Back in March, there was a flurry of stories stating that the New York Times' Sunday-only City Section was headed for the dustbin, the victim on the pinched budgets and dwindling cash flow over at the Paper of Record.
The Times, however, refused to comment one way or another. And the City Section just kept appearing, filled, as always, with quirky and interesting tales of Gotham seen on an extremely local level.
Today, however, it can't be found. On the Times website, the City Section used to be fairly easy to locate on a Sunday. Sometimes it won a spot on the Home Page. More commonly, all you had to do was click on N.Y/Region, and it led you to a page where you could spot an obvious link to the City Section. Today, there are just a lot of multimedia slide shows and blog links where the City Section link used to be. I've searched the site far and wide and can't find the section. When I did finally locate the City Section link (by tracing it through a previous City Section story), it led me to last Sunday's line-up of stories. My fear is that May 17 was the final edition of the section.
The City Section was created in 1993, meaning it had a 16-year run—not bad, when all is said and done. I'm sad to see it go. For many years, it was my favorite section of the Sunday paper. It had those flavorful, small-scaled reports that gave you an idea of the kind of town New York really was; it told you the big picture by zooming in on a lot of small pictures.
Since beginning this blog, I have at times been more impatient with the editorial approach of the section than I had been in the past. My feeling was that it was missing the boat the wide-scale demolition of small businesses and the cultural fabric of neighborhoods instigated by the pro-development, pro-wealth, anti-preservation policies of the Bloomberg administration. Still, it was still capable of unearthing wonderful stories of New York's varied cultures and rich history. It's a loss for the paper, and the City. No way around it.