By George Capsis
Unfortunately, given the coronavirus concerns, tonight’s dress rehearsal has been cancelled. Please confirm that you’ve received this! We’re so sorry to deliver such bad news and will be in touch as we learn more about the re-opening of the show. Thank you! Alyssa”
This came just hours before Friday the 13th, when New York closed down for possibly six months! The note was from Sarah Jessica Parker’s secretary, just two hours before the dress rehearsal of their opening of Plaza Suite that very night.
The next morning my daughter Athena called from San Diego, surprised and bemused at seeing on TV that New York was, for the very first time, shutting down—Broadway and the Met closed!
One after another, emails cancelling meeting after meeting came in until I said to myself, “If this goes on for months this will be a very, very, different New York indeed.” And then I thought, “Wait George, you have a newspaper so even if nobody can go to a local meeting they can, if you write about it, read about the issues in WestView.”
So, yes, it certainly looks like for many months we will avoid each other’s virus-suspected company and look to WestView to tell us what is happening in the West Village.
Ah, yes, I can see a need for a newspaper now; but how to finance this Benjamin Franklin anachronism? We have an ever-diminishing number of community newspapers left in New York and I can certainly attest to the fact that they are not profitable businesses, not even break-even businesses. Like PBS, they need subscriptions and donations from their readers. In recent years newspapers have lost $35 billion in ads sales and 50 percent of their staffs.
My guess is, with luck, just a few New York community papers will survive, and I am still trying to figure out how to do that with ours.
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