A guy with a name like Lockhart Steele is bound to make some big moves every once in a while. Today, seminal service industry gossip blog Eater came out with both (A) a swift new redesign, (B) went national, and most interestingly (C) the announcement that Curbed Media — owners of Eater — has acquired Down By the Hipster, the nightlife/service industry gadfly blog run by Scott Solish. Scott’s now on Eater’s masthead as their “Nightlife Editor.” Lockhart says: “DBTH will lay fallow.” This is, as they say, a game changer. That said, the inside baseball of this will only be interesting to, like, five people. A little history:
Solish used to work for Curbed Media back in the day. Sometime after his stint, he started blogging DBTH anonymously, until a rivalry between Eater’s Ben Leventhal and DBTH broke out. Leventhal outed Solish as DBTH, and Josh Ozersky wrote about it at Grub Street. Then: Leventhal ends his tenure as Eater’s executive editor and ends up doing some work for Grub Street at New York Magazine. Amanda Kludt takes Leventhal’s place. And now, I have no idea exactly what the hell Leventhal’s doing, because he just ran the aforementioned NYC resto list on Eater today, along with a post you’ll read about below. Is Ben back for good?
It gets even more ridiculous. Solish’s competish — Rachelle Hruska’s Guest of a Guest — who he used to share a major beef with — was quoted in her New York Times profile and us about Lockhart being one of the first people she sought advice from in New York. I wrote about Hruska on my weekend gig for Gawker, which pissed her off to no end and prompted her to call my writing “shoddy” and imply that I was the reason journalism was fucked (possibly true). We’re since cool. Hruska’s mentor and divine inspiration is our own nightlife columnist, Steve Lewis. Meanwhile, BlackBook’s Content Czar of Death — “Chris Mohney” — used to supervise Eater’s Amanda Kludt at Gridskipper, before becoming the managing editor at Gawker, before he came to BlackBook. Then: Gawker sold Gridskipper to Lockhart Steele, who used to work at Gawker as the Grand Moff Tarkin to Nick Denton’s Darth Vader (I still believe Denton answers to an emperor of bloggy doom named Andrew Krucoff, who, don’t get me started). Did I mention that our Fashioneer blogger, Alisa Gould-Simon, runs Gridskipper for Steele, which was Mohney’s first paid blogging gig?
If you ever had any question about how insular and circlejerky the New York media actually is, it should be answered by this point. Every snake-eats-tail media conspiracy you’ve ever heard is basically true. And now, Eater’s going live with a national blog and offering $25 to anybody who’ll shut their food blog down and post their notice, which some charity blogs have already done*. I need to lie down.
Congratulations to all parties involved, but especially for Solish, who turned his gadfly blog into a legit gig (even though he probably could’ve begged Lock for one and gotten it anyway), and to Steele for expanding the empire. I’m an Eater fan, and you should be, too. It’s fun writing and they get great scoops. But read us before them because if you don’t give us traffic, we’ll kill you, or find someone to beat you at the door of Avenue with the shiny end of a velvet rope. Thanks. In the mean time, to celebrate Eater’s expansion, we made our own tweaked tribute to their DOH notice. Since we’re not totally a food blog nor are we going anywhere, Ben and Lock can take their $25 and stick it up Cory Lane’s* ass. Mazel, guys.