NY1 Turns 20

In a glossy media city that values professional polish, NY1, Time Warner’s no-frills news channel, enjoys a certain cult following,

Jerry Stiller and Angela Lansbury. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

In a glossy media city that values professional polish, NY1, Time Warner’s no-frills news channel, enjoys a certain cult following, as evidenced by the high-profile fans who gathered at the New York Public Library last Thursday to celebrate two decades of “weather on the ones.”

The event reflected the unassuming charms of the station, where anchors style themselves and pan-away shots reveal a bullpen that is more Community than The Newsroom. Though there was an open bar, the wine glasses had thick stems, and the hors d’oeuvres, while tasty, might have arrived straight from Trader Joe’s.

“I love being part of New York City, and a part of New York City that is very unique is a small station called NY1,” said Jerry Stiller. “Pat Kiernan is wonderful with the newspapers. He starts reading them at 6 o’clock and you are ahead of the game already,” Mr. Stiller continued. “But there are no twists. It’s just the pure news; no other station does that.”

Earlier this year, Mr. Kiernan—whose In the Papers segment has made him as famous as one can be in New York without being famous everywhere—publicly lobbied to sit next to Kelly Ripa on Live! With Kelly at the more humane hour of 9 o’clock. Then, very publicly, he didn’t get the job. “It usually isn’t so public,” he told the Transom. “Even for TV jobs, you usually just go into a studio somewhere and the crew knows you are auditioning, but you haven’t had five million people critique your audition.”

Many of the guests at the anniversary party were relieved Mr. Kiernan didn’t get the gig.

“My girlfriend, Sandra, can’t live a day without it,” said Scott Adsit, who plays Pete the producer on 30 Rock. “We’ve been to a lot of Hollywood-type parties and Broadway-type parties, but I’ve never seen her this excited to meet celebrities in my life. She’s beside herself to be in the same room as Pat Kiernan.”

So he was trying to impress her?

“Yes! I’m trying to get some,” Mr. Adsit replied.

“Is that—what’s her name, the woman who does the parenting report?” Sandra Bauleo, Mr. Adsit’s tall brunette girlfriend, whispered. Indeed, it was Shelly Goldberg, who has been recommending kid-friendly activities to viewers for years.

Meanwhile, mayoral hopefuls (when asked, most said that they will announce “after the presidential election”) came to kiss Errol Louis’s ring. Mr. Louis hosts Inside City Hall, the nightly show about city politics.

“They are my constituents; I represented them when they were on 42nd Street and I represent them in Chelsea Market,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.

“I’ve been watching NY1 literally since they started. I was on the Dinkins campaign,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “I’m a ‘weather on the ones’ type of guy. And of course, Inside City Hall.”

“There are two shows I DVR: the first is Boardwalk Empire and the second is Inside City Hall,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Veteran NY1 anchors Roma Torre, Louis Dodley and Budd Mishkin accepted praise and blue Tiffany’s boxes—they were part of the original team of reporters who started 20 years ago.

“I couldn’t live without NY1. I wake up to it and I go to sleep to it,” said Angela Lansbury. “It’s like a very dear friend.” Ms. Lansbury hummed the channel’s soft-jazz theme music.

Waiters passed around miniature black-and-white cookies and cake lollipops. It was time to head home.

The anniversary party was the same night as the vice-presidential debate, so the library cleared out promptly as everyone rushed home to watch Joe Biden duke it out with his “friend, the congressman.”

The next morning, like always, we woke up to NY1 NY1 Turns 20