Skip to main content

A window on the Times-Ratner relationship, from the top? Not til 2050

The New York Times Company announced last week that it will donate its vast archives, which date back to 1851, to The New York Public Library, but the key elements for Atlantic Yards watchers probably won't be available until 2050.

The library announced that the collection contains more than 700,000 pages:
The archives contain the correspondence of each publisher of The New York Times, including the letters they exchanged with United States Presidents and other heads of state. Other highlights include select papers of Henry J. Raymond and George Jones, founders of The Times; documents relating to the critical news stories from around the world for the last century and a half; and files from both the business and editorial departments of the paper that provide a window into the day-to-day workings of The New York Times.

However, as the Times reported on Wednesday, in an article headlined For Public Library, a Trove of New York Times Records, only the papers of the earlier publishers will be released first:
William Stingone, the library’s curator of manuscripts, said the [Adolph S.] Ochs [who bought the Times in 1896] papers should be available to researchers within the year, and those of Ochs’s son-in-law and successor, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, shortly after that. The library is still negotiating with Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, nicknamed Punch, who was the publisher from 1963 to 1992, about a release date. The papers of the current publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., will not be available until 2050.
(Emphasis added)

The Times and AY

Has Sulzberger, concerned about the parent company's relationship with Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner, the newspaper company's partner on the new Times Tower, influenced the Times's editorial policy on Atlantic Yards? I suspect so, as in the newspaper's conflicted silence prior to the Atlantic Yards approval last December by the Public Authorities Control Board.

After all, the Times was willing to guarantee a loan to the developer. As I've written before, I don't think the business relationship means Times reporters are in the tank, though I believe the newspaper has an obligation to be exacting in its coverage, and has not fulfilled that obligation.

Sulzberger's role

Staffers at the Times and the Wall Street Journal have been sniping at each other, in print and in interviews regarding the influence of publishers on the contents of the newspaper.

As the New York Observer reported, in a 6/12/07 article headlined After Journal ‘Insult,’ Times Editorializes: They’re ‘Balanced and Trustworthy’, the Journal, facing a potential purchase by mogul Rupert Murdoch, responded to the Times in an editorial:
"Everyone knows that the influence of Times Publisher and C.E.O. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. extends to selecting not merely the editorial page editor but columnists, political endorsements and, as far as we can tell, even news coverage priorities," wrote The Journal."We don't see how this differs from most of what Mr. Murdoch is accused of doing with his newspapers."

Times editorial-page editor Andrew Rosenthal told the Observer that it was "absurd" to say Sulzberger "directs the news coverage."


As for the editorial page, however, the answer was more ambiguous:
Mr. Rosenthal said that Mr. Sulzberger is aware of some editorials in advance, but not others; however, he would not confirm whether the publisher laid eyes on this particular one [regarding the Journal] before going to press, or had any input

So we can safely assume that Sulzberger, at the least, is "aware" of the Times's editorial policy toward Atlantic Yards.

Last word?

The Times's feature article on the archives concluded with this charmingly self-referential paragraph:
In most of the complaints randomly picked from files, the newsroom seemed to get the last word. In 1903, George W. Daniels of the New York Central and Hudson River Rail Road Company threatened to pull display advertising because of the series of “mean articles” by F. C. Mortimer. Mr. Mortimer responded, “As for the number of ‘mean attacks’ mentioned by the amiable Mr. Daniels, they have appeared, perhaps, twice for every three times that the train service at the Grand Central Station has utterly broken down.”

But those were the days of print. In the era of the Internet, even if the Times doesn't listen, it may not get the last word.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …