The Branding of New York

A new book documents the re-branding of New York from its days of crime and squalor in the 1970s to today, when Mayor Bloomberg has an appointed chief marketing officer.
September 23, 2008, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The book, which focuses on the 1970s, argues that branding is not new - but not so old, either.

Dr. [Miriam] Greenberg, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California at Santa Cruz... traces the origins of the modern-day branding of New York to the fiscal crisis and urban malaise of the 1970s - a period known for civil unrest, blackouts, strikes, fiscal insolvency, neighborhood abandonment, graffiti-covered subways and soaring crime.

The city's own media industry, which was expanding in this period, covered the chaos, Dr. Greenberg writes, while the city shifted to a postindustrial economy in which 'image-sensitive' factors like bond ratings, tourist attitudes, corporate location decisions and real estate values were increasingly emphasized. She argues that this led to an 'image crisis' fueled by the fiscal and urban crisis of that era - and that, through a process that involved consultants' reports, marketing campaigns, magazine covers and public-private partnerships, the city and its business establishment carefully cultivated an image of New York as a hip, fun and tourist-friendly destination - an image that to this day is carefully protected, almost like a municipal mandate."

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Published on Monday, September 22, 2008 in The New York Times
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