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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Weekly Roundup: Midnight Puzzles, Champagne Thieves, Addictive Oreos

  • One Long Night in Puzzle City: Just another Saturday night in New York? Not for the 300 bankers, hedge fund managers, lawyers and software engineers solving puzzles on sidewalks and traipsing all over Manhattan for more than 16 hours as part of an infuriating, exhilarating, mind-numbing, night-bleeding-into-morning competition called Midnight Madness. An elaborate scavenger hunt put on by Goldman Sachs, the event raised $2.9 million for charity and cost about $360,000 to produce.
  • Next Mayor May Be Tallest, but Hoops Isn't His Game: Not all politicians can hug a half-dozen children simultaneously to get the perfect photo op. But then, not all politicians are 6 feet, 5 inches tall. If elected mayor of New York City on Nov. 5, Mr. de Blasio—the Democratic nominee with a lead of 44 percentage points in the most recent public poll—would be the tallest chief executive of the city in living memory, and likely of all time.
  • After Decades, a Water Tunnel Can Now Serve All of Manhattan: In one of the most significant milestones for the city’s water supply in nearly a century, the tunnel — authorized in 1954, begun in 1970 and considered the largest capital construction project ever undertaken in the five boroughs — will for the first time be equipped to provide water for all of Manhattan. Since 1917, the borough has relied on Tunnel No. 1, which was never inspected or significantly repaired after its opening. Though the first tunnel may be taken out of service in the coming years, the source of the city’s water itself will not change. The three tunnels all originate at the Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers, near the Bronx border.

  • Remaking Tavern on the Green, One Fork at a Time: The old restaurant is being remade by a couple of Philly guys who are making a big bet. It starts with getting the details right.
  • For Some, an Appliance; for Others, Art: You may not remember (or have been alive) when electric mixers came with pea-shelling attachments and had atomic-bomb styling or fins like those on classic cars. Yet a surprising number of them are still purring and whirring on kitchen counters today, thanks to an enthusiastic community of collectors.
  • Cider Week Hit NYC: Get excited, everyone. Cider week is here!


  • From Parking to Ultra-Luxe Apartments: Greenwich Village Building to Undergo a Radical Transformation: A Greenwich Village parking garage at 12 E. 13th St. between University Place and Fifth Avenue will be transformed into eight large condominiums, in another sign of the city's booming ultra-luxury market. The building, which sold for $32 million in 2012, will feature eight apartments—a mix of full-floor units and duplexes—with expected asking prices range from $7.5 million to $28.5 million for the top triplex, according to the project's developers. Occupancy is expected by the end of 2014.

  • Oreos as ‘addictive as cocaine’: Oreo cookies are as addictive as cocaine – especially when it comes to the creamy center, a new study claims. Lab rats who ate “America’s favorite cookie” formed an equally strong association as they did when injected with cocaine or morphine, student researchers at Connecticut College claim.
  • Grand Theft Bubbles: A man broke into Beaumarchais and stole 13 bottles of Champagne early one morning last week. The thief filled up a black suitcase on wheels with the fancy bubbles and wheeled them right out onto the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking District. The restaurant's security system captured the heist, which management says was worth over $13,000.
  • (Cabbage) Heads Will Roll: How To Make A Food Network 'From Scratch': Mario Batali, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray are just a few of the stars the Food Network helped create. But what the network gave, it could also take away. In "From Scratch," author Allen Salkin takes an unsparing look at the network's progression from struggling cable startup to global powerhouse, and the people — Emeril Lagasse, Paula Deen — who rose and fell along the way.
  • Clare Vivier Lands In Nolita: L.A.-based designer Clare Vivier has become the go-to girl for simple, well-crafted leather goods. You can’t walk five blocks in New York City without spotting one of her signature foldover clutches. So it makes sense that, after years of selling her accessories in specialty NYC boutiques like Otte, Aritzia, and Steven Alan, Vivier (who is currently rebranding her line as Clare V.) is bowing her first Manhattan outpost. The store, which, set on Elizabeth Street in Nolita, opens to the public on Friday.

  • Fate of Bull's Head Tavern Depends on the Owner: Elected officials and the Landmarks Preservation Commission are both doing their best to launch a thorough investigation of what may very well be the famed 18th century saloon the Bull's Head Tavern, but their options are limited. Photographer Adam Woodward first documented the ancient, hand-planed wood joists and stone foundation in the basement of 50 Bowery last week, and both he and historian David Freeland are convinced that these are the remnants of Bull's Head. If so, this would be the oldest surviving structure in Manhattan by far, and as Woodward puts it, an "incredible opportunity to get on archaeological record."
  • The Best Wonton Soup in Manhattan's Chinatown: There's a reason wonton soup became one of the backbones of the Chinese-American restaurant menu. I try every available version in Manhattan's chinatown until I find one that recaptures—nay, eclipses—those childhood memories. The best bowl of wonton soup in the city.


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