Mayor Bloomberg, How About An Ad About Broadway?

First, let me say this . . . I love me some Bloomberg.  There’s not much that he’s done in his reign over this city that I’ve disagreed with.  Shoot, I’m a Coca-Cola-a-holic, and even I was ok with the proposed ban on the super-size sizes.

In fact, I’m convinced that he’s planning a Presidential run in the next two cycles (switching his political affiliation from Republican to Independent several years ago was the first clue).

And I know we just gave him a Tony Award for his support of the Broadway theater (even though I can’t recall him coming to any opening night or, well, any performances in general as of late, and even though he was a “no-show” at the Tony-Eve Cocktail Party), and I know he’s driven NYC tourism up, and I know he’s helped us with a couple of union negotiations, but I gotta call him and his admin out on a little something.

See the photo in this blog?

It’s an ad from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.  It reads . . .

Each year the film and tv production industry generates over $400 million in tax revenue to NYC . . . Filming is good for NYC.  Thank you for hosting production in your neighborhood.

It’s true.  It’s a good ad.  And I get it.  With NYC being a bit expensive . . . and with TV/Film shoots heading to Vancouver, Louisiana, and anywhere cheaper (and with tax credits), we’ve got to get a bit aggressive with keeping that revenue and that biz here in the city.

But where’s the Broadway love?

Last I checked, Broadway’s economic impact to this city was 11.2 BILLION BUCKS.  B-b-b-billion.  As in Warren Buffet like billions.

Broadway is the economic engine of Times Square.  We put 30,000 people a day in this 10 block radius.  And those are people with cash.  Imagine, Mayor Bloomberg, and Commissioner Katherine Oliver, if that dried up.  What if there was another dark period?  What if Producers stopped producing because it got . . . oh, too risky, too expensive, too difficult to recoup?

Maybe the Broadway industry is the one that should be getting the award.  I know we’d show up at the cocktail party.

But the truth is . . . we don’t want a trophy.  We don’t even want a thank you ad.

What we want is . . . tax incentives for our investors, tax rebates for production expenses, city-marketing money spent in-other-cities, and yeah, maybe our elected officials coming to our openings every once in awhile.

So you can chase the Film & TV industry all you want.  She’s a sexy one, I get it.  And she’s got other suitors.

But don’t forget to dance with the one that brung ya.


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  • Mackenzie says:

    Bloomberg attended Signature Theatre Company’s production of Sam Shepherd’s HEARTLESS last year and later talked about it in the press. To my knowledge, he also attended THE PIANO LESSON at Signature.

  • Love this. Keep at ’em, Ken!

  • ANYTHING that will bring down ticket prices (you said it yourself, this is HARD EARNED cash we are paying) I surelyrecommend.
    You don’t feel, Ken, that perhaps there is a bit too much development going on thanks to Mayor “Boomberg?” and his developer pals. You can barely walk the streets, so many cranes and scaffolding abound, and I am not even mentioning the 2nd Ave. subway project. can our already compromised infrastructure really handle more “skystreets?” while supermarkets and “Mom&Pop” stores disappear? Ok this is not the forum for a critique, agreed, but please do something to make theater more affordable to New Yorker’s, we are getting squeezed out, and bold, brave theater (such as Cummings Macbeth or Testament of Mary) can no longer play Broadway venues. If this involves an ad campaign sponsored by NYC, such as that which appeared after the tragedy of 9/11 then so be it. Broadway has surely do enough to promote NYC, let NYC do something for Broadway!

  • Steven J. Conners says:

    I don’t think anything more could be said, but I’m gonna second the motion and throw in my two cents. First, you have hit it on the head. Without B’Way tax income, tourist spending and employment of thousands of actors and workers the City coffers could be hit very hard. “Bloomy” might try to get the landlords and unions to ease up a bit, but if he’s in love with H’Wood, he should do his history. The overall production rates in H’Wood have grown so out of control that more and more films are being done in Canada, Mexico, Arkansas and more states that welcome the industry and give it breaks. ($$$) You are mounting a show in Portland, not because you like Portland, but because it is financially viable. Many more producers will probably take your lead and put up their shows away from the high costs of NYC before they bring them to the Great White Way. With the climate as it is in City, it just makes sense. Keep up the pressure. —SJC

  • Paula says:

    Applause!, Ken. No, standing ovation!

  • Jennifer says:

    Amen Brother!

  • George Rady says:

    Faint Hope for Nanny Bloomberg – good bye, good riddance. He was just lucky – coming in when the Nation was ready to shovel money at NYC for 9/11 and he got luckier still when the Fed decided to “laundry money” thru Wall Street (QE2) and it won’t be pretty when the Govt is forced to stop printing faux $$$

    No the problem for Theatre is the same problem for EVERY viable business… TAXES and UNIONs. The taxes drive up the cost of doing business – needlessly (except manybe for the politicans and their patrons) – and the unions protect the jobs of the few at the cost of the many… preventing most productions from even getting a chance to prove themselves viable.

    No reason putting one’s faith in politicians… don’t listen to what they say… just watch what they do… their #1 priority is to feed “Leviathan!”


  • George Rady says:

    btw – Bloomy is Jewish – the Country would sooner elect a Black before… Oh, wait… Naaaaw! Bloomy has NONE of Giuliani Good Qualities and DOUBLED down on his negatives… and Giuliani couldn’t get out of the Gate for a National Election.

  • Matt Bell says:

    Totally agree. We just had the opening of King Kong in Melbourne and it was a great event with all our elected officials coming out for the night, but it would be nice if they showed that kind of support for the other major productions!

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