I buy a new copy of the U.K.-based magazine Monocle whenever I see it. It's not cheap - 10 bucks per copy, and even more to subscribe (it's one of the few magazines not to subsidize subscriptions in order to drive up numbers for advertisers) - but it's worth it. Each issue is filled with things I didn't know, some of the writing is the best anywhere, and the photos and art direction are top-shelf. I also enjoy the fact that Monocle loves being a high-end magazine: it uses multiple types of paper stock in the same issue, even though that attention to detail is, sadly, becoming a bit of a relic. It has its tics; it gets as passionate about luxury goods, boutique hotels and fashion as it does about, say, defence contracting, technological change and airports. All in all, Monocle is often about designing things well.
This a long windup to say that the March issue, which only just arrived in town, has a spread on St. John's on it, written by Ann Marie Gardner (who has the somewhat haughty job title of "Bureau Chief Americas" on the masthead).
As profiles by visiting journalists go, it's a very decent read, with plenty of photos and sidebars that fit well into some of Monocle's passions, especially for handmade products, ingenuity and what the magazine recently celebrates as the "cosy" qualities of life. It also includes a recurring feature of "fixes," or things they'd implement to improve St. John's. A sample:
Newly constructed buildings don't do justice to the landscape. Bring in some good regional (or international if necessary) architects who are sensitive to the island's vernacular architecture.
Parking downtown is a problem, so what about bike paths? It's a myth that the temperatures are much colder than New York and the cold shouldn't stop people cycling anyway - look at Copenhagen.
To read the piece, you'll have to buy the magazine. (It's worth it.) The website has the article, but it's only available to subscribers.