34th Street Magazine is 50 years old this week. We started in 1968 squarely in the shadow of the DP, poaching their writers and struggling to stay afloat. In the subsequent 50 years, Street has zig–zagged across the zeitgeist (or what passed for it). There's been blood, sweat, tears, X–Acto knives, lawsuits, angry emails, and lots and lots of pizza.
Let's be real. Street has had its share of instability. Over the years, there have been apparent tonal shifts, changes in coverage, wavering editorial priorities, and the like. But that's what gives Street its color. It's a living, breathing organism, which we've made sure to punt into a digital–first 21st century. And it must be working, because social Darwinism hasn't killed us off yet.
Even as much has changed with the magazine, much has remained the same. Street has through and through been committed to giving voice to the wacky, weird, underexposed, and underrepresented. For more, read our feature story on the history of Street. It's been a wild ride.
To complement this historical background, Street sourced personal narratives from 13 former top–ranking editors between 1968 to 2012. From photoshoots with live pigs to (now–resolved) lawsuits, here's what they remember most.
Street in the Late 1960s: The Tumultuous Times That Gave Birth to Street
Pulitzer Prize–nominated–columnist Bill Mandel reflects on his tenure as Street’s founding Editor–in–Chief in 1968 and 1969.
Street in the Early 1970s: Getting off the Ground
Arnie Holland, the president of Lightyear Entertainment, talks about what 34th Street means to him 50 years later, and how he helped get the publication into rackboxes all around Philly.
Street in the mid–1970s: ‘What’s in a Name?’
Lee Levine, now senior counsel at Ballard Spahr LLP, talks through his co–editor tenure in 1975 and Street’s move to a new office.
Street in the mid–1970s: Colorful Memories of a Black–and–White World
Lu Anne Stewart, a writer, and Charlie Service, a former Managing Director of UBS Asset Management, reminisce on a 1976 co–editorship marked by hand–cut columns and X–Acto knives.
Street in the Late 1970s: ‘Stayin’ Alive’
Eliot Kaplan, now retired from a long career in the magazine industry, recounts his experience as Street Editor–in–Chief in 1978 and how routine brought him sanity.
Street in the mid–1980s: ‘Under Pressure’
Sabrina Eaton, now the Washington correspondent for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, remembers a stressful time as Street Editor–in–Chief in 1984.
Street in the 1980s: Delving into Philadelphia
1986 Features Editor Ellen Flax, now an ordained rabbi and the director of The Hadassah Foundation, considers her ‘second chance’ on Street.
Street in the Early 1990s: THINGS I LEARNED THAT HAVE HELPED ME PRODUCE THE SIMPSONS
Matt Selman, an executive producer for The Simpsons, talks about how he became Editor–in–Chief of 34th Street, did an okay job, and bailed on journalism, but learned some things that really came in handy later.
Street in the 1990s: It Was Fun to Be the Underdogs
1997 Editor–in–Chief and now podcaster and writer Doree Shafrir still wants to know: ‘Did you write for Street?’
Street in the 2000s: How Did We Get Here?
2003 Editor–in–Chief Ross Clark, who currently works in media in New York, muses about his tenure at the start of the new millennium.
Street in the Late 2000s: Gossip and the Great Recession
Julia Rubin, editor of The Goods by Vox, reflects on her time as Editor–in–Chief in 2009 and the bevy of angry voicemails that came with it.
Street in the Early 2010s: ‘Not Terribly Dramatic,’ but ‘Contagiously Fun’
2012 Managing Editor Joe Pinsker, a staff writer at The Atlantic, recalls Street’s not–so–distant past.
Here's to 50 more—and no mid–life crises. Thank you for reading Street.