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.”