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Friday, March 28, 2014

The Weekly Roundup: NYC Grows, Restaurant Fines Diminish, Standing in Line for Money

  • 60 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About New York City: They'll make NYC feel like a whole new place!
  • Population Growth in New York City Is Reversing Decades-Old Trend, Estimates Show: Despite the challenges of city living, the city’s population is growing in ways not seen in decades. For the third consecutive year, New York City last year gained more people than it lost through migration, reversing a trend that stretched to the mid-20th century. For the year ending July 1, 2013, an influx of foreigners combined with a continuing decline in the loss of migrants to other states increased the population by more than 61,000, nudging it past 8.4 million for the first time, according to estimates to be released on Thursday by the United States Census Bureau.
  • Anthony Bourdain's Food Hall Will Have 40 to 50 Vendors: Author/TV star/former line cook Anthony Bourdain and business partner Stephen Werthen are currently working on a massive New York City food hall that will host a dream team of chefs and hawkers from around the world. Bourdain tells Departures a little bit more about this project: "We are not interested in the usual suspects...We want you to be able to enjoy expertly sliced Iberico ham and some Cava or Kuching-style laksa [soup], Chinese lamb noodles, Vietnamese pho or a decent barbecue brisket all in one place—and, most importantly, made by the very best people in each specialized area."
  • What It's Like to Be a Professional Line Sitter: New Yorkers will wait on line for just about anything—pastries, Supreme tee shirts, designer collaborations, iPads—but given the chance, a few would prefer to pay someone else to do it for them. Enter the world of professional line sitting—a gig that's now so legitimate there are Yelp reviews, Twitter accounts, and business cards for the services.
  • Carnegie Deli owner says her husband and his girlfriend stole $10 million over last decade: Marian Harper Levine slapped her husband, his girlfriend and her stepdaughter Friday with a new lawsuit claiming Sanford Levine started withdrawing funds in 2000 from her business and personal accounts.

  • New Restaurant Rules to Lower Fines: New York City officials released on Friday new restaurant grading rules designed to reduce fines by nearly 25%, a top priority of Mayor Bill de Blasio who pledged in the campaign to help small business who he said were pummeled with unfair tickets. Under the new rules, restaurants will be inspected more often but the fine levels will be returned to those in place before the city required the posting of letter grades in restaurant windows. Restaurant owners may also request a consultative inspection--penalty free--to receive advice from the Health Department on food safety laws.
  • Tales of the Blue Plate Special: Stories From New York's Short Order Cooks: All too often we don't get the chance to interact with one of the diner's most essential players: the short order cook who watches over the griddle, getting our eggs just right, crisping our hash browns and sizzling up our onion rings. Who are these cooks, and what stories do they have to tell? To find out, we stopped by four well-loved diners to hear tales from the other side of the counter.
  • Food & Drink Awards 2014: Time Out New York announces the year's best restaurants and bars in New York City—you voted for your favorites, we picked ours too!
  • The Iceman Cometh: Shake Shack’s Mark Rosati is taking over the world, one custard at a time: Mark Rosati, Shake Shack’s culinary director, has traveled to all the new international Shacks to develop special recipes. Dubai got a honey almond cake custard that he assured me will arrive stateside later this year. An Istanbul location got a special concrete (custard and treats whipped together) with baklava, banana and cinnamon caramel sauce, which sounds like pretty much the most delicious thing ever conceived. 
  • Slice King Phil Hartman on the Legacy of Two Boots: Over the last 26 years, Phil Hartman has built a mini-empire of neighborhood pizzerias serving quirky, but consistently tasty slices. The Two Boots pizzas have cornmeal crusts and Cajun/Italian topping combinations, and most of them are named after cult musicians or movie characters. The dining rooms are bigger and more comfortable than the ones at most slice joints, and all of them have original artwork and location specific specials. Eater recently sat down with Hartman at his Avenue A restaurant to talk about quality control, expansion, and how the New York pizza scene has changed over the last two and a half decades.


  • Amy's Bread Now Makes One of New York's Best Black and White Cookies: With three locations and a reputation for great American baked goods (see: carrot cake), Amy's Bread is just the breath of fresh air the black and white needed. Their take, $2.75 for a substantial cookie, does plenty justice to the tradition while making a few subtle upgrades.

  • Grinding Beans Long Before the Baristas Came: Porto Rico, a Venerable Old-Timer in Greenwich Village: Peter Longo was sitting in his office making a long story short, or at least he kept promising to. I figured that his sense of time was different from mine because his office, on the ground floor of 201 Bleecker Street, which houses his store, Porto Rico Importing Company, is downstairs from where he was born 62 years ago. I think if you grow up in the building where you were born and work there your whole life, you develop a sense of place the rest of us don’t have. You never have to hurry. You’re already home.

  • High Line commercial property to go residential: The new owner will convert the building, add 10,000 square feet on the roof, and voilá—a new luxury project is born. It stands on the block where the elevated park veers sharply westward and is a just one block south of Hudson Yards.
  • As Expected, Eataly Wine Store to Close for Six Months: Following charges from the SLA related to "interlocking interests," Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich will close the wine store at Eataly for six months, and they will pay the state $500,000 in fines. Crain's reports that the restaurateurs reached a settlement with the state today, and as a part of the deal, Lidia Bastianich will also be removed from the Eataly liquor license. 
  • Google grows Chelsea Market footprint, again: The Internet search giant has leased 75,000 square feet in the building, where it already has 320,000 square feet. It is across the street from the firm's New York headquarters at 111 Eighth Ave

  • 'What I Eat: Around The World In 80 Diets' Shows Stunning Portraits Of Daily Meals: Photojournalist Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Aluisio have satiated our curiosity in a new way, breaking down what individuals from all over the world eat in one day. In "'What I Eat: Around The World In 80 Diets," Menzel and D'Aluisio document a stunning array of individuals' daily sustenance. The subjects of 'What I Eat' run the gamut from a coal miner and a call center operator to a sumo wrestler.


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