Spaceport New York

When One World Trade Center formally opens next week, it will not have a fancy restaurant at the very top of the building, like Windows on the World in the North Tower of the World Trade Center before it, even though the building's owner, the Port Authority, originally planned for one. Instead, the Port Authority realized, its top three floors would be more valuable as functionally empty space—it will be an observation area for an expected three-and-a-half million people a year. READ MORE

Eat Bread

Gluten sounds totally disgusting. It is not so far off from, like, "moisten" or "ooze" or "smegma." So it is no surprise that it chafes, no matter whether you think it does terrible things to your insides (despite not having been diagnosed with celiac disease) or you think that anyone who has a self-assessed gluten problem is a terrible asshole in direct to proportion to how loudly that person proclaims their gluten sensitivity (despite not having been diagnosed with celiac disease). READ MORE

In this Sunday's forthcoming New York Times Magazine—which has been magically sent backward in time, from the future, to the internet of today—I have a short piece on how dynamic, demand-based pricing is probably going to become a staple of supremely popular restaurants as logistics-driven startups, of a piece with Uber and Airbnb, begin looking to disrupt (lol) woefully inefficient restaurant seating systems. In summary: Hope you like eating out on Tuesdays at 9PM. Unless you are rich, then why are you worrying about this, or anything at all? It'll be just fine. You'll be just fine. Everything's fine.

The Tall, Skinny, Shining Skyline That L.A. Deserves

For the last forty years, an odd rule from the Los Angeles Fire Department, known as Regulation 10, has required that every skyscraper in the city have a helipad for potential emergency rescues. This is why, architects argue, Los Angeles has a thoroughly medicore skyline. Here are a whole lot of them complaining to the New York Times about Regulation 10: READ MORE

Pity the Poor Bodega Cigarette Man

Upon closer inspection of the shelves, he noticed that the rear wall stopped short, a couple of inches from the other side, suggesting a gap in between. He peered lower. There was a pinpoint hole in the rear wall. Below it, a toothpick lay on the shelf. Deputy Davis, 43, stuck the toothpick in the hole. READ MORE

Hotels Are People Too

It's increasingly hard to escape the sensation that the primary proprietors of the so-called sharing economy don't so much share as take—from their users, from their contracted workers, from the localities in which they operate, by utilizing infrastructure that they do not contribute toward. It's everybody else who shares. READ MORE

The Rats Among Us

On Tuesday, Dr. Lipkin and his colleagues published their initial results in the journal mBio. Although the scientists examined just 133 rats, they found plenty of pathogens. Some caused food-borne illnesses. Others, like Seoul hantavirus, had never before been found in New York. Others were altogether new to science...So far, they have identified 18 unknown species related to viruses already shown to cause diseases in humans. Two of the new species were similar to the virus that causes hepatitis C.
One scientist told the Times that the discovery of these brand new, never-before-seen viruses in New York City rats is not "a call to wage war on rats just yet." This scientist lives in Montana.

Pathogen Privilege

Amanda Uhry, who runs a consultancy called Manhattan Private School Advisors, which, as its name suggests, helps parents through the private-school application process, said she recently turned down a half-dozen clients when she discovered that they were opposed to vaccination. For a long while she had never inquired about the issue, but a few years ago, a child she was working with missed his kindergarten interview because of whooping cough, which left her stunned. "I thought, Whooping cough? Who gets whooping cough anymore?" she said.
While the Times strains to paint the wealthy parents New York City as marginally more reasonable than the wealthy parents of Los Angeles when it comes to anti-vaccination fervor, it's clear that their pampered, all-organic, macrobiotic-fed, micro-managed children—who are able to skirt the city's otherwise rigorous vaccination requirements, thanks to their malevolently ignorant parents' preening—are going to reintroduce us all to antiquated diseases which had otherwise been wiped out of the public sphere. Call it pathogen privilege.

The Tortilla's Last Light

In May, in the course of conducting what could be the Awl's first annual Chipotle State of the Union survey, idk, Bobby Finger discovered that far more people ordered bowls than burritos, even though Chipotle is generally known as a burrito chain. Today, in a piece on the rise of grain bowls as a meal format—which strangely omits the Korean dish dolsot bibimbap, the ultimate bowl of grains and cool stuff—is official confirmation of the tortilla's fall from grace: "For evidence that the bowl has gone mainstream, look no further than Chipotle, whose burrito bowl is the biggest selling item on the menu." READ MORE

The YA Books No Adult Should Read

A thing I compulsively do after I pick up my Kindle, but before I start actually reading anything, is browse through its bookstore. Even though I rarely buy books from Amazon in order to avoid contributing to the downfall of publishing as we know it or whatever, I have made at least a few random purchases, like Eric Schlosser's Chew on This, which, in the fog of early morning and the kind of gross, glowing wintergreen glaze atop the Kindle's black-and-white E-Ink pages, seemed like a sequel or an update to Fast Food Nation, which I had never read in its entirety. I was immediately struck not just by how repetitive of Fast Food Nation it seemed, but by how jarringly simple the writing was, so I stopped reading it. READ MORE