The latest New York franchise to hit the Gulf: T Magazine

First there were the Abu Dhabi campuses of NYU and the Guggenheim. Then there was the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. And now, the latest institution of New York City culture  franchising itself to the Gulf is the Qatar edition of T Magazine, the New York Times' style magazine.

The Arabic-English edition will be published by Oryx, the Qatari publishing house that also put out Qatar Today, Qatar Al Yom, GLAM and Woman Today, and will "combined local and regional features with topical in-depth coverage, photographs and commentary from T to create a unique bilingual magazine."

T is -- or was, the last time I was around to touch it in the flesh -- a heavy, glossy, sexy thing, put out 15 times a year. When it launched, there was some grumbling about the NYT debasing its brand by dabbling in the supposedly vapid world of luxury and fashion. But since then, the financial stakes have risen for NYT: such quibbles seem so 2007. And T has proven itself, even as its sibling publication, NYT's Sunday sports magazine Play, has folded. Not to mention that T has a truly fabulous website, best known for its addictive Screen Tests with stars discussing. (I've always been partial to his one with Natalie Portman)

The tie-up makes sense because T is essentially a vessel to hold luxury advertising, and Qatar has the highest GPD per capita in the world. But we do wonder: what are all those local writers going to write about? The inaugural issue has a review of the art scene, which is significant thanks to the stunning Museum of Islamic Art, but once you step outside its doors, you're in...Doha.