Photo: Joe Schildhorn /BFAnyc.com.
I didn't know Peter Kaplan. I never met him. His son is a close friend of mine, and I knew that my friend's father, whose name was Peter, was ill. It was, therefore, a particularly eerie kind of shock to visit Gawker today and find a familiar name — not to mention face — on the homepage.
Being a writer and a resident of New York City, I should have known more about Kaplan the editor. In many ways, he is a symbol of the best qualities a journalist can possess. As the long-standing editor of The New York Observer, he helped to shape both the way we write and think about this profession. I'm learning that now as I read articles about him everywhere from BuzzFeed to The New York Times. You can, and should, read about him there, and elsewhere.
All that I can offer here is a strange and sad feeling. Peter Kaplan certainly left an indelible mark on this industry, but he also left behind something of equal note: his family. I never had a conversation with Kaplan, but I still feel I know something important about him. To have raised children who are smart, kind, thoughtful, hilarious with such voracious appetites for life is an incredible legacy. Peter Kaplan must have been a truly amazing man.