Man, oh man.
When reporters attended the Manhattan Institute’s Urban Innovators Award ceremonies at the Union Club, things were supposed to be well and good. Members of the press were invited to see Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduce this year’s award winner, Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Then the Union Club decided to kick the journalists out… just because they could. They implied that they could have them arrested too! According to one of the booted journalists, the New York Sun‘s Grace Rauh:
After guests were served a lunch of roasted potatoes, stuffed chicken, and mixed vegetables, staff members of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, which was hosting the event and publicized it to members of the press, told reporters they needed to leave at the behest of club officials.
“The police are right outside. If you don’t leave we’re going to call them in,” a woman who appeared to work at the club, but would not give her name, said as she blocked the door to the speech.
When reporters from five publications, including The New York Sun, later left the building, there were no police outside.
Even though the Union Club has a no-press policy, they seem to have David Patrick Columbia there at times. Mayor’s office spokesman John Gallagher said that the decision to kick out invited guests was due to Union Club policy, “not the policy of this office or the Manhattan Institute.”
UPDATE: Over at The Observer, Jason Horowitz has more info:
After the mayor arrived, employees of the Union Club, where the event was held, began purging the room, plucking reporters from their seats around white-clothed tables. The Club’s explanations ranged from improper attire (no jeans or sneakers) to the citing of strict privacy policies for members.
Representatives of the New York Times, the New York Post, the Daily News, and The New York Sun were all removed or barred entry. (Later, a Manhattan Institute representative said that Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund and two Economist correspondents, who were all well dressed, left of their own accord. Mort Zuckerman, the publisher of the Daily News, was not asked to leave and stayed in his seat at a table with Mr. Bush.)
“It’s a private club not a public club,” said a club official who refused to give his name. “I’m calling the police.”
(Image via The Upper East Side Book)