New York vs. Boston

There is nothing worse than some quirky turn of events after deadline to throw off the storyline in a piece with a broader focus that nonetheless grabs at some smaller kernels to help make a point. In that respect, the Red Sox came through big for Boston Globe reporter Neil Swidey by dropping three of four games to the hated Yankees.

The familiar sinking feeling that followed is a perfect backdrop for Swidey’s 5,000-word plus Sunday magazine article that recounts Gotham’s dominance over us in culture, finance, and (notwithstanding an aberrant blip or two last decade) baseball. The problem, Swidey says, is New York is now looking to eat our lunch in the one area where we have long claimed top billing: intellectual firepower and the knowledge-based economy that it has given rise to.

The most recent — and perhaps most threatening — evidence for that:  A partnership between Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology that was selected late last year to develop an engineering campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, backed by a city grant of land on the island in the East River and $100 million in public infrastructure investment.

There are data points that suggest the NYCTech Campus is part of a bigger trend. In venture capital investment for the first quarter of this year, Boston ranked second to Silicon Valley, garnering 17 percent of all investments. But New York, Swidey writes, was right on its heels, with 15 percent.  And in terms of the feeder system for all those venture capital-fueled industries, though we claim the highest percentage of college students of any major city in the country, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, through an aide, made sure Swidey knew that New York has more college students (664,114) than Boston has residents.  

All the trend lines give off an ominous feel. Dan Huttenlocher, the founding dean of Cornell’s new tech grad school on Roosevelt Island, tries to take the edge off. He tells Swidey that rather than compete with each other, New York and Boston could develop a sort of I-95 alliance and jointly compete with Silicon Valley.  And A-Rod and Varitek could make-up and be friends one day, too.

                                                                                                                                                    –MICHAEL JONAS


Gov. Deval Patrick signed a $32.5 billion state budget. He made few major changes to the Legislature’s spending plan, though Patrick’s veto of authorization to keep Taunton State Hospital operating met with immediate criticism from lawmakers representing the community, who vowed to try to override his move. The Herald zeroes in on his veto of the EBT card reform and the requirement for proof of residency for a car registration.

Dorchester state Rep. Carlos Henriquez was arrested over the weekend on domestic assault and kidnapping charges.

State Treasurer Steve Grossman talks Lottery, state budget, and his own political future with Keller@Large.


Bridgewater town councilors are upset that the former town administrator quietly gave generous new contracts to the police and fire chiefs and the town accountant without the council’s knowledge before leaving in April to take a similar job in Hanover.

Cape towns are looking for new uses for former school buildings.


The Mashpee Wampanoag have not ruled out making a bid for one of the three commercial licenses for casinos if they fail to come to an agreement with the state for a license under the tribal set-aside by the July 31 deadline.


Wedding bells rang over the weekend for US Rep. Barney Frank, who married his longtime partner Jim Ready in Newton. Gov. Deval Patrick officiated.

The next big thing for the Supreme Court is the same-sex marriage issue stemming from a ruling in Boston’s federal Appeals Court that declared denial of federal benefits to married gay couples unconstitutional.


Former Democratic state rep Barbara L’Italien kicks off her campaign to reclaim the House seat she lost to Republican Rep. Jim Lyons in Andover, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

The American Spectator urges Mitt Romney to admit the Massachusetts health insurance mandate was a mistake. Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner backpedals from his Americans “probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney” confession.

President Obama plans to push for a one-year extension of the middle class tax cut, AP reports (via WBUR). The New York Times says it’s a direct volley aimed to box the GOP into an election year corner.

James Carville has co-written a new book: It’s the middle class, stupid! The Daily Beast has a report.

Romney wants to allow private lenders back into the student loan business, a move some say will do more to help lenders than students.

The Berkshire Eagle riffs on Gov. Deval Patrick’s “the American Dream is up for grabs” comment, and agrees with the governor that the candidates for US Senate in Massachusetts have yet to tackle that issue.


A glut of Maine soft-shell lobsters has dropped the price below the average per pound cost of most deli meat.


The arbitrator in a contract dispute between the Andover School Committee and the teachers union sides with the committee on the need for teachers to spend more time in the classroom, calling the union out of touch, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute says America has too many teachers and they aren’t teaching that well.


Health care reform may no longer be the drag on President Obama’s standing that it once was, reports National Journal.


A Globe editorial pans the idea of selling naming rights to MBTA subway stations, calling it a cheapening of the shared public realm. Meanwhile, the Patriot Ledger called T officials “insensitive” to the region for indefinitely shutting down the Quincy Center garage with little notice to users or city officials.


Two of the three Democratic candidates for state Senate in Salem oppose Rep. John Keenan’s measure giving special treatment to the company seeking to install a gas-fired power plant at the now-shuttered coal plant in town, the Salem News reports.

Land-based wind farms are expanding rapidly, the Globe reports, and not encountering nearly the resistance being churned up by their offshore brethren. The Wall Street Journal, however, reports that wind turbine projects face a taxing headwind.


Jail shift in California is making waves, the Wall Street Journal reports.


Dan Kennedy runs a memo from a GateHouse Media official outlining their reasons for dropping the contract with Journatic, which hires Filipino writers to produce local content with fake bylines for newspapers cutting staff, and turning to their own in-house team to do similar work. There’s a fascinating back story on Journatic at the Poynter Institute website to bring you up to speed in the issue. The Journatic turmoil provides a backdrop for a New York Times piece on why newspapers are running out of time in an effort to adapt to a new digital reality.

A Chronicle of Philanthropy opinion piece urges philanthropists to invest in local daily newspapers as a way to save democracy.