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Friday, December 6, 2013

The Weekly Roundup: Tree Lighting, Holiday Windows, Hot-Dog Vendor Blues


  • Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lights up: With a flick of the switch, a 76-foot Norway Spruce officially became the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree Wednesday night after it was illuminated for the first time this holiday season in a ceremony that's been held since 1933.
  • 56 Photos Of NYC Holiday Windows To Seduce You Into A Consumerist Fugue State: With the unveiling of Sak's Fifth Avenue's potentially seizure-inducing light show last night, all of the big name midtown retailers are fully dressed in their holiday regalia. It's a special time of year, when the sidewalks of Fifth Avenue are rendered impassable by tourists hypnotized by the holiday window displays, which, to be fair, can be pretty charming. Click through for photos documenting the lavish displays at Bergdorf Goodman (which broke from its typically reserved tradition with a haute "Holidays on Ice" theme), Barneys (which went full Instagram), Sak's Fifth Avenue (epileptics beware), Bloomingdale's ("the best"), Macy's (childhood wonderment or something), Lord & Taylor (vintage New York), and Henri Bendel (Swarovski crystals and... Al Hirschfeld?).
  • Plating: The Ceramic Canvas: Whether smeared and swirled across a white plate, stacked beneath a tower of flowers in a ceramic bowl, or strewn like debris atop the surface of a log, the way the food is laid out reflects an aspect of a chef’s craftsmanship that can be just as crucial as the ingredients in the dish.
  • How Food Network Created and Lost Foodies: The Food Network, which launched twenty years ago this week, was the Starbucks of TV networks. To wit: It has been argued there have been three waves of American coffee consumption: (1) Supermarket brands like Maxwell House and Folgers. (2) Chains of decent quality, like Starbucks, that taught consumers that there is something better out there. (3) Increasingly discriminating and artisanal coffee vendors like Stumptown who treat beans as proper ingredients, not commodities, subsequently attracting more discriminating consumers. 
  • Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie’s Wine Named Best Rosé in the World: Critically-acclaimed actors, humanitarians, über-parents—and now, thanks to Wine Spectator, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt can add award-winning vintners to their list of accolades. The magazine ranked their Côtes de Provence Rosé Miraval ($28) number 84 on their top 100 wines of 2013 list, giving it a better-than-respectable score of 90 out of 100 points—a number reserved for “wines of superior character and style,” according to their point scale. 


  • A Shiplike Building Gets Another New Life: A 200-foot-long shiplike structure floated into its berth on Seventh Avenue half a century ago. Unable to ignore it, Greenwich Villagers have loved or hated it ever since. Their descendants will have the same privilege. The structure — originally the Joseph Curran Building of the National Maritime Union, then the Edward and Theresa O’Toole Medical Services Building of St. Vincent’s Hospital — is emerging in its third form, as a stand-alone emergency room and medical care center.

  • Washington Square Park’s Hot-Dog Vendors Get the Boot: Washington Square Park's on its way to becoming a bougie food destination: The Parks Department's private (read: affluent) conservancy board members have decided to let the contracts of two hot-dog vendors expire because they're "unsightly." Mario Batali's Otto gelato cart and the beloved all-vegan N.Y. Dosas cart will stay, and Melt will set up shop selling gourmet ice-cream sandwiches. Whether or not you're pleased with the glamorous revamp, it's questionable if this park conservancy should even have the power to make these types of decisions. 
  • A Parisian-Style Retreat in the Heart of Greenwich Village: The Marlton House, built in 1900 and later a haven for Jack Kerouac and his crew, reopened this fall as the Marlton, a Parisian-inspired 107-room boutique hotel in the heart of Greenwich Village, just off Washington Square Park. It offers the same cool, casual elegance as the Bowery Hotel, a few blocks across town, but at a fraction of the price. 
  • A Film Nudge to Find the Folkie in You: “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the Coen brothers film set among Greenwich Village musicians in the early 1960s, is poised to generate a tidal wave of nostalgia — and stir interest among moviegoers who were unfamiliar with this milieu. t’s a safe bet that anyone who sees the film (opening next Friday) will want to know more about the folkie world that the Coens recreate so wittily and well. There are great ways to read, see and hear more about it.
  • Triangle Fire Memorial Chosen: Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition's design competition to find a memorial for 20 Washington Place, the site of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire that claimed the lives of 146 garment workers and served as a catalyst for labor reform, has drawn to a close. The winning design, by Richard Joon Yoo and Uri Wegman, will feature "graceful steel panels that are visible from a distance."
  • Spanish Chain Brings 100 Teeny Sandwiches & Tasty Taters To Greenwich Village: British transplant Pret a Manger has found success with office drones seeking a reasonably fresh, somewhat "artisan"-style sandwich to cure their lunchtime hunger pangs. Now another European chainlet, 100 Montaditos, lands on our shores, bringing a different kind of sandwich into the mix. Taking name and inspiration from the Spanish tapa montados—meaning to "ride"—the restaurant offers a selection of (you guessed it!) 100 teeny sandwiches stuffed with a dizzying array of fillings from Serrano ham to grilled chicken to Manchego cheese.

  • Orange Crocs Discontinued; Mario Batali Buys 200 Pairs: It reminds us of the Seinfeld when Elaine hordes her favorite discontinued contraceptive (the sponge!): Celeb chef Mario Batali special-ordered a whopping 200 pairs of Crocs when he heard that the shade—his signature hue—is no more. “They’re gonna stop the Mario Batali orange! It’s preposterous!” he says in the December/January issue of Details. ”But they’re doing pretty well without me. Nothing lasts forever, baby.”

  • Like Father Like Son: J Crew Scion Creates Perfect Uniform in Nolita: Walk by the Nolita storefront of Alex Mill and you may not realize the handsomely modest shop is the creation of a fashion scion. Alex Drexler, the son of the much beloved J.Crew head Mickey Drexler, started his menswear line earlier this year selling to the likes of Barneys and Odin in New York and Tokyo’s United Arrows. He opened his Elizabeth Street storefront only last August.


  • China City Of America: New Disney-Like Chinese-Themed Development Plans To Bring $6 Billion To Catskills In New York State: New York City’s Chinatown is an enclave of concentrated Chinese businesses, schools, religious outlets and culture, all focused in a downtown area of Manhattan. In another NYC borough, Queens, pockets of Chinese communities equipped with local fare and signs translated into Chinese can also be found. While the Chinese communities in New York and the rest of the U.S. have plenty to offer, one New York developer has plans to go even bigger. According to a report by the New York Post, a businesswoman from Long Island is proposing plans to build a massive Chinese community, dubbed a “Chinese Disneyland,” up in the Catskills section of New York state. 


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