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It was August 1984.

The three newspapermen gathered at an upstairs table in a downtown Syracuse bistro, awaiting a meeting with their new publisher. They enjoyed each other’s company, so it was easy to relax and talk, glancing out the windows at the Hotel Syracuse across the narrow street. They were ignoring the real possibility that this was their last day of employment at the struggling alternative newspaper that they loved and nurtured, and that the man they awaited now owned: the Syracuse New Times.

They knew him by reputation as a businessman and skier—perhaps even a writer like themselves, judging from his ski column in the Post-Standard. What they didn’t know was what his plan would be for the New Times. And for them.

To really understand Art Zimmer, the man who was climbing the stairs to meet them, it would have been helpful if they could have gone back to the beginning, to 1938....

By Art Zimmer

As told to Lois Gridley
Edited by Shirley Zimmer