The party's (kind of) over


New York's business media discovered a tangible consequence of the financial crisis last Friday: no more free drinks at their annual black-tie gala.

Unlike years past, the cocktail hour that preceded the Financial Follies dinner came with a price tag. Mixed drinks and wine cost $11. Water cost $6. The reason? The New York Financial Writers' Association, which holds the Follies at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, could not get anyone to sponsor the $25,000 tab.

"I really think it was a sign of the times," said Jane Reilly, executive manager for the association, which holds the Follies to raise money for 10 $3,000 scholarships and to pay for the group's existence.

The loss of funding of the Follies symbolizes the crisis facing not only Wall Street but many media organizations suffering from falling advertising and, in the case of many magazines and newspapers, circulation.

Some of the financial institutions and the companies that work for them, such as public relations agencies, have disappeared. Those that survived are struggling. A number of magazines have closed or cut back, and many newspapers have reduced business coverage and fired employees.

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