The cri de coeur a reader sent in last week in the form of a Ginsbergian 'Howl' has inspired us. What would the likes of Ginsberg, the Beats, and their admirers think of today's restaurant world and its absurd come-ons? What would Bob Dylan circa 1965 think of it? Well, owing to the magic of aggressive marketing, the new Website for the Dylan boxed set allows us to see for ourselves. Just click here.
Gastronomic Homesick Blues [Dylan07.com]
Related: A Restaurant World ‘Howl’
Adam Roberts, the self-styled “Amateur Gourmet,” has been getting so much play lately that he may have to get a new sobriquet. First came his elevation into the Serious Eats family, then an appearance in the New York Times, and his book, The Amateur Gourmet, drops today. Like his counterpart Danyelle Freeman, Roberts is riding the blog gravy train straight to the top. But unlike Freeman, whose new gig at the Daily News is strictly old media, Roberts is promoting his new book with a “virtual book tour” that will bring him to practically every food blog you can think of, and not a few that you can’t think of. “I’m doing a Q&A with Ruhlman, and visiting Orangette, David Leibovitz, Gluten Free Girl, and The Girl Who Ate Everything over the next few weeks,” he tells us. Gluten Free Girl? There will be one real-world reading, at the Park Slope Barnes & Noble on September 24. For the rest of the tour, Roberts is dancing with the one that brung him. We can’t say we would argue with that plan.
Amateur Gourmet [Official Site]
Oh, the excitement back in January, when Freedom Tower construction finally — five-plus years after the attacks — reached the towering height of eight feet below sidewalk level. The milestone was marked by a festive "Metro" section article in the Times, explaining just where you had to stand, and just how you had to crane your neck, to get a view of this feat of construction. So it's with even greater exultation that we discovered this picture on Curbed today, which seems to indicate that construction has — are you sitting down? — actually progressed to above ground! Of course, the Curbed boys speculate what we're seeing is merely a few Portajohns. Perhaps. But, even so, hey, we'll take what we can get.
WTC Chaos Update: Something Rises Above Grade! [Curbed]
Earlier:The Freedom Tower Exists for Anyone Who Truly Believes In It
If you miss following Sam Mason’s quixotic adventures now that the Launch is kaput, fear not an anonymous blog Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry is offering “meta-fictional restaurant drama set in present day New York City, served in a convenient serial” and the first story details, in rather purple prose, the agonies of Sean Kasen (sounds kind of like Sam Mason if you mumble it, no?), a young, media-plagued chef opening his first restaurant who is up against “the punishment that comes when you attempt to create something perfect but fail” and also the fact that “being handsome and very talented when you are a chef is a burden.” Oh, the humanity!
Those blue metal thingies recently affixed to the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall? Turns out they're art. The "Stair Squares," as they're called, were created by a Cleveland artist as a project that "not only crosses the boundaries of design and art, but raises questions concerning the respective function of aesthetics as an organizing principle within public spaces," according to the Cleveland Institute of Art. "Okay," replies the blog McBrooklyn. "And they're handy when you eat lunch, too." Seems that way.
Blue Things at Brooklyn Borough Hall [McBrooklyn]
Epicurious, the Web arm of the Condé Nast food empire, has always been extremely confusing for us. Gourmet’s blog, Choptalk, has writers from all over the world. But the Epi-log blog seemed to be written by only Tanya Wenman Steel. On Monday, the malnourished Epi-log will get an actual roster of contributors, headlined by Rick Bayless, writing on chefly topics, and Melissa Clark, on cookbooks and recipes. “We decided to create this blog party months and months ago because I wanted to enhance the blog with more voices from all over,” Steel tells us. So who else is ready to post?
Name: Rob Fitzgerald, a.k.a. Rob the Bouncer
Job: Bouncer and writer; author of the Clublife blog and the Clublife book, on sale this week
Neighborhood: Long Island
Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Richard Feynman. (He grew up in Far Rockaway.)
What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
Steak at Uncle Jack’s on Bell Boulevard in Bayside.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I sleep, because I work nights.
Yesterday, someone calling himself Shylock slapped together some data on the traffic over at Gawker Media, the network of blogs run by immensely cranium'd publisher Nick Denton and written by a rotating cast of editors. Sparing you the calculations on page views and ad rates, we'll cut to the chase: Shylock figured that Gawker Media was making some $52 million in annual revenue. It's okay: We oopsied a little too.
But blogger Greg Allen then took a far more sensible take, deducting all sorts of things from that massive retail number (like ad space that goes unused, probably discounts for advertisers who buy in bulk, commission for sales staff, etc.) and came up with a mere $20 million in annual revenue. We're skeptical Allen is exactly correct, but his figure sounds more reasonable, and, hating math as we do, we'll stick with his number. But, even so, that's still only revenue. When expenses are considered, just how many dollars does the chinny cherub actually get to stuff in his big, British pockets? Let's investigate!
Aha! We searched all the photo services this morning, but no one — not AP, not Reuters or Getty, not Polaris or Retna — had a shot of midtown's collapsed sidewalk. Curbed, however, does. Herewith, the south side of West 36th Street yesterday afternoon. Thanks, Curbed kids, and bless you, Internet.
Crumbling of NYC: View to a Sidewalk Collapse [Curbed]
If you're enough of a techie that the idea of a parody blog written from Steve Jobs's point of view strikes you as rife with comic possibilities, well, you probably already know Fake Steve Jobs. And if you do, you've probably just read (while browsing the Times on your iPhone, no doubt) that the paper exposed the anonymous author of that blog — i.e. Fake Steve himself — as Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes. ("Hope you feel good about yourself, you mangina," wrote Lyons to Times reporter Brad Stone in today's you-got-me post — written in his own voice, not Steve's.)
• Atlantic owner David Bradley sent ponies to Jeffrey Goldberg's kids to help lure him away from The New Yorker. Seriously. [WP]
• Just before the Dow Jones deal went through, the Bancrofts voted to double this quarter's dividend for themselves [NYP]
• Murdoch and Ailes's next move? All-out war? (Wait, they're not at war with everyone else already?) [Newsweek]
So you're sitting there on the subway, bored and crowded and sort of hating your life (which is sort of inevitable in New York in August), and you see one of those School of Visual Arts ads promising the much more fun and fulfilling things you could be doing if you just took one of their classes. Yes, I would like to turn my passion into a program, you think. Or: Yes, I would like to learn to take pretty pictures of birds like the guy in that poster. As the always-angry Copyranter points out today, in SVA's latest campaign, as seen in the Voice, you now also have the option of becoming a knight. Or a blacksmith. Or something. All of which, we've got to tell you, seem even less pleasant to be doing on humid 90-degree-plus days than squeezing onto the downtown Lex. Maybe it's nice to know that things could be worse?
School of Visual Arts Doth Prepare Thee Well, Young Apprentice [Copyranter]
Been shopping for a place on Central Park West? Curbed noticed the listing today for a three-bedroom park-facing duplex penthouse in the famous Beresford, just north of the Museum of Natural History and home to celebrities from Jerry Seinfeld to John MacEnroe. It hasn't been renovated in a while, but it's also only been lightly used: The current owner is apparently an Indian media mogul who only stays there two weeks a year. (It seems it's good to be an Indian media mogul.) The price tag: a mere $28 million. Hey, maybe it can be your uptown pied-à-terre. (Curbed has floorplans, too.)
On the Market: Beresford Penthouse for $28M [Curbed]
Earlier:Rich Uptowners Ruin It for Everyone
We're of the school of thought that a joke requiring explanation is a joke failed. We also spend a lot of time explaining our jokes. The estimable Adam Sternbergh, on the other hand, we always thought tossed off bons mots and witticisms of such perfection they required no explanation. Apparently, however, we were wrong. A friend pointed us the other day to Behind the Approval Matrix, a new-this-week blog that, well, explains Adam's Approval Matrix jokes. Didn't get his reference this week to "That bizarre Elvis Mitchell cameo on Entourage," to pick a random example? Behind the Approval Matrix explains: "According to his Wikipedia entry Elvis Mitchell is a former film critic for the Times, and is one of the most well-known African-American critics in the United States. On Entourage he interviewed Vince, E, and Walsh about the genius behind Medellin." Now you know.
Behind the Approval Matrix [Blogspot]
The Approval Matrix: Week of July 30–August 6, 2007 [NYM]
The Daily News' Daily Politics blog reports that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's office is calling up members of his Democratic majority as we speak, and asking them to return to Albany tomorrow. Exciting! Also, puzzling. The News deems this "a significant development," but we know it can't be to suddenly pass the now-scuttled congestion-pricing idea — unless Mayor Bloomberg just found some pictures of Silver riding in Alan Hevesi's limo or on Joe Bruno's horse. So what does Shelly need the Assembly for? Some theories:
1. The Lower East Side is dangerously low on pickles and herring; the LES Preserved Foods Preservation Act is in order.
2. He loves to mess with people's vacations, just as a test of loyalty.
3. He read the last page of the leaked Harry Potter and has no one to discuss it with.
4. He just brainstormed a law, retroactive to 2001, that would make it illegal for media-company owners to run for mayor.
5. He needs help getting the gigantic bug out of his ass.
Breakthrough? [Daily Politics/NYDN]
Today is the deadline for Albany to get a congestion-pricing deal done, as Mayor Bloomberg has consistently said, and at 5:30 p.m. there's still no legislation. But something still could — indeed, still well might — come together before midnight, which seems about right for our dysfunctional state capital. At City Room, the Times' local-politics blog, statehouse reporter Nick Confessore has been chronicling a day spent trailing officials like Bloomberg and Joe Bruno hoping, usually in vain, for a comment:
The meeting was closed to reporters, who camped outside a locked conference room door, pressing their ears — and tape recorders — to the glass in the hopes of catching an earful of congestion-pricing gossip. (Such is the exciting life of the Albany statehouse reporter.)