TOASTING MAGAZINES: Magazine editors and other media types ventured past a thicket of tourists in congested Times Square, and through the labyrinthlike entry of the Marriott Marquis to attend The National Magazine Awards Thursday night.
Although the night had few surprises — The New Yorker editor David Remnick seemed to grace the stage every 20 minutes to accept an award, alternating with another big winner, New York editor Adam Moss — its high point came when Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter gave a heartfelt speech as he was inducted into The American Society of Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame.
Jim Kelly, former Time editor, choked back his emotions as he recounted meeting a young, excitable and charming Carter over lunch when they were both apprentice writers at the newsweekly. Carter already had designs on starting Spy, a magazine he founded with Kurt Andersen in 1986.
“A nice spring day isn’t just a nice spring day, it’s the best spring day ever,” Kelly said of Carter’s “ability to romanticize anything,” a trait that has made him successful.
“Graydon has bought several used cars in his life, and every new used car is the best used car,” he noted, explaining that Carter has collected other items, such as walking sticks, fishing rods, toy trains, picnic baskets, bottles and Star Wars figurines.
Yes, apparently, Carter is a hoarder.
But those remarks weren’t lost on Carter, who corrected his friend, upon taking the stage: “First of all for anyone who collects, they are called vintage cars, not used cars.”
Carter, whose current contract with Vanity Fair-parent company Condé Nast is rumored to end in 2016, thanked his staff, past and present publishers, as well as journalists who have impacted his career. He also thanked Condé Nast bigwigs, including S.I. Newhouse Jr. — who was in attendance — Jill Bright, John Bellando, Bob Sauerberg, Tom Wallace, Charles Townsend and Anna Wintour for “maintaining the tradition of excellence and freedom established by the Newhouse family.”
Carter left, adding that “many days, I would have done my job for nothing.”
Lighter moments during the awards included Joanna Coles’ acceptance speech in winning a personal service award for Cosmopolitan’s sex-centric column, “Your Cosmo Guide to Contraception.” The editor in chief told the crowd: “We actually have a sex position called the ASME. It involves bending over, holding your ankles, and enjoying some good digital input.”
That joke aside, ASME workers running the show were antsy for the three-hour event to wrap, as they even played music during Field & Stream editor Anthony Licata’s long-winded acceptance speech for general excellence in the active interest category.
“Somebody get a hook,” an audience member said.
As the last award was doled out — magazine of the year, to Fast Company — some high-profile editors made a bee-line for the doors, while others soaked in the moment.
“This is a surprise, man,” said Fast Company editor in chief Robert Safian, accepting the coveted prize. “This is a hoot!”