Saturday, November 15, 2008

Suddenly, Souvenirs

ON the morning of Sept. 30, the final issue of The New York Sun lay neatly stacked atop local newsstands. The next morning, the newspaper was gone for good. Yet The Sun’s presence endures on city streets in the form of a few yellow newspaper boxes that are empty, like the abandoned habitats of an extinct bird.

Even more ubiquitous are the yellow-and-white plastic weights once used to hold down piles of windblown Suns at newsstands. Now, suddenly, they are an artifact of history.

Yet when asked if anybody had inquired about taking home one of the weights as a keepsake, news vendors tended to look blank. A vendor at Columbus Avenue and 81st Street who had seven weights on the racks outside his store shook his head and shrugged.

“Why?” he replied. “It holds down paper.”

The newspaper commemorated by these items had a brief but noteworthy run. Taking the name of the first penny press newspaper, which ran from 1833 to 1950, the new incarnation of the publication arrived in the spring of 2002. While its paid circulation was modest (about 14,000), The Sun ran for six and a half years before dying in the crosshairs of newspaper layoffs and widespread economic panic.


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