West Side Rag Contributors

Robert Beck

Robert Beck is a representational painter with a cultural focus on our here-and-now and extensive bodies of work addressing Bucks County (PA), New York City, and Maine. He is known for painting from life in active situations. This work has also taken him to Europe, Africa, and across America, painting people and their occupations. Along with his regular Rag column West Side Canvas, he writes for ICON Magazine and Art New England. His career has included instructing, lecturing, hosting a radio show, and curating art exhibitions. Learn more at Robertbeck.net and follow him at @Illhavecoffeethanks

Joy Bergmann

A West Side Rag contributor since 2015, Joy Bergmann enjoys reporting on courts, crime, real estate, commerce, and local luminaries. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Chicago magazine, CNN, Investigation Discovery, Metro New York, and Outlaw Biker. Follow her on X: @JoyBergmann

Wendy Blake

Wendy Blake writes primarily about arts and culture. She helps develop books and other projects for private clients, has worked as a communications specialist for the ACLU, been an award-winning copywriter, and was online editor for Crain’s New York Business. She is also a published poet and photographer. Her roots in the city are deep—she’s descended from the settler who drafted the first map of New Amsterdam. And the UWS appealed to her early on: she fell in love with the blue whale room at the American Museum of Natural History during visits with her grandfather. She also appreciates the neighborhood’s dog-friendliness and architecture. @wendyblakephoto, wendywestsider@gmail.com

Bob Eckstein

Bob Eckstein does the WSR Cartoon that appears on Fridays. He is a New Yorker cartoonist, award-winning illustrator, and world’s leading snowman expert. He has written for the New Yorker, New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Playboy, GQ, and Wall Street Journal, among others. He is also a contributing editor at Writer’s Digest, and his cartoons have been exhibited in San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum, London’s Cartoon Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University. He has been nominated for the National Cartoonists Society’s Gag Cartoonist of the year. His website is BobEckstein.com.

Scott Etkin

Scott works in tech and co-writes West Side Rag’s weekly Openings & Closings column. He also contributes articles about transportation and sanitation. A native New Yorker, Scott grew up in Morningside Heights and now lives with his wife (and dog) on the UWS.

Margie Smith Holt

Margie Smith Holt is a Philly girl who fell in love with NYC as a student at NYU. She finally made it back 25 years later when she met an Upper West Sider and convinced him to marry her. In between she had an Emmy-winning television career in Philadelphia, waitressed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and sailed across the Atlantic in a 30-foot boat. Her first book, Not on Any Map: One Virgin Island, Two Catastrophic Hurricanes, and the True Meaning of Paradise, was published in 2023. She can cover hard news but prefers writing about the fun stuff. Follow her at Margie Smith Holt (https://www.facebook.com/margiesmithholt/) on Facebook and
@msmargarita1 (https://www.instagram.com/msmargarita1/) on X and Instagram.

Daniel Katzive

Dan has been writing for the Rag since early 2022. He came to journalism after a 25-year career as a research analyst in currency markets. In December 2023 he earned a master’s degree in journalism at City University’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. Dan likes to write about how the city and the region work, focusing on infrastructure, transportation, and New York’s maritime industry. His blog documents observations on the Hudson River as it passes Manhattan. A 30-year resident of the Upper West Side, Dan and his wife raised two daughters in the neighborhood, both now off in college. Follow him on X: @dannykatman and on Instagram: northriverblog

Lisa Kava

Lisa Kava has been writing for West Side Rag since 2017 and has been an Upper West Sider for much longer. She and her husband raised their two children here, along with their goldendoodle. Her son and daughter say she asks them too many questions, so she is happy to ask questions on story interviews. She co-authors Openings & Closings with Scott Etkin. Lisa’s freelance writing has appeared in CoveyClub and Grown & Flown. A fitness enthusiast, nature lover, and dog lover, Lisa can be found most days walking in Central Park. You can also find her on X, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram

Daniel Krieger

Daniel Krieger is a writer and photographer in New York. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Slate, Salon, Wired, Tablet, Fast Company, and New York Observer.

Alex Maroño Porto

Alex Maroño Porto is a social and cultural journalist based in New York originally from A Coruña, in the northwestern part of Spain. He moved to the city in 2021 to study journalism at Columbia University as a Fulbright scholar, and began contributing to the Rag in 2022. When he’s not writing about cultural trends, migrant issues, or identity stories, he enjoys plunging into the waters of Brighton Beach, which makes him feel connected to his home on the other side of the Atlantic.

Bobby Panza

Bobby Panza was an early West Side Rag tipster before contributing his first story in 2017. Previously he was an advertising executive who worked on branded content campaigns for TV. Bobby’s also known to perform stand-up comedy and poetry at popular clubs around NYC. Bobby loves writing about the arts, food, local businesses, and the people who make the Upper West Side special. His work has been cited in The New York Times, New York Post, Eater, and Business Insider. Email him at Bob.Panza@gmail.com or follow him on Instagram and X.

Meg A. Parsont

A lifelong New Yorker, Meg is a publicist and the author of several children’s books. When she was a little kid, Meg and her father were part of a community garden in Central Park near the Sailboat Pond. These days, she joyfully tends a garden plot in the 91st Street Garden in Riverside Park. She also loves birdwatching with her husband, Danny, the beach in all seasons, and Upper West Side bagels (what’s not to love?). Meg is an avid reader—preferably with her cat, Calamity, curled up next to her—and spends too much time on Wordle and Connections.

Andrea Sachs

Andrea Sachs has lived on the Upper West Side since the day she arrived in NYC in 1982. After graduating from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she worked as a reporter at Time magazine for nearly 30 years. She was subsequently the founder and editor of a (recently shuttered) weekly pandemic magazine The Insider. She writes the Upper West Sider of the Month feature for WSR.

Gus Saltonstall

Hi West Side Rag readers! I’m the Senior Reporter covering all things Upper West Side. I’m born and raised on the Upper West Side and went to Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. If you have any local tips, or simply want to chat, please reach out to gus.saltonstall@westsiderag.com

Anya Schiffrin

Anya Schiffrin is an experienced journalist and lifelong Upper West Sider who grew up in the West 90s and lived briefly on Columbus Avenue in the 70s.  She went to Bank Street and Fieldston schools and teaches at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Follow her on X: @anyasipa.

Ava Stryker-Robbins

Ava Stryker-Robbins is a senior at the Beacon School and has been writing for the West Side Rag for the past two years. Ava writes the Here’s the Dish column, which features dishes at local restaurants and the stories behind them. She has also written on topics including education, history, politics, and more. Please contact avaleeasr@gmail.com with any restaurant ideas or tips.

Tracy Zwick

Tracy Zwick writes the UWS Weekend column for WSR. She is a writer, an art historian, a lawyer, a mom, and the lady you might’ve seen being pulled through Riverside Park by a poorly trained, if adorable, labradoodle named Gary. Tracy did her graduate work in art history at Columbia University and has lived on the Upper West Side for 25 years. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Art in America, Cultured, and ArtReview.