Showing posts with label recession. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recession. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Signs of the coming Depression?

Two times in two different locations in the East Village...I saw someone walking down the street blowing on a harmonica. One more sighting and this is enough for a trends/lifestyles piece in the Times.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Signs from the recession: At Angelina Cafe

Avenue A near Third Street.


Our old friend Esquared passed along information about the Modern Day Depression-Era Fundraiser at the City Reliquary in Williamsburg...Like everyone else, they're having a tough time paying rent...Anyway, what did we miss from the fundraiser this past Friday? Here's how they described some of the night's activities:

Pie the Landlord! That’s right: the City Reliquary will have our very own cigar-chomping, unshaven, smelly Landlord demanding our rent! Tell him where to shove it with a whipped cream pie in his face!

Hobo Photos a Go-Go: Take your picture in our hand painted carnival sign. Remember the Recession of ’09 with a photographic keepsake!

Oil drum fires: (and more modern propane heaters) to keep you warm while you chill in the cold. All fires will be regulated carefully by official FDNY supervision!

DIY Fingerless Gloves Table! Because nothing says Depression-chic than rockin’ a pair of fingerless gloves!

Prohibition-era Beer provided by the Brooklyn Brewery and Depression-era “Rum” Punch provided by the City Reliquary at contemporary-recession era prices.

What do you think?

A) Hey, we're all fucked, might as well make light of it!
B) As funny as Hugh Jackman's recession opening number at the Oscars! (Not that I watched it.)
C) As insulting as Hugh Jackman's recession opening number at the Oscars! (Not that I watched it.)
D) Stupid
E) All the above

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Signs of the times: Mass for employment

On the fourth Wednesday of each month (such as today!), the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer on East Third Street near Avenue A has the following special service...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wall Street afterlife: "Because even sad clowns are a hoot at a birthday party"

From the Times today:

This week’s news that the city plans to spend $45 million to retrain jobless Wall Street executives may, understandably, have been met with less than sobs of gratitude in that demographic. After all, as the happily divorced like to say, stick a fork in a toaster once, it’s an accident. But a second time?

We're with you. And so writer Michael Wilson suggests some heh-heh suggestions for former Wall Street executives. Such as!

-- Lead walking tours amid the ruins of your past life

-- Become a butler

-- Sell cigars

-- Shred documents

-- Entertain small children

Because even sad clowns are a hoot at a birthday party, said Gary Pincus, owner of the Send In the Clowns Entertainment Corporation, which plans parties in the metropolitan region.

“We get a lot of calls from Wall Street guys who are looking to work with us,” he said. “They want to change their careers. I told them to call me when our season gets going in March.”

The party racket is more than just balloon animals and squirting flowers. “Selling parties, running parties, everything that goes with the party,” he said. “A Wall Street guy could come over and do magic shows for the kids, play musical games with the kids, do face painting with the kids.” There are positions for disc jockeys, stilt-walkers and mechanical bull servicemen. And, of course, the marquee job.

“We’ll hire clowns from Wall Street,” he said. “No problem.”

Friday, February 20, 2009

Report: In this recession, not even beer is recession-proof

This chart makes my head hurt. Still! According to, who broke this story:

As you can see, there has generally not been much of a relationship between alcohol purchases and changes in GDP -- the correlation is essentially zero. Nor have alcohol purchases historically been any kind of lagging or leading indicator.

But something was very, very different in the fourth quarter of 2008. Sales of alcohol for off-premises consumption were down by 9.3 percent from the previous quarter, according to the Commerce Department. This is absolutely unprecedented: the largest previous drop had been just 3.7 percent, between the third and fourth quarters of 1991.

Beer accounts for almost all of the decrease, with revenues off by almost 14 percent. Wine and spirits were much more stable, with sales volumes declining by 1.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

And thank you to my beleaguered intern for finding this information. I owe him a beer. Or wine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The challenges of making the Sex and the City sequel "recession-friendly"

US Weekly has this press release from Access Hollywood:

Sarah Jessica Parker says it's a challenge making the Sex and the City sequel recession-friendly.

"How do we do that well? And how do we do that in a not lazy way? How do we address these economic times in a franchise that has a lot to do with luxury and labels?" Parker tells Billy Bush for Access Hollywood.

"There is a lot that we have to think about because times are very different. So these are nice challenges, these are good challenges," adds Parker -- who once said her character Carrie Bradshaw would end up "in a hospital" if she couldn't afford her trademark $600 Manolo Blahnik shoes.

And what can we expect in the sequel?

"I think we want this one to be a romp," she says. "The last one, we got to tell a really mature sophisticated story that had real heartbreak in it, and this time, I think we want a romp. We want our audience to have a massive romp."

Hmmm....Romp, eh? I think SJP meant to say...."I think we want something like 'Romper Stomper.' We want our audience to have a massive romp."


[And I'm late to all this...Esquared had this important SATC news last night -- check out his 40% off photo....Daily Intel also had the goods...)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


From the Post:

As season two of Bravo's guilty pleasure launches [tonight], housewife Jill Zarin warns, "You're gonna see some [expensive] toys come out, unfortunately. We filmed the show before the recession happened."

The recession that has put millions of New Yorkers out of work threatens to make New York's real housewives appear even more self-indulgent and childishly pampered than last season. Back then, they were merely cougars of conspicuous consumption, spending perversely amusing bundles on themselves. This season, when housewife Alex McCord and husband (some say honorary housewife) Simon van Kampen drop $8,000 on clothing at a Hamptons boutique, their extravagance will likely strike viewers as prodigal in the extreme.

Van Kampen, manager of Murray Hill's Hotel Chandler, hopes the economy doesn't turn off viewers to the cast's wasteful spending habits. "This is escapist television for a lot of people," he says. "I don't think there'll be much negative reaction. Honestly, I think there is less conspicuous consumption in season two."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A few more signs from the recession

At the already reasonably priced La Isla Restaurant on 14th Street near Avenue B.

At Life Cafe, 10th Street and Avenue B. (If this wasn't so blurry, you could easily spot the "weekly recession specials" in the upper right-hand corner.)

Flier for a dog-washing shop on East Ninth Street.

Signs from around the neighborhood.

Near Wall Street.

On John Street in the Financial District.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A few signs from the recession

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Meanwhile, more stores are closing in the EV

In recent days I started taking photos of all the stores in the EV that had sale signs in the window. It just seemed as if every store was offering huge savings. Given the number of advertised reductions, it occurred to me that it would be easier to take photos of shops that weren't having sales. There weren't many.

Meanwhile, the carnage continues. The Tibetan specialty shop Lhasa Boutique on Avenue B near Fourth Street is going.

This makes 22 empty storefronts now on Avenue B. (There were 23, but Coyi Cafe opened a few weeks back.)

Meanwhile, on Ninth Street between Second Avenue and First Avenue...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The recession reaches Madison Avenue

Last Nov. 6, I did a post after walking on Madison Avenue in the 70s and 60s where all the really nice shops are.


And you know we didn't see one person shopping in any of these stores. Seriously. Post-election hangover perhaps? Or maybe the richies just don't shop in a light rain on weekday afternoons? Or maybe the economy is really fucked. Anyway, every store was the same: A handful of well-dressed employees standing around looking expectantly out the store windows.

So I wasn't surprised to read this in the Times today:

New York’s most elegant shopping corridor, the Gold Coast of Madison Avenue, from 57th Street to 72nd Street, is pockmarked with vacancies as retailers flee sky-high rents. More than two dozen retail spaces are on the market and are either empty now or about to be. Windows that once showcased hand-tooled leather suitcases are now plastered with for-rent signs.

This is as bad as I’ve ever seen it,” said Alan Victor, a broker who has worked the street for more than four decades and who is an executive vice president of the Lansco Corporation.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Recession causing retail landlords to be sort of nice and humane

To the Times!

Back in the mid-1990s, when a stretch of Ludlow Street in Manhattan was dominated by boarded-up buildings and wholesale fruit and nut vendors, Terri Gillis’s boutique, TG-170, was one of the magnets that drew intrepid shoppers to the Lower East Side.

That area is now one of the city’s liveliest late-night strips, which made it particularly painful for Ms. Gillis to receive an eviction notice last month because she owed $13,556.26 in back real estate taxes. But in a sudden change of heart, her landlord recently offered to let Ms. Gillis stay for two more years, and even proposed paying part of her future real estate taxes — which retail tenants normally pay.

In this troubled economy, the building manager, Arwen Properties, decided it would rather hold onto a good tenant.

“We’re working with her and trying to compromise,” the lawyer for Arwen Properties, Joel Bernstein, said. “The landlord has got an incentive, naturally, to keep cash flowing.”

Many landlords he advises are coming to the same conclusion, Mr. Bernstein said. Just a year ago, the owners of New York’s most coveted retail and restaurant spaces held almost unassailable power to dictate the terms of their leases. But the recession is changing that equation, as rapidly rising vacancy rates and bankruptcies are making it hard to find new tenants.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

On the bright side, Brandon Jacobs thinks the Giants will be in the Super Bowl next year

Ouch. From the Post:

"You can only get so much blood out of a stone" with budget cuts and other measures, the mayor said.

He proposed closing a $4 billion budget gap in 2010 with $955 million in cuts and savings that reached into every agency -- from the NYPD, which stood to lose another 1,000 cops through attrition, to the FDNY, which could see 12 companies vanish, to the child-welfare agency, which was asked to absorb 608 layoffs.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A few signs from the recession

Three shots that I took Sunday...

DeRobertis Caffe on First Avenue in the East Village...

Uh, some men's shop on...uh, Sixth Avenue near 23rd Street. I think.

Supermac on Seventh Avenue.

Not sure what happened with this photo...this would be the laser hair removal recession special...shot on Clinton Street between Houston and Stanton.

Also from last fall...a sign that Eater has noted on 14th Street near Third Avenue...the sign is still there...

Meant to mention this earlier...$5 for mac and cheese? And that's a recession special? How much does a box of mac and cheese cost at Key?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Recessive economy, high unemployment, falling housing market: What year is this...?

I'm currently reading a rather academic book titled "From Urban Village to East Village: The Battle for New York's Lower East Side." It was first published in 1994. The chief author is Janet L. Abu-Lughod, at the time of the book's release a professor of sociology at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research.

Her section on the the beginning of 1992 is particularly interesting...perhaps you can draw a few parallels to another time in the city. Like now...

The economy of the city also appeared to be going to seed. Recently released data on jobs and unemployment revealed that in 1991 the city had lost jobs at an even faster rate than in the 1975 recession. And these were jobs not only in manufacturing, which had long been deserting Manhattan, but in the services as well. Service job losses, while they began at the high end of the scale when the stock market first tumbled in 1987, were now being translated, through a multiplier effect, into losses within demand sectors that "yuppies" had formerly supported.

Vacancy rates in hotels were rising. It was easier to get a cab, even in bad weather. Reservations were no longer needed at many good restaurants and tickets to concerts and the theater were once again more available. Employees of commercial firms, both high on the ladder and now, in back offices as well, were being let go, and in the interests of reducing municipal and state costs -- and New York City and the State struggled with mounting budget defecits -- the number of public employees was also being reduced. The 1991 Christmas buying season was one of the most disappointing on record.

The bottom was also falling out of the housing market. Real estate agents, never ones to suggest at any time that housing might be a poor investment, were estimating that sale prices on luxury flats in the city had dropped a fourth to a fifth from their peak values in the late 1980s and that there were "real bargains" to be had in rental units, co-ops and condominia. But sellers, even those offering "bargains," reported months without a single buyer nibble. Advertisements in the Sunday real estate section of The New York Times for auctioned residential and commercial units expanded from half a page to several pages, and the lower auction prices established a ceiling beyond which other prospective buyers refused to bid.

The commercial firms in Lower Manhattan, whose job holders were the "white-collar workers" that a walk-to-work gentrifying zone of the East Village was intended to attract, were especially hard hit. Vacancy rates in privately owned buildings soared from under 3 percent in 1981 to over 20 percent in 1991.

In the East Village, although properties were too downscale to warrant private auctions and many residents were already so marginal to the economy that its collapse left them relatively unaffected, the wind was definitely out of the gentrifiers' sails.

The book includes the map of the East Village's included in a section that discusses 1987. (Click to enlarge.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yankees now handing out money faster than the US Government

By giving Mark Teixeira $180 million, the Yankees now have the four highest-paid players in baseball. Well, guess that means beers will be $40 next season at the new Yankee Stadium.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

You know it's a recession when...

East Village resident Paige Ferrari, 26, was one of the 35 employees who lost their jobs when Radar abruptly folded a few weeks back. In a piece in the Times today, she talks about the layoffs and the future. Among the obnservations:

You picture the layoffs as “Oh, I worked at the plant for 10 years, and then they didn’t want me to make this certain wheel part anymore.” Not people in this sort of cushy industry — maybe it’s a trickle-up thing? It’s starting to affect the yuppies in the East Village. That’s when you know it’s a recession: when your yuppie neighbors are going on unemployment.


I came home one day and my roommate was trying to call unemployment. That’s when I still had a job, so I was very smug. He was trying to call unemployment to get his unemployment money, but he couldn’t get through the menu because he had just got a new iPhone. So he was trying to find the keypad on the new iPhone. I was like, “I don’t think the unemployment menu is set up for people with iPhones.