The paper magazine’s co-founder Kim Hastreiter was one of the many sworn New Yorkers who were disoriented at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown – suddenly in a socially distant bubble in a place where socialization had been a “constant” in daily life was. She found that isolation was too cumbersome to double up on the creative tasks that she once enjoyed.
But instead of facing defeat, Hastreiter, who had sold her stake in Paper more than three years ago and is no longer associated with the publication, decided to channel these emotions into a joint project. On January 31st she published “The New Now”, which she describes as a “public art project” and “historical document of our time” in newspaper form.
The free broadsheet, whose cover proudly states that it is “free of advertising and” free of the internet, “will be distributed in New York City facilities including The Odeon, Cafe Altro Paradiso, Dover Street Market, Screaming Mimi’s and Dashwood Books among others.
Its spreads are reminiscent of evenings outside the apartment, especially of casual water points that pulled a revolving door made of zeitgeist makers and creative minds. While these personalities no longer stew together in person, The New Now shows that they can congregate on the printed page.
While this comradeship is currently reserved for their side, Hastreiter sees it as a reminder of what will eventually be reborn in the flesh. “I did this so that people wouldn’t feel so alone and cut off from everyone and everything,” she said.
“The New Now is a simple black and white newsprint broadsheet designed to convey inspiration, ideas, views, coping mechanisms, and inventive workarounds for some of my favorite creative New Yorkers during this strange interstitial period. The New Now is not a real business or commercial product.… I hope it can also serve as a public service to lighten the mood and bring inspiration to the air of our city, as well as serve as a historical document of this overwhelming, still indefinite time, which we all experience, ”wrote Hastreiter in the letter from her editor.
The selection of stories in New Now is reminiscent of the randomness of faulty conversations. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy writes on fishing, his newfound COVID-19 hobby; Hastreiter occupies John Waters with the state of pressure and Michael Stipe with the concept of time; The designer and sculptor Ted Muehling writes about his increased appreciation for nature. Former editor-in-chief of French Vogue, Joan Juliet Buck, publishes an entry from her COVID diary. Designer Aurora James and model Bethann Hardison talk about generational mindsets and what it’s like to be black women today.
In addition to illustrations by Ruben Toledo and Alba Clemente, there are numerous soup recipes by chefs such as Ingnacio Mattos, Daniela Soto Innes and Laila Gohar. Hastreiter said it was important for The New Now to be a multi-generational project and therefore its contributors range from 5 to 87 years.
None of their work can be read online – a condition Hastreiter has promised every contributor who, like many others, spends a disproportionate amount of time with their digital devices. She printed a first run of 6,000 copies and says The New Now will be a four-part series in an “ideal” world. While this initial project is focused on New York, Hastreiter aims to expand its scope, with future footprints focusing on the United States, then the world and the galaxy. She is currently working on a video component with Dover Street Market in time for the New York Art Book Fair, which is slated for a virtual format later this month.
But why would a former magazine editor who’s currently working on half a dozen books pseudo re-enter the media ring with a no-revenue concept? “I’m old enough that I see young people who haven’t lived even though the 80s are writing about it, and they don’t really understand it,” said Hastreiter.
“I believe in giving testimony and documenting what happened. I see stories changing all the time, and I think it’s important that this era, whatever it’s called, be documented. It’s not like 9-11, AIDS or anything that I went through because those were events, but it’s so abstract and has so many layers and goes on. It is history that we experience and that should testify to it. “