Happy 2012! Although we’ve already cleaned up the champagne and put away the party hats, we wanted to take one look back at the Observer‘s most popular posts of 2011. Here you have, ranked in order, our twelve top stories from the past year, judged by unique views sourced through Google Analytics.
Our Power Lists have always been popular, but this summer's series on the Media Power Bachelors, Media Power Bachelorette, and Media Power Couples was beloved, and all three of those posts were in the top of our list. Want to know more about the power in New York? Check out the Private School Power Players, the Real Estate Power 100, and our list of the 50 New Power Gays.
In August, Dan Duray profiled Rich Hilfiger - the son of apparel designer Tommy - in his quest to become "the best rapper from Connecticut," and carefully detailed out a night with Rich in the studio. Rich's reaction to the profile? "It just made me really sad.."
In early September, Standard and Poor's downgraded the US credit rating amid a political stalemate over the debt ceiling. A single mother from St. Louis decided to vent her frustration with the process by aiming a sarcastic message thanking those responsible for the downgrade, and suggesting that everyone involved should be fired. The Observer chatted with a friend of the woman, who revealed that the original plan was to fly the message over Washington D.C. When she couldn't find a plane to fly the message over the nation's capital, she decided to speak to Wall Street instead.
Whoops! Yahoo-owned photo sharing site Flickr accidentally deleted a user's account and seemingly lost all 3,400 of his photos. Alls well that ends well, though, as Flickr was able to restore his images and even extended his paid account by 25 years.
The special election for scandalized congressman Anthony Weiner's seat saw some scandal of its own, when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran a curious attack ad against Republican candidate Bob Turner. The ad, which featured an animated airplane apparently skywriting over the New York City skyline, aired ominously in the days before the 10-year anniversary of September 11th. The DCCC quickly redid the ad and removed the skyline. Turner eventually won the race.
The marriage of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney to Nancy Shevell in October made our August profile of the bride a timely one. Did you know that she's on the board of the MTA? Did you know that her former husband is a stalwart Republican who once ran for Senate? Did you know that, as of her marriage, she's now worth about $700 million?
After Osama Bin Laden was killed, the White House released a photo on its Flickr stream that outed one of the CIA agents responsible. We figured out his identity, and also wrote about why we didn't publicize that information.
Film critic Rex Reed is one of the institutions of the Observer and his movie reviews are one of the bedrocks of our culture section. This December review of Steven Spielberg flick War Horse clearly touched a nerve with our audience. Check the comment thread for maximum hilarity.
Dating in New York City has always been perilous, but it's not often that you get to see the full nature of a beau's insanity clearly spelled out in your inbox, like one unlucky woman did in December. She received a feature-length screed from someone she shared a disastrous date with, though he apparently wasn't clear on the concept that she just wasn't into him.
The real estate scoop of the year! In December, we revealed the name of the buyer of the most expensive apartment ever in Manhattan - Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who paid $88 Million for Sandy Weill's old penthouse at 15 CPW. But, wait a minute, reports started to come out that Dmitry wasn't the actual buyer, and the the true owner was his 22-year-old college student daughter, Ekaterina. Right.
In May, we looked into the phenomenon of hedge funds buying up farmland, and all the money invested in actual seeds instead of seed stage companies. Why buy gold when you can buy golden grain?
All Day, All Week, Occupy Wall Street! The rallying cry of the protesters in Zuccotti Park resonated with Observer readers and consistently pushed coverage of the protest movement into our most popular list. The video of activist Jesse LaGreca speaking to a Fox News interviewer about his reasons for supporting the movement became our most-visited post on the site this year. Other popular posts about the Occupy movement include an in-depth profile of LaGreca, a video of a protest in a Citibank branch, the story of the night they cleared out Zuccotti Park, photos of the arrest of former Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis and our portraits of protesters, vendors, tourists, and others who were drawn to a quiet square way downtown.