The world has become a mewling baby
Bloody world, greedy little marketplace,
How you have flooded
Our minds with the bodies of women,
So many they are clogging the feeds.
The sea churns up its warrior dead too,
Says, enough, enough,
Spits out your plastics, your
Your replicas, your portion
Control. Where will your Beethovens
Thrive in this new Century? How
Will you hear them with your ear
While we were busy
Following someone’s dead
Link, the world has transformed.
I used to fear the empty
Its dead arteries
And veins that close
In upon themselves,
Now I log on
And see strangers
Planting their aspirations,
Sweet and leafy
For me to read.
Have you started panic-buying provisions for the hurricane yet or are you going to try to coast by with the stuff you picked up after Sandy a few years back? It’s a real dilemma, and your urge to shop hysterically will only increase over the next few days as every idiot with a Twitter account suddenly becomes a meteorologist. You know who’s terrible? Anyone on social media. Maybe some kind of biblical deluge would be an improvement. Anyway, until the flood comes and wipes us all away we’ve still got power and light and music. So enjoy.
★★ A layer of visible grime clung to the living room window. The soggy air felt like putting on yesterday’s clothes. Sun coexisted with a thick brown darkness upriver, beyond where a white boat gleamed on the flat water. Which interval of sun would be the last? Rain, rain, rain, said the forecast on the elevator screen. Rain, said the work group chat. Maybe this day’s sunscreen would be the last. The sun was hot and unpleasantly dazzling, while it lasted, and then the darkness and the humidity slammed down harder than before. It was too hot to wear the rain jacket in the absence of rain, but the rain couldn’t be far off. Could it? Uptown was still heavier, still darker. The rain jacket went back in the closet. The air conditioners went on. Finally, a hand stuck out the window got hit by big, falling drops.
In his review of David Chang’s fried chicken joint, which has expanded to two locations within two months of launching, Ryan Sutton notes, for context:
Chang isn’t the only high-end chef to try his hand out in the fine-casual space – the Danny Meyer term for elevated fast food. Del Posto’s Mark Ladner has his gluten-free Pasta Flyer and Brooks Headley has his vegetarian Superiority Burger. Part of the lure is surely the desire to become the next billion dollar empire, the next Shake Shack. And that’s not a bad thing. Why not displace commodity chains in suburban America with more creative and noble-minded institutions? Why not convince entry-level eaters to pay a little bit more for their food, with prices that are higher than Wendy’s yet cheaper than Applebee’s, with meats sourced from humanely raised animals, and with happier employees who (let’s hope) work better better schedules for better pay?
The reasoning behind eating this kind of fast food is seductive: You are not merely choosing to eat an eight-dollar chicken sandwich or a six-dollar hamburger because you have the good taste to fully appreciate why it is a better culinary experience than a three-dollar chicken sandwich or a one-dollar hamburger (and they really are, if you can afford them!), but you are making a moral and ethical choice that is superior to someone who eats a Southern Style Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich from McDonald’s or a Whopper from Burger King, products of the vast animal protein industrial complex.
The Times reports on the state of Condé Nast and Time Inc.’s moves downtown:
In the new headquarters, Time’s writers and editors will have to make do with cubicles. The Fortune editor Alan Murray, who is also taking a cubicle, said the number of offices at his magazine is being cut to three, from 43. “I fully understand that some employees are going to miss their big, old offices,” said Joe Ripp, Time Inc.’s chief executive officer. He added that he hoped the new setup will prevent his employees “from writing those interminable three-page memos and walk down the hall and talk to someone.” … “If I found out Fortune’s creative director had an office and we didn’t, that would be a problem to talk about,” Mr. Cagle said. “A lot of nail-biting and hair-pulling is being done by people here.” In a pre-emptive maneuver, he has already joined the Equinox gym in the building, to make sure he has his own locker.
On the bright side, the pre-move layoffs at Time Inc. means that the chances of getting one of those few offices in its headquarters above the unofficial Condé Nast cafeteria are better than one might expect.
Photo by Arturo Pardavila III
The remainder of your days will be darkness and gloom and the vague, poignant memory of a time when things were brighter which will seem ever more difficult to conceive of the further away from it you get. Also it’s gonna rain a bunch. But as soundtracks to deluges go this is pretty solid, so enjoy. [Via]
★★ The crowded, anxious elevator emptied out into a placidly cool and clouded-over morning. For a while the clouds parted, leaving dirty-looking remnants under the bluing sky, but the interval of brightness passed without warming things up. A shower must have occurred during the subway ride, leaving the pavement of Union Square greasy underfoot. Then the gray left and clean white and blue moved overhead. The stone facing of the building was chilly to lean against. Above the warm but clammy streets on the way homeward, the sky was dabbed with new formations of cloud-spots, fresh as paint off the brush of Bob Ross.
The last few years have seen no shortage of requiems written for the dive bar, or simply the kind of place that you might pass by without thinking much of it, but feel some sense of loss when you hear it’s closing up—the neighborhood bar, where you can get a can of beer from the American Midwest and a shot of cheap whiskey with little fuss or muss. The types of places that New York Times Magazine “Drink” columnist Rosie Schaap wrote about in her memoir Drinking With Men, are being replaced by specialty beer bars, places with expensive drinks made with cheap ingredients by inexperienced bartenders under the banner of “craft cocktails,” and worst of all, places that never seem to have enough room at the bar.
“Most people want community more than cocktails, and that’s what neighborhood bars offer,” Schaap told me recently. “Great neighborhood bars aren’t an antiquated idea; they’re timeless.” Yet these bars, where you go once a week to see your friends or shoot the shit with the bartender who gives you a buyback after a couple rounds of Jameson, are becoming harder to find. And when you do find one, you just worry about its inevitable demise, or worse, the wrong people discovering it. “The middle-of-the-road places with nice consistent service, the places where you always have a seat, where you can actually hear what the people you came to hang out with are saying, those don’t really seem to exist anymore,” Vicki Lame, a book editor in New York, told me.
Those kinds of bars, the ones with the old neon lights, beat-to-hell seats, and imported beer lists that consist entirely of old bottles of Heineken and Corona, are often wrongly called the “dive bars” by the new neighbors who spend just enough money just carelessly enough for you to know that they have too much. “I’ve seen the term used interchangeably with ‘neighborhood bar,’ which I think is incorrect,” Michael Neff, who has spent a lot of time on both sides of nearly every kind of bar, told me. “Some people call any bar that is dirty or bad or beaten up ‘a dive,’ which is closer but not always the case. If every crappy bar is a dive, then is every dive crappy?”
Airbnb. Amazing. Airbnb “believes that people can and should feel like they belong anywhere in the world.” Strongly agree. Hundreds of thousands of hosts. Tens of millions of users. 500,000 stays a night. A re-imagination of the notion of property. Incredible.
However, Airbnb investor Sam Altman says:
Unfortunately, a lot of other people have problems paying their rent or mortgage.
That’s bad. But:
75% of Airbnb hosts in San Francisco say that their income from Airbnb helps them stay in their homes, and 60% of the Airbnb income goes to rent/mortgage and other housing expenses.
That’s good! So why not let Airbnb help them even more. That’s where ReHome comes in.
Startup idea: ReHome will let renters and homeowners spend as little time in their homes as is necessary to keep them. By providing affordable sleep-work-live arrangements in extremely space-optimized towers located at or near public transit termini, ReHomes allow sharing economy rentrepreneurs to lease a bed in a beautifully efficient open-plan space. (The spaces could be inside of used shipping containers or former public housing, or even former disrupted office and residential buildings—ReHousing isn’t about the specific space, right, it’s an IRL API for the opportunities inside of it.)
The German publisher Axel Springer DE is purchasing 88 percent of Henry Blodget’s extremely popular travel blog, Business Insider, for 343 million dollars in cash; its stake is valued at 390 million dollars. (The total value of the company is pegged at 442 million dollars—Axel Springer already owned nine percent, and Jeff Bezos is not giving up his shares.) The number that Axel Springer and Business Insider want you to consider is 76 million unique visitors per month, but the future is in distribution, not unique visitors anymore, so let’s talk money!
According to Peter Kafka, that number is nine times this year’s projected revenues, which appear to amount to just over 43 million dollars. (It is six times next year’s projected revenues, so BI is expecting to make 65 million dollars next year, or a roughly 50 percent jump.) BI employs 325 people (half journalists, it would like me to tell you!), meaning it currently brings in roughly $132,300 in revenue per employee.