After seven years in business, the Grand Street News is calling it quits. The Lower East Side monthly magazine, distributed to 12,000 Lower East Side apartments, has already published its last issue. The Grand Street News was run by husband and wife team Yori Yanover and Nancy Kramer.
They were in the “hyperlocal” game long before anyone had heard of the now fashionable phrase. As relative newbies in independent community news, we have a huge amount of respect for what Yori and Nancy accomplished, and for their love of the Lower East Side. Grand Street won’t be the same without them.
Here’s what Yori told us earlier today:
The Grand Street News came to life in January, 2004, when the Lower East Side was in the midst of an economic boom. Our marketing strategy took advantage of the need of vendors and service providers to reach newcomers as well as the more established population, and the appetite of our readers for local public affairs and the arts.
A hyper-local publication, we offered our readers a printed depiction of things they could sometimes see from their own living room windows, and there was magic in that. We thought we would be among the last remaining print publications, because the value we offered our clients was tangible: You give us your message, we put it in the mailboxes of your very customers. In a sense, while advertisers in most publications attempt to hit 3 to 10 percent of their target audience, we could offer the full 100 percent to local vendors.
Over the years we learned to identify which products would do well with us and which would not, and we actually discouraged potential clients from using our services if we didn’t think they could get a return on their investment. It’s what you do when you live on the same block as your client. Our editorial policy was similar. We often emailed a fact check copy of our stories to interviewees, giving them an option to alter their recorded statements in light of how they appeared next to competing statements. Again, it’s what you do when you live on the same block as the subject of your story. It’s also a more decent approach to journalism.
We started to feel the decline of the LES economy about two years ago, and we saw many of our clients closing down or curtailing their operations. We tried to be creative and inventive, and although we stayed in the black, we could project the continued drop in our income. Around November of last year we decided to put our apartment up for sale and move to Israel, which, God willing, will happen in late fall.
The Lower East Side has been our home for 36 years and we are convinced it is the finest neighborhood in New York and, obviously, in America. Israel is, come to think of it, the only logical move for someone who has embraced the values, the colors, the fragrances and the intensity of the Lower East Side. We’re planning to rent an apartment with an extra bedroom, so that all our visiting friends can have a place to crash in the land of milk and honey.
What a ride this has been.