The Marathon-Length Magazine Awards

May 8, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

The National Magazine Awards The Waldorf=Astoria Wednesday, 05.02.01, 11:30 AM onward
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Da Silvano and Michael's were probably pretty quiet. Because the magazine bigwigs who usually lunch at those restaurants spent the afternoon--heck, most of the day--carrying on at the Waldorf=Astoria, where the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) gave out its National Magazine Awards.

The lengthy event began with a reception in the Jade and Astor rooms, followed by a slow march from those large rooms through the narrow passage that leads to the Grand Ballroom. (This is the same route taken by lots of events, including this crowd's Magazine Publishers of America's Henry Johnson Fisher Awards in January. Isn't there a quicker way to between these spaces?)

Thankfully, the entire lunch--smoked salmon over couscous and tiramisu in a red wine goblet--was pre-served, so no time was wasted between courses. After all, this lunch isn't about food, it's about winning the highly coveted Ellies, the Alexander Calder-designed awards that look like three metal boomerangs joined in the shape of an elephant.

Dominic Chianese--Uncle Junior on The Sopranos--kicked off the event, telling everyone to sit down and be quiet. (A good thing to do, but we're not sure why he was there.) New magazine editor Rosie O'Donnell also made brief, fairly humorous remarks (“Hello magazine people...Thank you for allowing me in your club"), including some jokes about the staph infection in her hand that forced her to carry an IV bag to the event. The Washington Post Company's Katharine Graham later appeared to induct Charles Peters, the founder and editor in chief of The Washington Monthly, into ASME's Hall of Fame.

For the awards themselves--the real reason members of the chattering class show up--Time Out New York's Cyndi Stivers, Family Circle's Susan Ungaro, Newsweek's Mark Whitaker and Entertainment Weekly's James Seymore rotated the duties, presenting in matching boy-boy and girl-girl teams. They were an affable bunch, and most of the winning editors' speeches were, well, edited. But each of the 17 awards was preceded by a video (well-produced by Image Zone) describing each of the nominees, helping to elongate the event. (Just imagine what this crowd could do with the dozens of awards handed out at the Golden Globes or the Grammys.)

The big winner of the afternoon was The New Yorker, the only mag to win more than one award. After editor David Remnick's fifth and final appearance at the podium, one of the Waldorf's caterwaiters marvelled, “Geez, they're killing everybody.”

--Chad Kaydo

More recent magazine industry events we've covered:

Conde Nast Traveler Rocks the Chambers

Cosmo Shows Swimsuits at Sephora

Oprah's Big Anniversary Bash

Self Magazine's Self-Celebration

Manly Decor for Men's Journal

Rosie's Magazine Launch Party

Glamour Sponsors Kitschy Asian Soiree

YM and MTV's Bubblegum Pop Party

Packing in Hipsters at the Gotham Launch

Glossies Toast Each Other at Henry Johnson Fisher Awards

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