Saturday, April 1, 2023

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Will Be Taken Over By Consortium of The City’s Real Estate Families and The New York City Partnership

Whatever "floats your boat"-  Will the public be happy with big real estate industry families and the New York City Partnership taking over the Macy's Parade?

The Macy’s parade must go on!  It’s a tradition.  Just like “The Show Must Go On” tradition.  In fact, it’s the same tradition.  In the early 1990's when Macy’s Department store first filed for bankruptcy, one of the first things the bankruptcy court judge clarified was that the Macy’s parade would still be held.  In fact, later as Macy’s, through its acquisition by Federated was coming out of bankruptcy that bankruptcy judge, Burton R. Lifland, wanted a guarantee “etched in some form of stone” that Macy's traditional Thanksgiving Day parade would continue.  And its Fourth of July fireworks too!  The parade is viewed as an essential “gift to the people of New York,” a matter of vital “public interest.”

The Macy’s parade, approaching its centennial has been held every year since 1924, except for two years during World War II when there was a helium shortage.

In the 1990's the decisions were being made reactively to quell the suspense by issuing assuring  announcements that the parade would continue despite any financial difficulties on Macy’s part.  Now action is being taken prospectively and proactively so that the city will never be in suspense about the holding of the parade again.  A group of real estate families is banding together and forming a working alliance with the Partnership Fund for New York City to take over the parade so as to assure that the parade will continue no matter what happens to Macy’s.

The real estate families banding together to take this responsibility with the partnership are the Ross family (Related Companies), the Roth family and the Zenkendorfs.  Speaking for the Real Estate parade families in an interview, Steve Roth of Vornado said the following:

You have to be looking ahead on these issues and we have been looking at Macy’s with a caretaking eye about the future for sometime now.  And the future does not always stay the same; it can shift a lot.

In 2007 our family members, Stephen M. Ross of Related Companies and Steven Roth of Vornado Realty Trust were negotiating with Macy’s to improve the prospects for the future by, abandoning its landmark building so that we could build for it a new home in a state-of-the-art mall on 33rd street, just across from its 34th street location.  That was to allow Macy’s to put behind it the drawbacks of age and inefficiencies associated with the musty old hodgepodge structure it’s been in for far too long.  It’s much the same reasoning as applies to why we advocate the sale with real estate project rebuilding of our libraries.

That sale and mall creation deal is not what happened in 2007.  It may have been a good thing.  The days of big brick and mortar retail stores may be numbered.  The ultimate future for Macy’s increasingly looks like maybe none at all.  Now, as is also inevitably pointed out (also with libraries-while we are on the subject), we have Amazon.  Also, it’s to be remembered that Macy’s is exactly in the vicinity of our Vornado Penn Station redevelopment rezoning plan to replace the existing neighborhood with new towers.  Those will be Class A office towers extending the gorgeous glass skyscrapers of the Hudson Yards complex to the east around Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.  As you know, this will be done in the name of honoring history with a faithful recreation of the fabled old Penn Station that was destroyed with a beautiful rebuilding to summon it back from history’s graveyard.

The real estate families thought about acting on a broader more collective base through REBNY, the Real Estate Board of New York, but acting through such an association would have limited opportunities for swiftly capitalizing on opportunities arising in the future and confuse claims of branding and ownership.   Mr Roth said that they would nonetheless be looking out for everyone’s real estate interests: For instance, Broadway, with its theater ownership chains and the hotels filled by performance hungry tourists, are a big part of the city real estate scene.  The parade annually features enticing Broadway Show performances as a big part of what it offers and will continue to do so.

The broadening of who is represented with the new management and responsibility for the parade, and ensuring that the public interest will be represented, will come from the signing on of the Partnership Fund for New York City and its participation in the events.  Next year and for the immediately foreseeable future the parade will be retitled as the “Macy’s and More Parade.”

Why is Macy’s turning the parade over to this set of new interests?  While the parade obligation can be viewed as an expensive liability, it is also can, and does, make money.  But who knows how much it actually makes or loses when factored into Macy’s overall profit and loss statements?  Speculation is that the transfer of the parade is a side deal with respect to some other real estate transaction Macy’s has been involved in.  As observed in a Citizens Defending Library post noting that Jeff Gennette- Jeffrey Gennette, named president of Macy's, Inc., in March 2014, was on the board of the Brooklyn Public Library- Macy’s is:

a player when it comes to real estate.   It sold it's Downtown Brooklyn Fulton store (the former Abraham and Strauss) plus parking facility to Tishman Speyer summer 2015 while signing a major Long Island City lease.  In June 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported (similarly Fortune and Reuters) how Macy’s “owns some of the world’s most valuable property and is being urged by investors to unlock that value.”  That language sounds strikingly similar to that being used about libraries, and the Wall Street Journal article noted how such a move could be harmful to Macy’s core retail mission.

Roth said that letting the public be assured, starting now, about the real estate industry’s continued shepherdship of the parade will probable help acclimate the public and quell dissent if there is any subsequent shutdown of Macy’s 34th Street and takeover of its property for real estate development in the future.

Under the new plans, the real estate industry families are looking to the new Co-Chair of the Partnership Fund for New York City, Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla, to serve as the new Grand Marshall of the parade and its official public relations face.  Roth said this should boost the advertising profile of the parade since “Pfizer and its sister pharma companies already buy 70% of the advertising putting news on the national airwaves.”

Pfizer head Bourla will be Grand Marshal of future parades

NYS Attorney General Tish James is looking at whether there could be antitrust violations involved in the new arrangements.  It may be that she is not impressed by what’s being proposed, and it is not clear that she was serious in how she responded being told about Dr. Bourla’s role in the parade.  She said:

Bourla is a veterinarian. There are a lot of animals in the Thanksgiving day parade, not just The Care Bears, but a whole slew.  I’m sure that Dr. Bourla will be making sure that they are all anatomically correct.  After all, somebody heading Pfizer shouldn’t be involved in selling fantasies.
Roth said that the future parade would promote the glories of New York real estate development more directly.  One plan underway is for there to be a balloon float of the beloved Empire State Building tower.  It will point (it will have to pass through the street somewhat lying on its side) to a “star in the sky,” which will be another float proceeding ahead of it, a bigger grander version of the Macy’s star. . . .

. . . But this new float will be one of the parade’s most attention getting new technological innovations.  Using holographic technology and an interior projection capability the float will be able to transform itself, back and forth, before the spectators’ eyes: One moment it will be the 102-story 1931 Art Deco skyscraper pointing to a star, and the next moment it will be a Pfizer Covid Shot needle chasing after the shape of a spiked Covid virus ball. 

Proof of concept prototype rendering

Next year’s parade will also have several new floats to promote Amazon.

The future of the Macy’s parade having been determined, the future of Macy’s fireworks is still being worked on.  It won’t be handled the same way as the parade.  Started in 1976, as the nation's bicentennial was being celebrated, the fireworks run up an expensive bill.

Dr. Albert Bourla and Pfizer are apparently ready to provide the answer.  It not just based on the fact that Pfizer is awash in cash.  In his own interview Bourla said:

The annual fireworks, the explosions, the smell of gunpowder propellant in the air, its accompaniment by big band marching music,  obviously works supremely well as its intended promotion of our military, how our soldiers fought to achieve this nation’s independence and how, now, how our military works hard to assure that other countries around the world are run by the Democratic or otherwise better regimes we think they should be run by.

The military has tons of money.  It’s utterly appropriate that the military is offering to work with Pfizer to fund this annual event.  By this time, everybody should know that Pfzier has a lot of experience working with the U.S. military and being a conduit for joint operations.  Pfizer’s Covid vaccine shots (like Moderna’s) were financed as countermeasures by the Pentagon and by USAID (a not officially acknowledged extension of the CIA).  It helped our business tremendously that the gain of function research to create a Covid virus was also funded by the Pentagon and by USAID and makes complete sense that all of this was done at the same time going back to 2013. . .

People know and understand that the contract we signed with the United Sates to deliver the Covid shot countermeasures was signed with the Department of Defense as a military procurement contract under the “Other transaction authority” associated with DOD contracts ( OTAs) that exempt the arrangements from that standard laws that could hamper military operations.  The military, for instance, made itself available to handle the logistics of distribution of our shots. And we are good at working with our government agencies when things need to be classified as national security issues.  That's why it was no problem for us to be involved on the inside when, in March 2020 was the decision made to classify Covid information as a national security secret.

If nothing else, let’s give us credit for this: We’ve worked closely with Tony Fauci and he’s the head honcho in charge of bioweapons research funded by the Pentagon, I mean since 2002 when the Pentagon started by funneling $2.2 billion through NIH after the PATRIOT Act, Fauci, with the 68% raise he got from the Pentagon for that purpose, has been the highest paid official in government, the highest ever.
Professor of Law Ana Santos Rutschman, whose name was offered to bolster Bourla’s credibility about Pfizer’s close relations with the military,  confirmed that the DOD’s contracting mechanism, known as “other transaction authority,” or OTA, allows the department to purchase items or services thus enabling the government to move faster.  Moreover, she assured that “DOD is always very involved in vaccine R&D,” so such use of the OTA’s is hardly unprecedented.  She said that deployed American troops must be understood to be inevitably and always at risk in their service to the country when necessary, which is the reason for the military to be involved in such R&D.

Expecting these financing arrangements may go through, a new corporation, the Improved Truth Corporation is being set up to enter OTAs with the military and serve as the conduit for funds.  Wulf Matador, new president of the Improved Truth Corporation, says it is, appropriately, getting the seed money to get quickly underway from the Koch Brother Foundation for Improving Truth and the George Soros Truth Improvement Foundation

Mayor Eric Adams will be holding a rare Saturday press conference today, April 1, 2023, with Boula, Roth and the other involved participants to more fully brief the press and answer questions about the status of the plan for the parade and the fireworks' future.