Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Power in NYC

Due to life happenings, I haven't been able to blog much lately (in case you hadn't noticed) but I would be remiss if I didn't direct you to New York magazine's Who Runs New York? feature from last week (in case you missed it).

Obviously the most powerful people in NYC are Mayor Bloomberg and other politicians -- along with the powerful financial, real estate, and media interests that support them. But, as this insightful report indicates, it's more complicated than that. The days of the old moneyed Wall Street establishment are over, the days of The New York Times and their erstwhile newspaper competitors controlling the daily new agenda are waning, and there is a new generation of real estate moguls who have a different idea of what should and shouldn't be built in this town.

The power in NYC fragmented like never before. Chaos reigns.

For example, take the media. Those who own big the media in this town are no longer the most powerful people (think Sulzberger, Zuckerman and Murdoch). Instead, you have folks like Nick Denton, an irascible Brit, who founded the snarky Gawker site. Ten years ago this guy didn't even live here -- and now he's as important a media figure in this city as Jimmy Breslin ever was.

Or politics. Mayor Bloomberg still may run NYC with as close to absolute power as any mayor in history but his days in office are waning. Soon he'll be just a billionaire instead of the mayor/billionaire. So who will take his place? That will depend, largely, on the new political kingmakers in this town. We're a long way from the days of Tammany Hall bosses like Carmine De Sapio and from labor union leaders like Mike Quill and Albert Shanker. But if you want to find their successors, look no further than Dan Kantor of the Working Families Party, the third-party organization that has succeeded in getting lots of up-and-coming politicians like John Liu and Bill DeBlasio elected. The effectiveness of the WFP turn out operations on election day are becoming famous. In 2009, while Bloomberg spent $100 million on his third term, the WFP was able to get out enough voters to reduce Bloomberg's margin of victory to an embarrassing four points. Kantor may be the most powerful person in NYC you haven't heard of -- but you will.

And then there's the likes of Lauren Santo Domingo who may be in the running for become the city's new Social doyenne, the new Mrs. Astor.

As you can see, in this era of the niche, power in New York is getting more diffuse even as wealth is getting more concentrated. It's an interesting, almost absurd paradigm -- one that is powered as much by new technology as anything.

Even this blog could be considered, in it's small, small way, a part of the new power game in NYC. For example, here am I, a regular guy, a simple blogger, who has been able to publish interviews with the likes of Kurt Anderson and Michael Musto, who has been asked by various business to advertise and plug their products, who has been invited to parties and events because of this blog, and who has gotten more than one person (including a prominent newspaper editor) extremely angry by some of the stuff I published on here. None of this would have happened if not for this blog and the small, tiny bit of power it has in the huge NYC media universe. (By the way, with one exception, I've turned all the invites and requests to plug stuff down. I ain't that kinda guy.)

So who runs New York? Who has the power? We do, my friends, you and me.

1 comment:

  1. I would like you to keep up the good work you know how to make your post understandable for most of the people.


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