In a move fittingly symbolic for a paper whose corporate overlords flew in to lay off some of its most venerated, tenured writers, the Village Voice is moving out of the Village — where it’s been, of course, since 1955 — to an office tower in the Financial District. The move is scheduled for sometime in August.
The new offices are located on the twenty-first floor of an office building at 80 Maiden Lane. Also in the building are the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, the New York offices of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Department of Investigation for the City of New York. According to a realtor at Winick Realty Group, the sandwich chain Jersey Mike’s will be opening its first Manhattan location in the building’s ground-floor retail space over the summer.
You might be thinking: what is the Village Voice if it’s not in the Village? After all, the Wall Street Voice doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. We asked that question to Voice publisher Josh Fromson. “The Village Voice will always be dedicated to covering and serving the Village in addition to the many other areas of New York that are so vibrant and exciting,” he said. “The physical location of our office has no bearing on our coverage, circulation or readership.”
There’s also the question of whether or not the physical location of any given publication even matters anymore. Whether or not you want to call the East Village “Midtown South,” much of the milieu that the Voice made its name covering in the 60s and 70s has long since migrated out of the Village, to Bushwick or Bed-Stuy or Ridgewood. And it has always been a paper with historically dramatic turnover, given the legion of great writers who have launched their careers there. That has led to repeated laments for the Voice that was, no matter what era we’re talking about.
As former staffer and current GQ writer Zach Baron put it, “the Voice has been past it for as long as the Voice has existed.” The likes of Robert Christgau, Colson Whitehead, and Tom Robbins were all fired or quit. Let’s hope the writers who replace those axed in last month’s round of layoffs — which included food critic Robert Sietsema, theater critic Michael Feingold, and nightlife columnist Michael Musto — are of similar caliber.
In a notable twist, Sietsema is now writing for Eater, located in the same building as the Voice at 36 Cooper Square.
The Voice’s new offices will have an “open collaborative feel that will be conducive to the needs of our company,” says Fromson. “The Voice has been in our current space for decades now, and as anyone who’s been in the office can attest to, it is quite dated and in need of a makeover.”
In August, The Local East Village reported that the alt weekly would leave its home since 1991. “Thankfully we’ll be leaving this dump in the spring, and we’ll be taking the letters on the outside of the building with us,” said since-departed editor Tony Ortega, adding that Voice Media Group, which took over the paper in 2012, was still scouting new locations.
It’s uncertain whether the iconic letters will follow the Voice to the Fi Di.