Q+A: Evanly Schindler, BlackBook Magazine and Gallery
BlackBook was founded in 1996 as a print magazine, providing sophisticated, relevant, and visually stunning takes on restaurants, nightlife, travel, fashion, entertainment, and the arts. In the last few years, its made the leap from print to digital, expanding along the way into a brick-and-mortar gallery as well. The gallery opened here in Dumbo at 20 John Street in early 2019! We sat down with founder and CEO Evanly Schindler to learn more about him and the BlackBook story.
What is the BlackBook Story?
I was working in mainstream media–looking for uniqueness, and originality, which did not prescribe to mainstream media publishing practices. I was looking for more artistic, creative expression that tapped cultural hubs, and also alternative views on mainstream culture. I could not find it. So, I founded BlackBook in the late 1990s. It quickly became famous as the media platform for artists, creatives, cool brands, and where likeminded audiences found that information.
Fast forward to today. I am the founder and CEO, and I also do some editorial and creative work.
You've been at the helm of this company since 1996. That's a great tenure. How has the voice, or focus, of the magazine evolved over the past two decades? What was the switch from print to digital like?
I actually sold the brand pre-eco-crash around 2007, did a bunch of other media stuff: I founded Tar Magazine (an anagram of "Art") and spent a lot of time in Verona, Italy where my partners were; I was at Interview Magazine and worked on global market expansion; I founded the restaurant ACME in Manhattan with a few friends.
I ended up buying BlackBook back a few years ago, switched to all-digital, and opened our new immersive media experience in a physical space here in Dumbo in January 2019. We're working with five vertical integrations: BlackBook's core web site; a 7,000 sq ft Gallery; a unique events space; e-commerce; and our premium content, design, and branding agency. My partner Mark Zeff designed the BlackBook Presents space in an old Dumbo loading dock–it's beautiful.
What can we expect at BlackBook, both online and in the gallery?
Dumbo is our HQ. All our divisions are here. The future of media are experiences: this is what we are doing. Our world is premium content experiences. "New s*&%".
And finally, what is your favorite spot in DUMBO?
BlackBook Presents. I also like taking the ferry home to Williamsburg. It's civilized transport vs our other ancient decaying forms....