now met two out of the three living ones (Bob Gottlieb a few weeks ago). It was also a reminder of the power of the Columbia bubble, where we get to listen to, chat to, and email correspond with CEOs and Editors-in-Chief of the world’s biggest and most famous publishing houses and magazines.

Shani Hilton, Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Buzzfeed, gave the digital address. Really interesting to hear her place and define Buzzfeed in the media, as well as getting some top tips about how articles gain traction online.

Some other highlights from the week: Howard Mittman (Publisher, Wired); Doug Stumpf (Vanity Fair); Mike Nizza (Esquire Digital); Adam Rapoport (Editor-in-Chief, Bon Appetit) and Mangesh Hattikudur (Chief Creative Officer, Mental Floss). On Thursday night, I went for drinks with Ken Wright and some of the editors in the Viking Children’s team, who I work with closely from home on several titles. We went to a restaurant off Grove street and made our way through some great rose wine – paid for by the Penguin 😉

Lupita Nyong'o on the cover of the latest issue of Vogue, given to us on Friday

Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of the latest issue of Vogue, given to us on Friday

On Friday, the Beauty Editor of Vogue, Sarah Brown, spoke to us about her experience on the Columbia Publishing Course back when she was a student here, and about her life at Vogue. Lots of eager girls had crowded to the front in their best dresses; I stayed back in my shorts and t-shirt. There was a great moment when she was talking about style, and said ‘What looks good on me won’t look good on you’ and pointed at some girl in the front girl, who probably withered and died on the spot.

The evening went over our assignment ideas with Sara Nelson (Editorial Director, Amazon) and Michael Solomon. We were desperate to leave by the end and get to the bar.

The Heights

The Heights

A big group of us went straight to The Heights, the nearest rooftop bar, where we slowly took over every bit of seating space. There were nachos. There were frozen margaritas. They were needed. I remembered to tip the bar staff this time, so no one spat in my drink or looked at me with murder and disgust in their eyes. It was good.

We stayed there until midnight or so, then a group of us – Alyssa, Zainab, Gaia, Ian, Melissa, Rosemary, Andrew, Leora, Ashley and I –  went downtown to Meatpacking, where the lights were bright and the cobbled streets teeming with nocturnal Manhattanites. We were aiming for Brass Monkey, but the queue line was around the block. We went to Revel instead, where the music was loud and the drinks pricey. G&Ts in hand we claimed a corner table in the ‘garden’ (just more of the bar, where the roof just seemed to be ominously missing) and danced in our seats until 2am.

Undeterred by the queue, we found our way into Brass Monkey, and made it past the three levels of rope barriers until we got to the roof, where we sat until it felt like time to go home – which is usually never, in New York.

Brass Monkey

Brass Monkey


Saturday morning felt like the right time to take on my cronut challenge. My colleagues at home instructed me to have ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’ by getting a cronut and eating it outside the flagship store on 5th. Melissa was my accomplice in this mission, and accompanied me on cronut hunt. The hardest part was resisting the urge to wolf down the cronut before getting to 5th Avenue. We made it though, and here’s the photo evidence. And the cronuts were great!

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Next up, Union Square. We did a spot of shopping, but saved our energy for the serious task of book shopping at The Strand – probably the most famous book store in the city. We spent about two hours in there, and had to restrain ourselves from buying everything. We only left with three books each, which is very commendable I think.

Awesome Murakami cover in The Strand

Awesome Murakami cover in The Strand

Food from Whole Foods, then I went on a quick wander down to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty, before heading back home. I’d forgotten that it was ‘Manhattanhenge’ that day – where the sun lines up perfectly with the city blocks. I raced back down to Columbus Circle to get some photos but didn’t make it in time. Here’s what it looked like though:



140527-coslog-manhattanhenge_ccf9b502a2c1a58c0cb48e87de6532c5   I sat on the wall by Central Park having a sandwich, when a man in a mobile scooter, blaring out drum & bass, came up to me and asked me, quite seriously, if I was a storm-trooper. I said yes which was apparently the right answer – he beamed and drove off.

Later that evening, I headed down to Fat Black Pussycat with Kate, Jess, and Zainab, for our course-mate Katie’s birthday. It’s a bar/club off Washington Square Park, where we’d taken over some plush seats in an eclectic room full of red velvet thrones, gramophones stuck to the ceiling, and a sarcophagus in the back. We stayed for a couple of hours, then branched off from the main group to get pizza before heading home. In the pizza place we saw the police try to remove a sleeping drunk man, who was being protected by an angry transvestite. The pizza was cheap and did the job.

A supermoon had replaced the epic sunset, which went a little something like this:

Supermoon over Manhattan

Supermoon over Manhattan


Sunday was a day of two halves. The first was very lazy (and much-needed). I went to find somewhere to watch the World Cup final with Sam and Nicholas, but everywhere was full. Since when is soccer so popular here? We ended up at Brad’s, the cafe next to the Journalism school, and watched the first half there. We moved into our lecture theatre for the second half, where it was being shown on the massive projector screen! I had Argentina in a sweep-stake with my friends at home, but Germany deserved to win. I think I still get some second place money… Then, at 5:30 pm, the second workshop began. Stay tuned…