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"Altria" (makers of Virginia Slims, Marlboros, and, mmm, Parliaments, the cigarettes of Jackie Onassis™) is, sort of, packing up and leaving for Europe. Their new focus on the production of tobacco across the Atlantic may destroy the economies of several of those states south of here that we don't go to—and it also means, far more importantly, that the ballet scene in New York is totally screwed, as Altria's $7 million a year in local arts funding is heading for the hills. This marks a brave new era in our city. Will the next generation of young New Yorkers even remember how we once spent our weekends? All those endless nights spent unhappily shuffling off to a friend-of-a-friend's terrible performance piece?

As a Company Leaves Town, Arts Grants Follow [New York Times]