Crosstown Traffic Jam


I knew it was going to be a good week when on Tuesday morning I was driving in, at a light at 64th Street and Park Avenue, and Tom Freston crossed the street right in front of the car.

That had to be a good omen. And it made the long slag through the United Nations- inspired traffic jam a little more entertaining.

Yes, for those of you who found crosstown traffic extra challenging last week, it wasn’t because of the Diversity Week events, however hellish your schedules might have been. And it wasn’t because of Advertising Week in New York City either, although that intersected nicely with the cable events. (Loved the Monday night reception in back of Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s ceremonial home, featuring the Crash Test Dummies, McGruff the Crime Dog and Uptown Girl Christie Brinkley.)

It was a week of moving parts. As it progressed, stories advanced: Comcast’s Steve Burke on Monday talked a little about the Sony-MGM deal at a conference here Monday; John Alchin advanced the ball a bit further for analysts on Tuesday; and, by late Thursday, Comcast officially had a $300 million piece of that action. Inside baseball note: that progression is reflected in our stories about Comcast-Sony-MGM on pages 3, 22 and 54.

The nation of Adelphia was carved into seven autonomous regions for sale purposes, and chairman and CEO Bill Schleyer put on his yellow Century 21 jacket and declared them all beachfront property of the highest order. My favorite is the one that strings Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky with Colorado Springs. Financial players I spoke with seemed to think it’s inevitable that some but not all of the regions will draw acceptable offers, so a smaller Adelphia (or whatever it’s called) could remain standing after all.

The social centerpiece, of course, was Wednesday night’s Walter Kaitz Foundation dinner — a very business-like affair that was a little lower on emotional impact than past editions, but more consistently on message and tight as a drum. The video presentations were stellar. Actual images of the late Walter Kaitz, mostly or wholly absent from past dinners, were a treat in the video introducing his son, Spencer, the dinner’s honoree. The images flowed smoothly from the foundation’s forming to vignettes about what NAMIC, WICT and Emma Bowen are doing with the cash the million-dollar-plus dinner generates today.

My only quibble: 1,400 people made for an impassable crush in the cocktail hour outside the Hilton ballroom. But when the dinner chimes sounded, people were ready to sit, eat and listen.

Here’s my other observation: mobile video is definitely coming. I know that because not one but two people I supped with last week, one a technology vendor and the other a programmer, both had just bought new mobile phones because of their video screens.

On the other hand, they were both guys, so maybe it only means guys still like toys.

I wonder what kind of phone Tom Freston has?