By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What $10 million will buy

It wouldn’t be fair to call this a direct connection. But follow the bouncing money.

The New York Times today runs a profile of Lisa Maria Falcone, a socialite who just gave $10 million to the High Line, an elevated railway in New York that’s been turned into a garden. Falcone’s husband, Philip Falcone, is the founder of Harbinger Capital, which owns 20 percent of the New York Times Co. The Times Co. is demanding that the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Boston Globe’s largest union, deliver $10 million in concessions.

To be clear, the Falcones are not legally, fiscally or ethically responsible for either the Globe or the problems the Times Co. is having in running it. But there’s a parallel here that’s too striking to let go unmentioned.

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16 Comments

  1. Treg

    The money is always there, somewhere. Just not for the people who do the actual WORK.

  2. lkcape

    What then, Dan and Treg, do you want to set as the moral imperative? Do you wish to dictate how money gets spent?

  3. Treg

    Ik, I think Dan's disclaimer says it all. His comment here isn't about setting a moral imperative. It's about perspective. The world was supposedly going to end over a lousy ten mill. That's the point.

  4. LFNeilson

    It's about telegraphing your moves. The NYT people know that the BNG people and all of Boston, really, are in a bind. Obviously, the union cares about whether the paper survives more than the NY investment people, who can take any loss as a write-off. Yes, they've seen the investment tank. But they're in a position where they can play hardball, knowing the union has more to lose. It's not about whether they have the money.zzzzz

  5. lkcape

    If one wishes to draw a parallel, disclaimers not withstanding, one wishes the reader to draw some conclusion(s).It is fair to point outh that the irony is intended to achieve a goal. And, it is also fair to ask what that goal might actually be.

  6. O-FISH-L

    Dan, I'm amazed that the same people that fight for "a woman's right to choose" on an issue far more grave, question a woman's right to choose how to spend her time and treasure.To paraphrase one from the abortion crowd, "Don't believe in an elevated garden? Don't have one."

  7. mike_b1

    Unless I misunderstand something, Harbinger's 20% stake gets it no voting rights. And to sell (much) of the stock it now holds would almost certainly mean big losses for the firm. So I'm not sure what influence it would have over how Pinch runs the company.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: My post is not one that holds up to a literal reading. That wasn't my intention. But surely there's something at least karmically interesting about a major owner of Times Co. shares blowing $10 million on a strip of grass when the Globe's largest union is being ordered to give up $10 million in pay and benefits.

  9. mike_b1

    Ah, well, Bank of America spends more than that on Super Bowl parties, so…

  10. Danielle

    The NYTPicker had further comments on this. E.g.,… But those moments of pseudo-toughness gave way to the puffery that tends to be Pogrebin's default position, and certainly seemed fitting for a profile of the wife of a top NYT investor…

  11. Peter Porcupine

    DK – since they only have a 20% share, can they blow TWO million?

  12. Nial Liszt

    The High Line looks like somebody tossed some dirt and seeds onto the old Central Artery. Can we trade the Rose Kennedy Greenway for it, if they throw in Jeter?

  13. LFNeilson

    That garden certainly is a wierd concept. A nice idea, yes, but I hope they at least keep the girders painted. It's dark on the street below. All I can think of is City Square, Causeway or lower Washington Street. And smelling the donuts as the train rounded the corner from the City Sq. bridge onto Causeway. zzzzz

  14. JKeohane

    Nial and LF, I've actually been to the High Line, and, as a number of architecture and urban planning critics have noted everywhere from the NY Times to the Journal, it's a masterpiece. The supposed visionaries behind the Greenway could stand to learn a thing or two from this project. And while we're doing apples to oranges, I'd take a single stroll on the High Line over a lifetime of Adrian Walker and Kevin Cullen columns.

  15. Amused

    Allans mes amis, ilfaut cultiver nos jardins.

  16. Esther

    Dan, the High Line is supposed to be wicked cool! I'm planning to go on my next trip to NYC later this month. I'll take pictures and report back!

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