The editors of the literary journal n+1 held a fund-raiser Friday night and then woke up with a nasty hangover: Someone had walked off with the $3,000 they'd raised. "It was the nicest party we've ever had," one of the editors, Keith Gessen, said. "Then somehow things got a little hazy. And then it was gone."
A twice-yearly journal of politics, art, and culture, n+1 was started in 2005 by four editors (three of them Harvard graduates): Mr. Gessen, Mark Greif, Benjamin Kunkel, and Marco Roth. The magazine has generated buzz and a following, partly because of the erudition of the essays and partly because of the editors' slightly rumpled charm and press savvy. Messrs. Gessen and Kunkel have both contributed to the New Yorker, and Mr. Kunkel published a well-received novel last year, called "Indecision."
The party on Friday was held in the apartment of an intern's parents on Bleecker Street, between the Bowery and Elizabeth Street. People dressed up, and there was music from a viola and accordion. Entry was $20 for subscribers and $30 for nonsubscribers; the price included an n+1 tote bag and an open bar.
But it wasn't inebriation that led to the editors' absentmindedness, Mr. Gessen said. "We've been much drunker than this," he said, "but the party was so nice that we were lulled into a false sense of security. Everybody was wearing jackets; there was classical music.We didn't think anyone was going to steal our money."
He added: "Also, our office manager got into a fight with his girlfriend and had to leave the party, and he's usually the guy who watches the cash box."
At some point in the early morning, the editors realized that the cash box was gone. "Maybe they put it in a tote bag," Mr. Gessen said.
At first, Mr. Gessen said, they thought someone had taken the box accidentally or as a practical joke. "But now it's Tuesday," he said. "It doesn't look that way." They sent an e-mailed plea to their subscribers, asking individuals to return the box if they accidentally took it or report anything they observed that might have been connected to its disappearance.
Mr. Gessen suggested that, if the thief wanted to return the money without being identified, he could go to a post office, turn the cash into a money order, and mail it.
The $3,000 was intended to fund a pamphlet on the avant-garde, which the editors hope to publish in the fall. It was also meant to offset the cost of producing the tote bags, which was much more expensive than expected. "They were supposed to make money, but then they cost so much, we had to have a fund-raiser to pay for them," Mr. Gessen said.
Asked in an e-mail to confirm the editors' alma maters, Mr. Gessen said: "You're not going to make this another one of those ‘Harvard guys get really drunk and lose all their money' articles, are you? I think the real story is: ‘n+1 sells out and throws nice party and this is what happens.'"