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Designer Kuhne's Sway Problems Are Nothing New

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"Page Six" reported yesterday that designer Kai Kuhne had been ejected from the Soho club Sway, and the news came as no surprise to night owls who've seen the beleaguered designer boozing it up all over town lately. At a Fashion Week blowout at the Anchor, Kuhne was thrown out for ripping the bathroom door off a stall, startling a nearby Olsen twin. Indeed, Fashion Week was generally a mess for Kuhne, most notably at his own show, at Gramercy Park's National Arts Club. People's Revolution was set to produce the show, but they either dropped Kuhne or were fired by him, depending on whom you ask. It went on anyway — but not so smoothly.

Crobar's Second Verse: Same as the First

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With BED freshly closed and rumors floating that Bungalow and Cain are looking to flee West 27th Street, it's good to know Crobar, for one, is soldiering forward. It reopened last weekend as a new venue — now it's called Studio Mezmor — and it's doing double duty as an arts and events studio, and possibly a rock venue. (Don't tell that to the Bowery Ballroom guys, who are looking to open a music venue in the space that once housed Exit.) But other than the name, not a lot has changed. A few columns have been knocked down, sound systems upgraded, and the annex that was once cluttered with bamboo reeds will now be called the SideBar. The picture above is of the new, awfully familiar-looking VIP mezzanine. After the jump, the new, even more familiar dance floor. —Daniel Maurer CORRECTION, Feb. 22: We've been informed that the above photograph is actually of the SideBar, which does indeed look quite different now that the bamboo has been chucked. Which basically undermines our whole argument here. Sorry about that.

Take the J Train. Please.

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We were standing in the Bowery and Delancey subway station a few minutes before nine last night when we heard the most unusual sound. It wasn't the rumbling of ancient, rusted steel that typically precedes the J/M/Z line's antique subway cars; it was instead a fresh, clean, newly minted sound. It sounded good. Commuters' heads turned. It was a brand-new R160, the sleek train that runs on the L line. Even better, it seemed to want to be there: A bright, bold "J" glowed on each LED screen. The crowd yearned to board. But it was not to be: A sign on each door announced "Test Train - Train Is Not In Service"; it paused for only a brief moment in the station, opened and closed the doors on the wrong side of the train, and trundled off toward Canal Street. We were left with questions. Are new trains really coming to this unloved line? Does this mean Bushwick has been irredeemably gentrified? Will our rent go up? The answers: Maybe. The MTA will say only that they're testing the trains on several lines, and a spokesman wouldn't confirm any J plans. We're still choosing to believe. —Everett Bogue

Is the NYC Condom Sending a Message About NYC Men?

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We're as excited as the next guys about the NYC Condom, unveiled by the Health Department last week. And so we excitedly picked up a few on offer at a local bar the other night. Which is when we noticed something odd: They seemed small. Could it be? Over the weekend we investigated. Unrolled and laid next to the Durex Extra Sensitive, the Gotham's love glove was visibly narrower. A ruler proved our thesis: The New York condom is 52mm at its widest point, compared to 54mm for both the Durex and a Trojan-ENZ (that's the standardish lubricated, non-spermicidal version). The city's sheath was also the shortest. We called the Health Department, prepared to be insulted. But Geoffrey Cowley, the former Newsweek reporter who's now the department's spokesman, assured us that the NYC condoms are the same, standard LifeStyles lubricated sold everywhere. They're not custom-made; they're not even new — only the packaging was redesigned for last week's launch. The city has been distributing the same model, Cowley said, since 2005 and "size hasn't been an issue." What's more important is how you use it, he did not assure us. —Jeff Koyen Earlier: Because There's Nothing Sexier Than the MTA

Hamptons Jury Upholds Volunteer's Right to Kvetch

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It's official: You can kvetch all you want about any organization for which you're a volunteer — your local hospital, Greenpeace, the Democrats — and it's thanks to Pat Lynch. The former NBC reporter sued the Southampton Animal Shelter in 2005, saying it had violated her right to free speech when it fired her from her volunteer duties the year before. A jury sided with her this week, awarding her $251,000. Lynch had been walking the center's dogs and, troubled by conditions there — including how the animals were euthanized — she wrote letters to The Southampton Press expressing her concern, and filed a lawsuit against the shelter. Administrators let her go soon after. "It's a huge decision," her lawyer, Steve Morelli, told New York. "Volunteers don't have to be afraid to speak their mind as long as it's a matter of public concern and they're not disruptive." Good. But if Lynch didn't agree with the shelter's policies, why didn't she just walk away? "I love animals and I wanted to bring about positive change," she says. "When you volunteer, you don't leave your First Amendment rights at the front door." —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Who Moved David Carr's ‘Observer’?

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Take a walk with us through today's headlines on Jim Romenesko's invaluable media-news roundup, won't you? It's the day after the New York Observer introduced its drastically different, long-tabloid design, part of new owner and publisher Jared Kushner's plan to turn the paper into something slightly different and perhaps even profitable. On Romenesko's site, you've got Steve Rattner, once a Times reporter and now a gazillionaire financier, writing in The Wall Street Journal about how the news business must come up with new models if it is to survive and thrive. (New models, like the Observer is introducing!)

Orlando Boosters, PETA Protesters All Disappoint Us

So how was the big Florida–in–Times Square event the Orlando tourism people planned for this morning? And how was the big how-dare-you-bring-tropical-animals- to-this-frigid-climate protest PETA promised? As it turned out, really, really disappointing. On all counts.

One Fewer Reason for Models to Sniffle

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It's not easy to keep underfed women healthy while they toil through sittings and strut endless runways, all at the height of cold-and-flu season. "Everyone gets sick during Fashion Week," says 1 Models president Scott Lipps, whose agency reps Angela Lindvall and Helena Christensen. Enter John McDonald, the restaurateur behind Lever House and Lure Fishbar, who's now in the haute anti-sniffles business, too. He says he has spent the past two years developing E Boost, a slickly packaged powdered drink that contains vitamins B-12 and C, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and amino acids. How'd he get the right mix? "It was hilarious," says McDonald. "I would get white packets from the lab every day and pop them in water. We would see how many particles floated. We thought of adding ginseng, but it clumped.'' The product has been available for only two weeks, but he's distributed it via model agencies and at Grammy events; soon, it'll be aboard NetJets time-share planes and at W hotels. You know, the kinds of places where you simply couldn't pop a comparatively unchic Emergen-C.

Because There's Nothing Sexier Than the MTA

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You thought Cupid never sheathes his arrows? Valentine's Day is apparently also National Condom Day, and so the New York City Health Department chose today to unveil — unfurl? unwrap? roll out? — its new NYC Condoms with a press conference at the Kenneth Cole store in Rockefeller Center. A triumph of branding, the new condom is actually not new at all: It's the same lubricated LifeStyles model of which the city distributed 18 million last year. But, in an area where flashier is no doubt better, the hope is that the new wrapper will increase use and distribution. Cole, who co-chairs the condom campaign and introduced Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden, certainly understands the power of branding: He took the opportunity to unveil Condom Wear, his new line of black boxers and T-shirts with helpful little pockets for the main product. And as for that product? "You can try them on in the dressing room if you want," suggested Cole. We didn't. —Marc Tracy

Ove Is All Around

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We enjoy Google's longstanding tradition of altering the search engine's logo to commemorate various holidays and notable events. But we also wish — today, especially — that the logo designers consistently remembered their company's name includes an L. Other than that, well, Happy Valentine's Day to you, too, Googe.

The March of ‘Radar’

The new Radar arrived in yesterday's mail. We've seen it before, when Roshan & Co. leaked its cover to the Huffington Post's uniquely uncynical media blog, Eat the Press. But actually holding the thing in our hands suddenly brought back memories of so many Radars perdu. And so we took a walk down memory lane, examining all six Radar covers (you can click on them for larger versions) and noticing what's changed and what's stayed the same in the nearly four years — four years! — since the mag's first premiere issue.

Milton Glaser Continues to Love New York

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There was news yesterday that the Empire State Development Corporation, the state's economic-development agency, wants to freshen up the famous "I ♥ New York" ad campaign. "We are looking to actively reenergize and reinvigorate the brand," they said in an ad. The iconic logo was designed in 1977 by Milton Glaser, who also designed New York magazine, which he helped found. We called him yesterday to see how he feels about his baby's impending face-lift.

Introducing Jewish Dolls (Penn Diplomas Not Included)

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As the saying goes, who knew? Seems there's a toy company that makes explicitly Jewish dolls for little Orthodox girls to play with. We know this because we just received a press release announcing that they've come out with a new line of Sephardic playthings, thus augmenting their previously Ashkenazi-centric line. Each doll, the release says, comes with a "10-piece wooden toy Shabbat kit, a Hebrew/English name birth certificate, and matching Magen-David (Star of David) bracelets (for doll and owner)." And, actually, we think those accessories are kind of necessary: Judging from what we found on the Website, we don't quite see how these straight-haired, button-nosed dolls are supposed to be Jewish. Except that they're wearing frum-ish long denim skirts. And come from Teaneck. Gali Girls [Official site]

Pre-Valentine's Product Testing: Do Pheromones Work?

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When the publicist for a company called Pure Romance called last week to offer a pheromone-based perfume called Basic Instinct for potential Valentine's Day coverage, we were, of course, drawn in. So we slapped the stuff on a dedicated New York reporter and sent her down to The Otheroom, in the West Village, to see how it worked. (We also forbade her from paying much heed to the slight allergic reaction it caused on her ears, nose, and throat.) Five men at the bar gave her a whiff. Did it work? Well, at the very least, we now know that telling a man you're wearing pheromones can make an effective pickup line.

Celebrity Restaurateurs: They Get Slow Service Just Like Us!

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When Drew Nieporent — the man behind Nobu, Montrachet, and Tribeca Grill — is at the table next to you, it would seem worth following his lead. And so when we noticed him beside us (thanks, Times Magazine!) for brunch at Geoffrey Zakarian's Café at Country yesterday, we realized we were listening to our neighbors' conversation a little more closely than would normally be polite. He ordered the tartare of beef, and therefore so did we. His arrived, served in a Mason jar along with miniature French bread sticks, and looked damn tasty. We couldn't wait for ours. But wait we did: Almost an hour later, it still hadn't appeared. Nieporent's entrée hadn't either, and so we found ourselves discussing restaurant service with one of the legends of the business.

Valentine's Day Countdown: Step Away From the Roses

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It's nearly Valentine's Day; do you know where the love of your life is? Neither do we. But here's the guidance we learned this week from New York's intrepid band of dating bloggers. • Threesomes are interesting; lasagne is not. Somewhere in Brooklyn, there is a boy who doesn't want to hear about what his friends had for lunch again, ever. Even if eventually the conversation moves on to the fact they're dating bisexuals. [Forksplit] • Subway rides are, ipso facto, unromantic. If you're going to try to experience sexual fantasies on the subway in this weather, of course you're just going to feel like a "huge winter muffin in my 5 degree weather outfit"! But the muffin thing's a start. [Virginist]

Wealthy Objectivists to Hit Road for Conrad Black

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Road trip! Anyone who thinks fallen press-baron Conrad Black is getting a raw deal at the hands of U.S. District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald now has a chance to kibbitz with like-minded souls — as part of a Toronto-Chicago chartered flight (naturally) that will carry supporters to Black's trial in Chicago on March 13. Or at least that's the plan, according to supportlordblack.com, a Website representing "the ad hoc committee for Conrad Black." It's an odd impulse, this: the rush to defend people against criminal charges without knowing the facts (see Martha Stewart). But facts are what trials are for, aren't they? The site is weirdly sincere, but is obviously the work of some of Black's "superior people" contingent — thus the quote from Ayn Rand. Perhaps Black will hand out copies of his upcoming Nixon biography to his fans. — Duff McDonald

Stair Masters

20070207esb_sm.jpg Some 216 brave souls high-stepped it up 86 floors in New York Road Runners 30th Annual Empire State Building Run-Up event yesterday morning. We caught up with four novice runners after they survived 1,576 quad-burning steps and a blast of nine-degree weather as they crossed the finish line on the observation deck — in just their sweat-soaked T-shirts and shorts.

Atoosa.com Launches, America Rejoices!

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Because we obsessively monitor Atoosa Rubenstein's MySpace page to find out how her plan for Internet domination is faring — from her departure from Seventeen through last week, it consisted of ten blog posts, 43,000-plus friends, and a Psychic Kitty initiative we're not even going to get into — we were thrilled to learn when we checked in this morning that the Toos has launched the first phase of Atoosa.com. So far the site consists only of the purty homepage you see at right and, if you follow the sign-up link, a place to, well, sign up. Why should you sign up? She explains:
Join My Tribe
I'm building a new home for our tribe: A place where we can be our fierce, unique and powerful selves - and have each other's backs. Give me your deets (see below) and I'll let you know as soon as it's ready. I know we'll have fun. And sister? I can't wait! You are the power behind this … and me. I will honor our relationship every step of the way.
You know something, sister? Neither can we. Atoosa.com [Official site]