The Neighborhood Is Changing

Sasha Frere-Jones, "Picking My Toes In Poughkeepsie"

Union Square’s sad transformation into Times Square proceeds apace: Construction to turn the former Zen Palate space into a TGI Friday’s is in full swing, while uptown barbecue chain Brother Jimmy’s has already opened and is happy offering sustenance to suit-wearing douchebags for whom the cuisine of Heartland Brewery is a bit too “ethnic” or “challenging.” If you stand on the corner of 16th and Union Square East, you will find yourself victimized by the cruel tyranny of choice: Which of the two equidistant glazed dough providers wares will pad your colon, Tim Horton’s or Dunkin Donuts? Don’t worry about the calories: A brisk trot across the park to Starbucks will give you some much needed exercise, and should there be a line you can return to the east side, where another Starbucks helpfully awaits. (Those of you working on advanced fitness routines will want to go the extra avenue to the Starbucks on 3rd.) Not all of the changes are for the worse, though: This weekend marks the resumption of Daylight Saving Time, when the clocks are set one hour ahead. This is excellent news for the giant monstrosity which hovers above the former Virgin Records: Having been off by an hour for the entire winter, it will finally display the correct time, give or take a couple of minutes, once more. It’s the little things!