Narratively – The Past is Present

Based in the city that, supposedly, never sleeps Narratively wanted to slow down the news cycle instead of following (or rather be sucked in) the dominant maelstrom of stories. The project launched in September 2012 by publisher and editor-in-chief, Noah Rosenberg, and managing editor, Brendan Spiegel, is another of those projects adding more and more significance to crowd funding platform Kickstarter. From February 2013 the platform even saw the possibility to broaden their horizon beyond New York City and started sharing stories from places all over the world, offering the platform to an ever-growing audience. The beginning of this month, less then a year after the launch, the platform was named as part of TIME’s 50 Best Websites of 2013

Each week, Narratively explores a different theme in which a series of stories is published in the best form they see fit.

Every story gets the space and time it needs to have an impact, an approach conveniently called slow storytelling or slow journalism.

The online platform has as its main objective to place a premium on engaging the reader. Throughout the week, the people behind to platform solicit and curate thoughtful feedback and content. And they even see it possible to organize events featuring Q&A’s, film screenings, discussions and live storytelling. Not only do they care what the reader thinks, within the curation of the presented themes the platform has managed to stand out as well.

Examples of fascinating themes covered by Narratively are for instance “The Past is Present” which featured a highly interesting story on the massive antique eyeglasses collecting of Ruth Pollack which she kept in her Upper East-Side two-bedroom apartment. Daniel Krieger, who wrote the article, and his photographer Elizabeth D. Herman were the last one’s to see the collection in the apartment as Pollack is moving to Virginia, after living on East 75th for more than half a century. A wonderful personal story on collecting and living in the city, which really spoke to us.

Another theme we highly appreciated was “Hidden History”. It featured an interesting story on forgotten foods of New York City. In the ongoing project Anne Noyes Saini searches for longtime New Yorkers recalling family cooking traditions, foods from home that were lost to immigration, and New York City’s bygone era of milkmen, wandering produce sellers, automats, and soda fountains. The theme also featured the great story of a horrific train wreck in 1918 which wiped a Brooklyn street off the map and changed the New York City’s subway system forever written by James Folta.

We urge everyone who enjoys great (untold) stories to keep an eye out for the wonderfully curated Narratively and it’s fascinating stories!

Photography by Elizabeth Herman.