Monday, November 9, 2009
"At first glance, the term 'jazz rabbi' might seem incongruous, but the recent installation of Greg Wall, a well-known jazz musician, as the rabbi at the Sixth Street Community Synagogue, a modern Orthodox congregation in the East Village, shows that the porkpie and the yarmulke are not necessarily mutually exclusive." (The New York Times)
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The Times does its "A Night Out With" feature this week with Penn Badgley, one of the "Gossip Girl" cast members. Other Music starts the night. Then!
He stopped first at the John Varvatos store on the Bowery that replaced CBGB. After poring over dress shirts and vintage stereo equipment that cost about the same, Mr. Badgley declared, "At least they didn’t turn it into a bank."
A few blocks east, he arrived at Mars Bar, the grimy dive where tourists go in search of authentic punks and authentic punks go to start drinking at midday. He seemed unsure of his choice of bars ("I think it's closed," he said), but then he threw open its front door and entered.
A Sid Vicious cover of "Something Else" was blaring on the jukebox, and the narrow bar was crowded with colorful patrons. "I think we're wearing the same sneakers," Mr. Badgley said, pointing to a barfly in a patchwork of tattered winter gear and brown Nikes. (The woman with him was similarly attired, wearing a hula hoop as an accessory.)
As Mr. Badgley reached across to grab a watery Bud Light, he accidentally nudged someone with a tattoo of a revolver on his neck and quickly apologized. "That's all right, brother," the man said. "You’re beautiful-looking."
His girlfriend, tall and thin with her hair in long bangs, clearly recognized Mr. Badgley but acted as if she didn’t care. "I think it's completely ridiculous," she said of "Gossip Girl." "I don’t really watch it 'cause it's not my scene."
And the piece ends on this note:
As Mr. Badgley left the bar, Black Sabbath’s "Fairies Wear Boots" was playing. "I've found that people are cool if you don't treat them like jerks," he said.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Did you see the lead to the piece in the Times today titled, City’s Poor Still Distrust Banks?:
Today, despite a bank branch on seemingly every corner throughout the city, the article notes:
In 1986, when the Lower East Side had just one bank in a 100-square block area...
Today, despite a bank branch on seemingly every corner throughout the city, the article notes:
In Manhattan, long the world’s banking capital, 12 percent of households still do not have a bank account... 91,100 Manhattan households feel more comfortable hiding their savings in closets, in pillows — even in brown paper lunch bags. They rely on check-cashers and corner bodegas for cash and post offices for money orders, even as banks are more accessible than ever: the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reports 682 banks in the borough in 2008, compared with 521 in 2004 — a more than 30 percent increase.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Been so busy eating sausage-biscuits-and-gravy pizza and deep-fried mac-and-cheese, I forgot to note this Times trends piece from Thursday.
In truth this get-up was pretty much the unvarying male uniform last summer also, but this year an unexpected element has been added to the look, and that is a burgeoning potbelly one might term the Ralph Kramden..
Too pronounced to be blamed on the slouchy cut of a T-shirt, too modest in size to be termed a proper beer gut, developed too young to come under the heading of a paunch, the Ralph Kramden is everywhere to be seen lately, or at least it is in the vicinity of the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, the McCarren Park Greenmarket and pretty much any place one is apt to encounter fans of Grizzly Bear.
What the trucker cap and wallet chain were to hipsters of a moment ago, the Kramden is to what my colleague Mike Albo refers to as the “coolios” of now. Leading with a belly is a male privilege of long standing, of course, a symbol of prosperity in most cultures and of freedom from anxieties about body image that have plagued women since Eve
Friday, August 7, 2009
Posts that I never got around to posting: Random passage from Where Thin People Roam, and Sometimes Even Eat
In the Times:
Leaving with a bottle of spring water was Gail Zweigenthal, a former editor of Gourmet magazine, where she had to balance Manhattan’s twin obsessions — eating well and looking good. “I exercise so I can eat,” said Ms. Zweigenthal (5-foot-3 ½, 114; like many residents of the Upper East Side, she was quicker to give her weight than her age).
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A look at the different cuisines of Seventh Street between Avenue A and First Avenue. “Even though you cannot deny that the East Village is a little more upscale,” said Suzanne Wasserman, director of the Gotham Center for New York City History, who specializes in the history of local food vendors, “these are businesses that are not chains. They’re small businesses, and small businesses are what make neighborhoods unique.” (The New York Times)
[Photo: Rob Bennett for The New York Times]
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
No one needs any more signs that the economy is in miserable shape. Nonetheless, one particular sign caught our attention. It was taped to the front window of a no-name clothing outlet store in Greenwich Village, on Bleecker Street just east of Seventh Avenue South. A clothing store in Greenwich Village advertised 20 percent off for customers whose names 'made the Madoff’s List.' Few have taken advantage of it. 'Madoff’s Victims Sale,' it said. 'Take an extra 20 percent off if your name made the Madoff’s list." (The New York Times)
Sunday, March 29, 2009
“Probably somebody who’s relocating would still be surprised today: ‘This is the size of apartment I get for this price?’ ” said Caroline Bass, an associate broker with Citi Habitats. “But New Yorkers think this is great right now. Maybe you appreciate it more if you spend more time here.” (The New York Times)
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Hasn't this story been done already?....From the Times today: As Hard Times Loom, Will New York’s Streets Get Meaner?
If a shrinking economy, soaring jobless claims and a troubled financial sector are not angst-producing enough, the threat of increased crime is leading many conversations toward a nagging and persistent question: Will the bad old days of record numbers of murders and ubiquitous street muggings be far behind?
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, for his part, said he has heard this all before.
He said similar worries were being voiced as he took over in 2002 for a second stint as the city’s top police official: Things were headed in the wrong direction, the economy was devastated after Sept. 11, 2001, and there were predictions that crime would increase.
Instead, overall crime has dropped nearly 30 percent in the last seven years, he said, and in 2007 the lowest number of killings was recorded since the city started keeping what it considers reliable records, about four decades ago.
“There’s a lot of predictions that crime is going to go up as a result of the economic crisis,” Mr. Kelly said on Friday...
“The fact of the matter is that hasn’t happened,” Mr. Kelly said. “The fact is we’re down 14 percent, and we’re down in every category across the city.”
Hmm, well...I'm sure this story will be revisited in another month or so.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
The Times has a piece on how hoteliers often turn to movies for design ideas.
For his largest Manhattan property — the Bowery Hotel, in the East Village — Mr. MacPherson turned to an even more surprising source: Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” (1980), a horror film that takes place in the Overlook, a fictional hotel in the Rocky Mountains. At the Bowery, “There’s a bit of the feeling of the Overlook — hopefully without the creepiness,” he said. “The idea is to create something that is old and grand and hopefully slightly bigger and more storied than its guests and owners.”
Mr. MacPherson relied on another Kubrick film, “A Clockwork Orange” (1971), when he chose elements for the Bowery’s bellman uniforms, which evoke the film’s violent hooligans.
Though the literal associations with the film might elude visitors, they will probably know that they are someplace visually distinctive, Mr. MacPherson said. “It’s very much as if you’re building a set and everyone becomes a character in the film you’re making there,” he said.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
In the East Village, local cuisine is quickly whittling down to a single food: pig. With new pork-bun outlets and ramen shops, porchetta and hot dog specialists, plus bacon peanut brittle as a local bar snack (at The Redhead), the area is all bellied up.(New York Times)
Speaking of pigs, is Porky's still open? Good times!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
From the Times today: the fourth and final article in a series examining the workings of New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. Today's title: Preservation and Development, Engaged in a Delicate Dance
[S]ome preservationists and politicians assert that, under a mayoral administration that has emphasized new construction — from behemoth stadiums to architecturally bold condo towers — big developers have too often been allowed to lead on the dance floor. Some accuse the landmarks commission, charged with guarding the city’s architectural heritage, of backing off too readily when important developers’ interests are at stake.
Monday, December 1, 2008
The Times continues to pummel, er, examine the work of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
And now, part three in the paper's series: churches.
Houses of worship are among the most sensitive issues facing the landmarks commission. Mandating that a church be preserved can not only impose a heavy financial burden on a congregation, it also raises the specter of state interference with religious freedom. So the commission has been especially loath to take on churches or synagogues that don’t want to be designated.
According to the article, one of the most striking cases that the commission declined to hear was that of St. Brigid’s on Avenue B at Eighth Street.
Previous Landmark Commission articles here.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
From the real estate section in the Times today:
THE duplex five-bedroom apartment on Attorney Street that Daniel Vosovic calls home seems ready-made for a television sitcom. There’s the location, on the of-the-moment Lower East Side, with its mix of detox juice bars and Old World knishes, runway models and streetwise misfits. There are Mr. Vosovic’s four roommates, who work in disparate industries — cupcakes, high fashion, education and sofas.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Is it Wednesday already? I'm still catching up on reading from last week, such as this terrific Q-and-A with renowned architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable in the Sunday Times. The 87-year-old has a new book coming out called "On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change." She's interviewed in the Times by Phillip Lopate. Here's a smidgen of the Q-and-A:
Lopate: From my perspective, there’s been a healthy shift from seeing cities as basically dying to essentially buoyant, yet still requiring help.
Huxtable: We’ve seen a reversal. Years ago there was white flight to the suburbs, the inner cities were crime-ridden, there was a lot of poverty. We still have poverty, but people started moving back to the cities.
Lopate: There’s also been a shift in attitude regarding density.
Huxtable: Yes, urban renewal tried to get rid of density. It was viewed as concentrating poverty and disease. Now there’s the awareness that density is more energy-efficient and less destructive of the environment than urban sprawl.
Lopate: I take it you’re for density but not for overbuilding.
Huxtable: How can I be against density? I’m a New Yorker! I grew up with density. Still, in a way I’m glad for this downturn in the economy. Because so much bad stuff was being built. This will give us a chance to think, to take stock. I am so weary of these stupid alliances between developers and cultural institutions in which the cultural institution is given a block of space and the developers overbuild the rest and make an enormous profit.
The Museum of Modern Art has become a real estate operation. I admit a certain amount of nostalgia: I remember a street that was once one of the best streets in New York, 53rd Street. Watching it change over the years, I can’t help but view their new Nouvel tower as the last destructive nail.
[Image via pantufla on Flickr]
Sunday, October 19, 2008
In this week's Habitats in the Times, a couple struggles to find the right apartment for their unique furniture, particularly an antique mahogany table she was going to inherit from her grandmother:
It certainly wasn’t going to look right in one of those swaths of raw space near St. Marks Place or in any of the other 138 spaces, downtown and uptown, that the couple checked out in the course of a year in the mid-1990s.
The Sheraton-style table required just the right setting, as did the circa 1790 Hepplewhite serpentine-front sideboard. So, apparently, did Ms. Houlgrave, 46, a model who has worked for Glamour, Vogue and Self magazines, and who has a second career as a wedding and fashion photographer.
“I didn’t want to live in the stinky East Village,” she said with characteristic directness. “It was so unattractive. I am from Richmond, Virginia.”
The couple now lives on the Upper West Side.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
David Leonhardt writing in the Times today:
In 1929, Meyer Mishkin owned a shop in New York that sold silk shirts to workingmen. When the stock market crashed that October, he turned to his son, then a student at City College, and offered a version of this sentiment: It serves those rich scoundrels right.
A year later, as Wall Street’s problems were starting to spill into the broader economy, Mr. Mishkin’s store went out of business. He no longer had enough customers. His son had to go to work to support the family, and Mr. Mishkin never held a steady job again.
Frederic Mishkin — Meyer’s grandson and, until he stepped down a month ago, an ally of Ben Bernanke’s on the Federal Reserve Board — told me this story the other day, and its moral is obvious enough. Many people in Washington fear that the country is starting to spiral into a terrible downturn. And to their horror, they see the public, and many members of Congress, turning into modern-day Meyer Mishkins, more interested in punishing Wall Street than saving the economy.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Margot Gayle, who marshaled shrewdness, gentility and spunk to save the Victorian cast-iron buildings of New York — using a little magnet as a demonstration device — in a crusade that led to the preservation of historic SoHo, died Sunday at her home in Manhattan. She was 100. (New York Times)
[Photo: Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times]
Monday, September 29, 2008
Yesterday, Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote a piece suggesting some dreadful buildings that should be torn down in NYC. This afternoon, City Room put the question out to its readers: Which New York building would you demolish?
So far, there has been a tasteless suggestion of the World Trade Center...all of Third Avenue in Manhattan...and the "astonishingly ugly Blue building on the Lower East Side. Who in their sane minds could have put up something as hideous as that."
[Photo by everystreetinmanhattan via Flickr]