The 5 Best Stories From Narratively’s First 5 Years

On our anniversary, our editors pick the very best pieces from each year of Narratively’s existence.

The 5 Best Stories From Narratively’s First 5 Years

Five years ago this week, a ragtag group of die-hard journalists and storytellers launched Narratively, needing to fill a void we saw in the modern media landscape. We were sick of MacGyvering our stories to meet the increasingly pesky constraints of mainstream media, tired of watching our peers chase the same news and clickbait. Our concept: just one carefully crafted piece a day, celebrating ordinary people with extraordinary stories.

Since then we’ve grown a global community of 3,000+ contributors who work for some of the top outlets on earth, and an audience of ultra-engaged, loyal readers who turn to Narratively for a refreshing take on our world.

For us editors, picking our favorite stories is a bit like picking a favorite child, but we nonetheless challenged ourselves to choose one piece from each year of our existence. These five stories impacted Narratively in a major way, and they continue to represent the storytelling philosophy we aim to impart on you. Thank you for an inspiring five years.


The Narratively Team

1. Legends Never Die

By Caroline Rothstein

Published May 2, 2013

Photo by Gunars Elmuts

Two decades after a low-budget film turned Washington Square skaters into international celebrities, the kids from “Kids” struggle with lost lives, distant friendships, and the fine art of growing up.

2. Nick Brown Smelled Bull

By Vinnie Rotondaro

Published October 17, 2013

Illustration by Kevin Huizenga

A plucky amateur dared to question a celebrated psychological finding. He wound up blowing the whole theory wide open.

3. The Man Who Got America High

By Jeff Maysh

Published November 5, 2014

Illustration by Naomi Elliott

He chartered the Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead in private jets, while smuggling planeloads of Pablo Escobar’s drugs on the side. After disappearing for decades, Alfred Dellentash Jr. finally shares his unbelievable life story — for the very first time.

4. Healing Hasidic Masturbators and Adulterers — With Psychiatric Drugs

By Batya Ungar-Sargon

Published August 23, 2016

Photo by Pearl Gabel

These ultra-Orthodox Jews admitted to religious taboos ranging from same-sex attraction to extramarital affairs. The treatment they received was alarmingly severe.

5. I Was Taught to Hate My Lesbian Neighbors. They Took Me In Anyway.

By Dena Landon

Published September 7, 2016

Illustration by Vinnie Neuberg

The summer my parents’ marriage was falling apart, my best friend’s two moms saved me — even though my dad said they were going to Hell.

If you’ve enjoyed these pieces, please consider helping us continue Narratively and tell more great stories by becoming a Narratively member on Patreon.