It was Manhattan’s print journalism scene that served as matchmaker to the Paper magazine editor at large Mickey Boardman, the writer Lynn Yaeger and the columnist Michael Musto, who have been friends for over 25 years and dedicated New Yorkers for even longer. In the early ’90s, Yaeger, then the fashion editor at The Village Voice, assigned a story to Musto that never made it to press. “My article was so appalling she didn’t run it, but then we became friends, partly out of gossip and partly because we were on a lot of the same lists for parties,” says Musto. He met Boardman in 1994, after receiving an invite to Paper’s 10th-anniversary bash. “Michael and Bill Cunningham were, to me, the legendary documenters of downtown culture,” says Boardman, who was subsequently introduced to Yaeger by Lauren Ezersky, the host of the television series “Behind the Velvet Ropes,” after she spotted the two aboard a long-since-retired Fashion Week bus that carried attendees from show to show. That bus is a good metaphor for what their friendship became: “It was uptown, downtown, Midtown, everywhere,” says Musto.
Indeed, his and Boardman’s weekly routine went something like Sugar Babies on Mondays, Jackie 60 and Beige at BBar on Tuesdays, Flamingo East on Wednesdays, BeavHer on Thursdays, Squeezebox at Don Hill’s on Fridays and the Roxy, Tunnel or Sound Factory on Saturdays, with Yaeger joining occasionally for a good story or the thrill of getting dressed and past the doorman. Once inside, though, she did what she had to to protect her clothes. “I had this sable coat, and when I would go to a nightclub, I used to bring a giant trash bag and haul it around in that because I didn’t want anything to happen to it,” she says. It’s easy, then, to see how the friends became well-known and instantly recognizable city dwellers — even now, it’s not uncommon to spot the (masked and vaccinated) trio out and about, or one can simply tune in to “The Mickey and Lynn Show” on Instagram for musings on pop culture and more (Musto made a guest appearance just last month, and floated the idea of sending the entire British royal family to outer space).
That’s not to say it’s been all fun and games with the threesome — as they say in T’s 2021 Culture issue, they lost mutual friends to AIDS and have seen each other through plenty of other hardships. But what’s remained undiminished, and has in fact deepened over time, is their connection — as well as their ability to enjoy each other’s company. Over the past year, they’ve signed in to Zoom for twice-weekly virtual movie club meetings, and are looking forward to watching Sunday’s Academy Awards together again. “A big bonding moment for the three of us was when Michael first invited us over to watch the Oscars,” says Boardman, in response to which Musto quips, “I think ‘Gone With the Wind’ won that night.” Here, a smattering of images that offer a window into the group’s friendship in the intervening years.