NISKAYUNA — Nippertown.com is back.
Nippertown.com relaunched this morning, Wednesday, June 28 revealing a renewed focus on Capital District cultural offerings under its new publisher, NYSMUSIC.com co-owner Jim Gilbert. He will edit and manage the site along with longtime NYSMUSIC writer Laura DaPolito.
Greg Haymes and Sara Ayers founded the award-winning arts website Nippertown.com in May 2009. Over the years, the website’s continuous coverage of the local music and arts scene garnered a strong following. It abruptly stopped on the eve of its tenth anniversary.
The site’s relaunch was preceded by a short tease accompanied by a new, stylized logo of Nipper. Gilbert confessed to feeling anxious in an interview just prior to the launch.
“I want to do it justice,” he said. “I want to do this right by Greg and Sara.”
Gilbert’s experience includes covering the regional music scene in the Northeast for nearly seven years as editor and publisher of UpstateLive, and later NYSMUSIC.com. A renowned concert photographer, his work has been featured in several publications, by venues and by a list of major recording artists that includes Pearl Jam and Korn.
Gilbert, however, said he understands the broad scope of Nippertown’s audience extends beyond music.
“I always found it interesting that some of my favorite musicians were also incredible painters, or incredible poets or incredible writers,” said Gilbert, “because the arts meld together. Nippertown is going to be that place where we meld together the things that make us feel.”
Gilbert said the new Nippertown, while sharing some music content, will have a stronger focus and arts and culture, perhaps even branching into food. It will also employ new scribes and cover some topics left untended since the demise of AllOverAlbany.com.
“We are putting our all into Nippertown,” said Gilbert. “We have the resources and the manpower to maintain it at the proper level and to respectfully move it forward. I’m honored to have a hand in the future of Nippertown.”
This May marked Nippertown.com’s tenth anniversary. The celebration was cut short, however, once Haymes was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. The site shut down shortly before he died in April.
Ayers, of Castleton, chose to retire from the site to pursue her own interests but expressed a desire for its mission to continue.
“Jim has the right frame of mind to keep Nippertown viable,” said Ayers. “It’s a lot of work keeping tabs on the amazing array of activities in the Capital Region. Importantly, he also has the knowledge and skills to maintain the technical side of the site.”
Following talks with Gilbert, Ayers—a renowned ambient musician—felt confident to transfer the Nippertown archive, domain and legacy to the Niskayuna resident and his staff.
“We’ve had some excellent discussions with Sara,” said Gilbert. “We understand the passion and vision that drove Nippertown for its first decade, and we understand the work necessary to keep that vision alive. We’re ready.”
Haymes, following a long career as a musician and writer for The Times Union, Daily Gazette and Metroland, was a tireless supporter of arts and culture in all its forms.
Among the site’s many features were “Today’s Tips,” a comprehensive listing of local musical offerings; “The Daily Flashback,” which catalogued birthdays, deaths and milestones in cultural history; “Seen/Heard” a document of the couple’s latest interests in film and recordings; and “Live,” contributed concert reviews of all styles of music.
Ayers, among other duties, compiled “Art Beat: What to See,” an in-depth survey of gallery openings, happenings and exhibits; and provided all technical support and strategy.
Additionally, Nippertown nurtured a community of contributors, developing new writers and photographers into seasoned web journalists.
Gilbert said NYSMUSIC will provide a home for many Nippertown contributors on its own site as well as on Nippertown.com, which launches anew today, featuring a dedication that reads “founded by Greg Haymes and Sara Ayers.”
As per Ayers’ wishes, the original site and all its contents will be permanently archived and available.
“I can rest easy knowing that all the work we put into Nippertown was not for naught,” said Ayers. “The writers and photographers we loved will have a home and the spirit of the site will continue. I’m confident Jim and his crew will do a great job. Greg would be happy.”
Editor’s note: The Spot 518 and NYSMUSIC.com have a shared content agreement.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.