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Navel Gazing

Hell Gate’s Most-Read Stories of 2022

Read your favorite stories, again!

(Tod Seelie / Hell Gate)

Have you heard? The days are getting longer now, second by second, minute by minute. We here at Hell Gate do our best to look forward to a better future. (We're hiring!) 

But please indulge us while we look back and celebrate some of the more than 400 stories we published in 2022, our first year on the planet. We wouldn't have been able to publish anything without our subscribers. Thank you for supporting worker-owned journalism!

The headline says "most-read" but this comes with a caveat: For the first few months of our existence, we didn't keep traffic numbers. Rookie mistake or unparalleled commitment to excellence over commercial appeal? (We think our stories, like this one that led to the dismissal of murder charges in Queens, this examination of zoomer TikTok vernacular, and our deep dive into the mayor's rare stones, speak for themselves.)

Here they are, in no particular order:

Saturday Morning With the Park Slope Panthers by Esther Wang

The story that launched a thousand thinkpieces (and at least one podcast episode). You think you know how this fly-on-the-wall account of a strange neighborhood watch meeting is going to go, then Snow, Leaf, and Sky show up.

One Weird Trick to Forget About the Housing Crisis by Jia Tolentino

A searing meditation on why the rent is so damn high from one of our favorite writers.

It's Not Just You: NYC Has a Serious Dungeon Master Shortage by Henry Solotaroff-Webber

Not only is this a fascinating look at one of the many pandemic-related labor shortages, with a perfect illustration from Mattie Lubchansky, but wow, this quote! "There's a DM shortage in the tabletop community like there's a top shortage in the LGBTQ community."

A Very Moynihan Train Hall Thanksgiving: 'Wow, I Can't Even Sit Down?' by Christopher Robbins

"Train stations should have benches where the trains are" is an editorial position that Hell Gate is proud to advance, now and always. This installment took our correspondent to the shiny, soulless train hall during its busiest time of the year, in which far too many travelers were forced to sit on the floor. Governor Hochul: Have you read this yet? 

The NYPD Is Illegally Sending People to Rikers Without Ever Seeing a Judge, Lawsuit Claims by Nick Pinto

This galling headline would say it all, except that our story also includes the disturbing accounts of several New Yorkers who were disappeared into the City's deadly jail system by police officers who couldn't be bothered to follow the law. The lawsuit categorized this pattern as "nothing short of an extrajudicial campaign of terror and kidnapping."

A Brief Guide to Encountering a Weeping Person in Public in NYC by Molly Osberg 

"One of the truest and most sublime rights we possess in a trash-strewn city of 8.5 million, is to cry in public unbothered, ideally next to a bottle of piss or over the bone-crunching sound of an elevated train." Given how many New Yorkers agree with Molly here, we'll expect this to be carved on the Statue of Liberty's torch in 2023. 

The Plan to Completely Transform Governor's Island Faces One Last Hurdle by Max Rivlin-Nadler

Governor's Island was supposed to be a bucolic respite from the bustle of Babylon, but then a group of developers took control of the island's destiny, which now includes a literal "climate solutions center" built at sea level…in New York Harbor. Also: hundreds of parking spaces! Since we published this story in October, the legal challenge has been dispensed with. Paradise, meet steamroller! 

Dogs Don't Belong in NYC by Luke Winkie

You know you've published a delicious essay when even people who have dogs read this headline, shake their head, and mutter nervously under their breath. The delightful illustration by Emily Bernstein makes this bitter truth pill slightly easier to swallow.

NYPD Arrests and Jails Cyclist For Fixing Driver's Illegally Obscured License Plate by Christopher Robbins

Ever notice how "broken windows" policing is always applied to poor people, and not, say, government officials, cops, or firefighters who illegally obscure the license plates on their cars to avoid paying tolls and being caught by speed cameras? This story is just one in a series of license plate shenanigans that Hell Gate covered this year. Something tells us the hits will keep coming in 2023.

A Guide to the 12-Foot Skeletons of NYC by Kate Mooney

This story earned Hell Gate our first mention on FOX5, and rightfully so. People love these darn skeletons so much!  

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