For over a year riders of the , , , & got used to hearing the conductor plug the tourist attraction “Top Of The Rock” when the train approached & stopped at the 47-50 Streets-RockfellerCenter station. If you ever wondered whose idea this was, you only have one person to thank & that is former MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow. According to Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News, the announcement was a direct order from the top which was a favor Mr. Kalikow did as a courtesy for one of the building’s owners.
As you might have noticed, the announcement no longer includes the free plug to the tourist attraction. If you were wondering why, it is because subway managers instructed crews to stop giving the free plug. This came about after Mr. Kalikow was no longer the MTA Chairman. Here is the full article talking about this corporate shilling shenanigan courtesy of the New York Daily News:
Subway conductors no longer are being forced to plug a tourist attraction at Rockefeller Center.
More than a year ago, conductors were given a written directive to mention the Top of the Rock observatory when arriving at the 47th-50th St./Rockefeller Center station on the B, D, F and V lines.
The plug – unpopular with train crews – came about because developer Peter Kalikow, then Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, wanted to extend a “courtesy” to one of the building’s owners, authority officials said after the announcements began in 2006. In late November, not long after Kalikow left the post, subway managers told conductors to stop shilling for the tourist site.
“We applaud the new administration for rectifying this,” said Curtis Tate, a vice president with the Transport Workers Union, which represents conductors and train operators.
“We didn’t think it was appropriate. We pass a lot of landmarks and popular places, and we don’t advertise them or call them out. We don’t announce ‘Joe’s Pizzeria,’ this place or that place.”
Conductors, who are supposed to follow scripted announcements, called the directive unprecedented.
An MTA spokesman in 2006 said that one of the principals at the real estate firm Tishman Speyer initially asked if the entire station could be called Top of the Rock. Kalikow rejected that but offered a compromise, the spokesman said.
To ensure compliance, subway supervisors were even posted in the station to observe conductors.
MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said transit managers are reviewing the policy guiding conductor announcements.
“We want to ensure that the information we provide to our customers is informative and useful without being intrusive,” he said.
Personally I feel that is absolutely disgusting to force conductors to shill for a buddy of a MTA bigwig. This schilling accomplishes nothing but free advertising for a buddy while potential advertising money is being stolen from within. Shenanigans like this are a prime example of what the MTA was like under Kalikow’s watch. While it is wrong to say that nothing was accomplished during his reign, one can not deny that it was filled with many asinine decisions. The theft of advertising money is a decision that clearly falls under the “asinine” category. Good riddance Kalikow, you are not missed!
xoxo Transit Blogger