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Forest City Ratner's downtown branding, in Manhattan Media's New York Press

In this week's New York Press, page 5--a prominent spot--is taken up with a full-page advertisement from developer Forest City Ratner. The ad appears to be a branding exercise rather than an effort to plug any particular project.

However, the ad also might be seen as an effort to shape opinion among residents of Lower Manhattan, where the newspaper circulates, and where the developer seems to have delayed promised plans to complete a school in the Frank Gehry-designed Beekman Tower, despite queries from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Developer ties to newspaper chain

The free weekly newspaper, for years a somewhat iconoclastic voice since its founding in 1989, last August was sold to the more conventional Manhattan Media chain. Our Town Downtown, launched by Manhattan Media in 2006, was merged with the New York Press.

And Forest City Ratner has ties to Manhattan Media, which produced the ill-fated (two issues) publication The Brooklyn Standard, with fake bylines.

A Silver ad

Manhattan Media appears to be winner in the dispute between Forest City Ratner and Silver, given that the Assembly Speaker has purchased his own advertisement, albeit on page 32 of the weekly.