2010-07-28 – Paul Revere, Rat Zoos – New York Times City Room

Paul Revere, Rat Zoos and the GTL Index
New York Times City Room
July 28, 2010
By J. David Goodman


The sunsetting of a 2002 agreement on community gardens has some advocates and bloggers feeling like Paul Revere.

“The developers are coming! The developers are coming!” a headline on EV Grieve shouted Wednesday morning, in a post promoting a bicycle ride in opposition to the city’s proposed new rules for managing the gardens.

The proposed rules have come under criticism from those who see a watering down of the language in the 2002 agreement between the city and the New York State attorney general’s office that prevents the development of 500 or so community gardens. Where the old rules explicitly state that development will not occur, the new rules include no such language.

“The gardens have really thrived over the last eight years, but the city has to maintain its options,” Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, told my colleague Colin Moynihan. (The parks department has managed many of the city’s community gardens since 2002. NotBored.com sketches a timeline of some key moments in the history of the gardens.)

The so-called Paul Revere Ride, organized by the urban environmental advocacy group Time’s Up, is meant to raise the alarm about the (potential) development of some of these gardens and, the organizers hope, will feature many anachronistic tricornes and other nods to revolutionary Americana. Michael Green at Bike Blog NYC and others have been putting the word out, a digital echo effect that Mr. Revere could have only dreamed of. Flatbush Gardener encourages readers to submit a comment ahead of an Aug. 10 public hearing. In short: The gardeners are coming!

One reason community gardeners should be applauded: keeping empty lots from becoming “rat zoos.” As NYC the Blog documents, the same cannot be said for Collect Pond Park in Lower Manhattan.

Also downtown, an invasion of a different sort occurred on Wall Street on Tuesday as the cast of MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore” rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange.

The event might have passed without additional fanfare — that is, apart from the global financial cringe at seeing Snooki momentarily at the center of the world’s capital markets — had the Runnin’ Scared writer Foster Kamer not noticed an interesting trading anomaly: A (purely hypothetical) index fund based on gym equipment, tanning and laundry products companies had an unusually strong day. These just happen to be the necessary elements of the Jersey Shore daily ritual.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But the performance of these GTL stocks attracted the attention of CNBC, albeit tongue firmly in cheek: “If you bought the GTL Index yesterday, in anticipation of the Jersey Shore hitting the NYSE, you had a very good day,” John Carney of CNBC.com wrote. “Get out there and start fist-pumping.”

Speaking of television, Lewis Grossberger at True/Slant believes he has pinned down the fictional abode of Don Draper. The newly single ad man at the center of AMC’s “Mad Men” must live at the anonymous yet classy high rise at 136 Waverly Place. The building gives off exactly the right feel, Mr. Grossberger explains. “I just knew.”

Around the Web from link to link; today’s chatter in the New York City blogosphere. Have a tip ? E-mail NewYorkOnline@nytimes.com or send a Twitter message to @jdavidgoodman.