Susan Brownmiller, 82, a feminist writer, reminisced about the early days; the cartoonist Jules Feiffer, 88, joined by video; many groused that the paper’s archives were not online.
In the noisy front room, Jonas Mekas, who wrote about film for the Voice from 1957 to 1977, huddled with Ed Fancher, the founding publisher. Mr. Mekas and Mr. Fancher were both 94 and still read the Voice regularly.
“It’s like a funeral,” Mr. Mekas said of the gathering, before changing his mind and saying that the move to all-digital was a good thing. “Technologies are changing, and it had to change,” he said. “It’s curious how the content will change. ‘Funeral’ was not the right word. It looks like some graduation. I see no young people here.”
Mr. Fancher, who started the paper with Norman Mailer and Dan Wolf in 1955, noted that the founders were all World War II veterans, who conceived the paper as a response to that war, “a feeling that there should be an open society, and that would require an open sort of newspaper, which The Village Voice was.”
Around the room, generations lamented their own era of the paper. Tricia Romano, 44, who started as a fact-checker in 1999, said people at that time would say the paper was better in the 1980s. “But people said that in the ‘80s, everyone said it was better in the ‘70s,” she said.
Touré, 46, who wrote about hip-hop from 1992 to 1998, hesitated to name a golden age, but said that he had stopped reading the paper shortly after he left. “At some point I said, ‘This is not the paper I idolized in college.’”
In the back room, Jim Fouratt, who wrote for the paper and was covered by it as a nightclub impresario, made a beeline for the food table. “Ooh, fruit salad,” he said, then chatted in a corner with Robert Christgau, who wrote or edited music articles for 37 years before he was unceremoniously let go. Mr. Christgau programmed the evening’s music, in part because no one wanted to be exposed to his withering judgments. The first song was the Beatles, and he encouraged people to listen to the lyrics in light of the occasion: “You never give me your money,” the song began, “you only give me your funny paper.”
Mr. Christgau wore a T-shirt that said “TRUMP KILLED LEONARD COHEN” and danced with his wife, the novelist Carola Dibbell, who also wrote for the Voice. One or two others joined.
Mr. Tomasky said that he and the other organizers started planning the reunion in January, when two of the paper’s flagship writers, Nat Hentoff and Wayne Barrett, died within 12 days of each other. Both had been laid off years before.
“In a way it’s too late, if those two can’t be here,” Mr. Tomasky said. “But the longer we wait, the more we lose.” The evening included an emotionally charged reading of the names of staff members who were no longer living.
Many in the room had been in bitter fights, in person or in print, but for this night the bygones appeared to be mostly bygones. “One night, four hours,” Mr. Tomasky said. “If we spent much more time than that with each other, we’d start feuding again.”
Peter Noel, a political writer who joined in 1990 to write about the Rev. Al Sharpton, noted one possible reason for the amity: Mr. Barrett’s absence. “The last thing he told me, three months before he died — ‘Noel, come see me,’” Mr. Noel, 59, said with affection. “He was a guy I used to fight with. I didn’t speak with him for years. But he wanted to talk about Trump.”
Robert Friedman, who edited the paper from 1985 until he was fired in mid-1986, remembered a doozy of a feud with the writer Pete Hamill. Mr. Friedman, now 70, had run a cover story on the performance artist Karen Finley, who used to smear chocolate on her body and do things with yams not found in “The Joy of Cooking.” Mr. Hamill and others at the paper objected.
“Pete’s next column told readers to send yams to Friedman — ‘He’ll know what to do with them,’” Mr. Friedman said. As editor, Mr. Friedman read the column and approved it for publication — such argument was the spirit of the Voice, he said. “I actually got a nice-looking yam, which I kept on my desk,” Mr. Friedman said. Not for long, though; he was fired shortly after.
Lucian K. Truscott IV, 70, wearing a police press pass from 1975, recalled a more genial path through the paper’s hornet’s nest. He got his start in 1966 with a four-word letter, the first three of which were “Abbie Hoffman’s an.”
“It got 37 angry replies, including Norman Mailer, who wrote, ‘What do you know?’” Mr. Truscott said. “The following week I wrote back to them. A year later I was invited to a Christmas party at Ed Fancher’s apartment, and when I opened the door I hit Bob Dylan’s arm and pitched a drink at Mayor Lindsay.”
Jackie Rudin, who worked in advertising from 1972 to 1987, noted an irony in mourning the print paper at a gathering organized online. “I see them all on Facebook, really,” she said. And she joined Mr. Christgau and Ms. Dibbell on the dance floor.
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