Selling Condoms or Pet Food? An Unexpected Bible of Million-Dollar Opportunities

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tags: New York, business history, City Record

The first issue of The City Record, on June 24, 1873, listed a procurement notice for a steamboat engine for the Department of Charities and Corrections.

A more recent notice, from 2017, listed the purchase of $4,379,000 worth of condoms and lubrication packets as part of a city public health campaign.

In between lies the vast history of the city and of The City Record, a bottomless trove of municipal minutiae and legally required announcements that calls itself the “Official Journal of the City of New York.”

While most New Yorkers have never read, or even heard of, this city-published paper, it is indispensable to many city officials and to those seeking city contracts.

“This is the bible of doing business with the City of New York,” said Eli Blachman, the paper’s longtime editor. “If you want to bid for a city contract, it’s like the lottery,” he said. “You’ve got to be in it to win it.”

The paper carries no outside advertisements or conventional news, no photographs or color pages.

“We’re black and white because the news is black and white — what is there to color?” Mr. Blachman said.

Read entire article at Washington Post

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