If you got off the L train at Union Square, in 2015, you would have noticed, in a niche that used to belong to one of the city’s dilapidated newsstands, something like a teeny tiny night club. The little store, called New Stand, was gleaming white, like an Apple product, with a soundtrack of throbbing dance music. Instead of the usual newsstand offerings (the Post, PayDay bars, plastic-wrapped porn), it sold kale chips and instant cameras. It has since disappeared, but other New Stands have popped up in thirty-nine locations, mostly around New York, including aboard the city’s ferries and in the upscale mall Brookfield Place. The company’s logo is a smiley face containing the word “New.” New Stand’s Web site describes it as a vision from the future: “Imagine if your favorite blog and your favorite bodega had a baby.” For the most part, New Stand does not sell newspapers. Or magazines, really, beyond a smattering of fashion and tech publications. This wasn’t necessarily what its creators intended. “We launched with all the big papers in the Union Square subway,” Lex Kendall, one of New Stand’s founders, told me last week. “They didn’t sell!” “Except The New Yorker,” his co-found...