Wednesday, April 22, 2009

End of an Era

Peter Kaplan, the longtime editor of The New York Observer, is one of great heroes of New York journalism. He resigned from the paper today, after 15 years, marking the passing of an era in this city and this profession. As a mentor to me and a whole generation of young writers and reporters, Peter has been a vital flame-keeper of New York's history, romance and ambition. No one in his orbit has ever felt like this town is anything less than the grandest place on earth to be living, the present its most delicious chapter yet. He pushed aspiring nobodies like myself into the white-hot glare of the news like we belonged there and simply demanded we come back with the story. It was no small act: the outcome was frequently miraculous, not least to the aspiring nobodies. Whatever happens to the Observer, a paper with a fine and proudly pugnacious legacy, it will never quite be the same without his generous spirit. That said, Peter himself still has another act, which will no doubt surprise and delight. And meanwhile his inky offspring are all over town thinking pretty much the same thing: the greatest story of all time is happening right under our noses, just waiting to be written by anybody willing to grab it.