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Benjamin Solomon

Benjamin Solomon

Profession Next Magazine editor
Best known for Keeping NYC boys in the know
Website http://www.nextmagazine.com

Benjamin Solomon is editor of New York’s most popular gay weekly, Next Magazine. This hottie is at the center of New York nightlife, and all week he’s squeezed between gorgeous cover models, escorts, and the party boys in the back pages. Life is good.


How long have you been at the helm of NEXT, and how did you get your start?

I have been editor of Next Magazine for over a year now. I actually started as an intern, if you can believe it, and just worked my way up to the top. It’s been a fantastic place to work and the best city in the world to work in. I’ve been very lucky to be here.

What qualities make for a great editor?

For I long time I was directing theater, and editing a magazine isn’t much different. You much provide the editorial and in some cases creative vision for the magazine and then surround yourself with the different experts and talents that can help you achieve that vision. You have to be a listener but you also have to make tough calls.

Everything is compounded at a weekly because you have so much more material and even less time to brainstorm, assign, layout, and ship it all.

How do you wade through the swamp of press releases and decide what to cover?

Ha! It’s a skill one acquires, I’ll tell you that! For me it’s looking first for dates. If the press release is sent too late, there is nothing we can do, no matter how cool it is (though I might reach out for future coverage).

Then I look for key words, in our case things like “gay” and “New York”, basically things that really scream the kind of thing that our magazine likes to cover. But it also depends on where we have editorial holes in different issues, so there’s a good amount of luck involved, too. Good art always helps though.

Who is your favorite nightlife icon?

Not sure who my icon is, but the people I admire most in nightlife are those who have been working in it for years but still haven’t developed a big head. It’s easy to get into nightlife and get sucked in by the power and the cool, but smart people know it’s mostly a façade.

People who stay in nightlife ‘cause they like to help you forget your everyday life (but can still remember you name), those people always have my respect.

How do you see NYC nightlife transforming in the future?

Ah, the future! Why does no one ever want to live in the present! But that’s nightlife, always wanting to know what’s cool next, to be the first one in the new scene. For me? The future is a combination of the past. Like most things, nightlife comes in waves. Club Kids are back! Disco is back! The shapes nightlife takes will always be influenced greatly from what has come before (there aren’t original ideas anymore, just new interpretations).

As gay becomes more mainstream and more people come out, the gay community loses its unique individuality, and gays retreat into smaller gay communities (we’ve seen a big rise in gay athletes, bears, leather, etc) where they can find the uniqueness again, where they can feel like being gay means being special.

Which issue are you most proud of and why?

I am proud of any issue that promotes our community and the many different types of people who are doing great things. While many other magazines might obsess over celebrity and money, I’d like to think that we are most exciting when we can talk about our everyday readers, whether it’s for their personal style, the sports they play or for their amateur photography.

They are the real stars of Next Magazine.

In the city, the best parties can be mid-week without interference from the bridge and tunnel crowd. What are you personal favorite places to go out on a Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday?

I’m often most surprised by parties I don’t think I’d like. Pieces Karaoke on Tuesdays reminds me so much of small town gay life, that you can’t help but have a good time and escape the hustle and bustle for a squeal or two. Josh Sparber’s Good Times at Eastern Bloc on Wednesdays creates that niche family I was talking about within New York that has kept it crowded for years now. Amanda’s Big Top at Carnival did something similar. Mark Lander and Franco Diluzio have done a great job crafting parties at g Lounge, and I admire the diversity and vibe their Thursday night still manages to bring in.

What do you think are the biggest obstacle facing New York gay life today?

Apathy. People complain that the Internet is killing nightlife, but it’s only because it takes less work to turn on your computer than to get dressed and go out. Same goes for politics. Gay men love to complain about injustice but few are willing to get up and do something about it. It came be as simple as supporting a small gay business (like Next Magazine) or as much as marching on Washington, but you have to do something. Either way, when you get up to do something, you’re always rewarded.

Do you have a favorite “Staycation” close to the city, but far enough away to catch your breath?

Fire Island is something different for everyone, but the beaches really are beautiful. And I also had a great weekend recently in the Hudson Valley, New New Paltz. But for me going home to Jersey is my main staycation. My family lives near a lake and there is nothing like going for a swim or a boat ride with my family that takes me away from my worries.

Where is the first place a tourist should go to experience gay New York?

Not Ground Zero. It’s just a big construction site! No, really though, climb a big building and get an overview of the city. Empire State Building, Top of The Rock or better yet take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (it’s free). This city feels and looks like nowhere else in the world. Start with the whole picture and slowly work your way down to the smallest little details.

What are three things you never travel without?

My iPod, something trashy to read, and my camera. I’m not shy about being a complete tourist. It’s either that or regretting it later!

Read all about gay New York’s latest and greatest at http://www.nextmagazine.com/