DOESN’T DISNEY HAVE ENOUGH FOOTPRINT IN NYC AS IT IS?

Not surprised that Disney’s Bob Iger is one of the sociopathically greedy oligarchs name-checked by Bernie Sanders, who cites their opposition to his campaign alongside an indictment of their economic crimes against this country.

I’ve been trying to find more coverage of Disney’s attempt to coerce de Blasio into accepting their plans to tear down landmark-quality buildings on Varick Street to build a new Manhattan headquarters. But coverage seems to be restricted to The City, which broke the story. The “mainstream” “news” media doesn’t seem interested in delving into the impropriety of Disney hiring lawyers to whom the mayor owes a lot of money in order to win his approval for their project.

I must say, that when Disney took over the New Amsterdam theater two decades ago, I kept my mouth shut because I was so thrilled that it would be restored and reopened. I began the campaign to preserve the New Amsterdam in 1975, not that Disney or anyone in the NYC administration has ever thanked me. In 1978, Marquee Magazine published my essay on the theater. The next year the theater was designated an interior and exterior landmark.Unfortunately, the upstairs Roof Theater was not interior-designated, which allowed this exquisite, superbly-preserved gem to be destroyed for a possible production by Peter Brook that never happened. The New Amsterdam’s main theater was then allowed to become dreadfully dilapidated. In 1990 engineer Will Daly contacted me and told me how parlous was the theater’s condition. Thank you, Will! He and I then began pressuring Landmarks to live up to its municipal duty and ensure that the theater was not allowed to crumble to the ground.

Subsequently, the city spent a lot of money funding an magnificent restoration of the Art Nouveau masterpiece–originally built, btw, by my relative Abe Erlanger. Inexplicably, except all-too-typically the city used public funds to present Disney with the exclusive proprietary control of the this theater, which is a municipal treasure that should not be monopolized by any one corporation, and particularly not Disney.

Not adverse to self-promotion, when I heard Disney was going to own the New Amsterdam, I sent them my resume on the chance that they would hire me for some kind of historical research. Never heard from back from them, but they sent me two tickets to the reopening event, which was the premiere of Elton John’s Aida. I went with a friend, but we were so disgusted at the wall-to-wall middle management occupying the theater for its historic rebirth that we left at intermission.

Disney and Iger are contemptuous and exploitative of this city, and they should not be extended further indulgences aka socialized corporate welfare, by City Hall.

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