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It’s Prom Night!

Which means New York youths can look forward to an evening of bad sex, alcohol poisoning, and class anxiety!

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Park Avenue Café Waiter Says He Was Discriminated Against for Not Drinking Wine

Parke Avenue Winter
A little over a week ago, we broke the news that Park Avenue Café (currently Park Avenue Winter) is being sued by employees who claim they were forced to participate in illegal tip-pooling and discriminated against because they were South Asian. The Sun now reports that a court has allowed former employee Mohammed Rahman to bring a suit on behalf of nonwhite employees at Park Avenue Café, but stopped short of allowing a class-action suit against parent chain Smith & Wollensky. One of the reasons Rahman claims he was given a hard time, and eventually fired, is that he didn’t drink alcohol and so couldn’t taste wine — which has to be the first time someone has been canned for not drinking on the job. Related: Park Avenue Winter Experiences Legal Discontent

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John Thain Keeps His Cool, Continues to Be Hot

Thain
Our new boyfriend, Zeppelin-loving new Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, seems to be keeping his cool remarkably well, despite his firm's announcement yesterday that it was writing down $14.6 billion and lost nearly $10 billion, which caused its stock to drop 10 percent and fueled the growing perception that the economy is, or is about to be, in the shitter. But why shouldn't he be calm? After all, "I didn't cause this problem," he told the Journal today. But he does plan to solve it: by expanding international operations, and adopting some of the hierarchical strategies of his former employer, Goldman Sachs. Thain's hired Noel Donahue to run risk management and hopes to hire former Goldman co-head of sales and trading Tom Montag (no relation to Heidi). "The problem is not a zero, but it is for the most part behind us," Thain told the Journal. Can Thain, with his Clark Kent good looks and cool-headed fixer attitude, transform into Superman, steer Merrill back on course, and save us all? We kind of think maybe. Oh, and there's good news for media Chicken Littles, too: The Journal didn't bring up the poop incident, which we take to mean that Rupert Murdoch hasn’t wrapped his soft hands around their editorial coverage just yet. Merrill's Risk Manager [WSJ] Related: Setting The Story Straight On The Merrill Bonus Rage [Dealbreaker] Related:Who Is NYSE CEO John Thain? [NYM]

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The ‘Post’ Has a Giant, Crazy Crush

New York Post
Okay. We love the Post. We really do. And not even just the ironic way we "loved" it yesterday when a homeless person in a wheelchair was masturbating on the subway while we were on our way to work, and his shoe fell off and nobody on the train even noticed. Like, we actually look forward to the Post every day. But we have to say, there's something a little demented about its Giants coverage. At the beginning of the week, the tabloid devoted its entire cover to a Jessica Simpson look-alike, who they claim distracted Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo into losing Sunday's game (Romo, for those of you lucky enough not to know, is dating the real Simpson and she's been credited with giving him bad luck when she attends games). This one stunt wasn't enough, though. They took the poor girl to New York this week on a victory tour, with an online video on Tuesday and another article on Wednesday. And now today, the paper has another superstitious trick up its sleeve. After reports that the manager of a TV station in Green Bay, Wisconsin, will yank Eli Manning's favorite show, Seinfeld, from the airwaves while the Giants are in town to play the Packers, the Post talked Jerry Seinfeld himself into sending the Giants quarterback a complete DVD set. Seinfeld said he'd also be "dispatching George Costanza to be the new traveling secretary for the Packers." (Those of you who are fans of the show will get the reference.) It's funny coverage, sure, but it's just kind of getting lazy at this point. In fact, one of the "Giants fans" they quoted at the end of the article works for the Post. Come on, guys. Isn't there a brilliant pun headline you could have come up with instead of all of this? Or maybe a Photoshopped picture of Tom Brady's head on McLovin's body? YADDA YADDA YADDA [NYP] Related Which Episode of 'Seinfeld' Should Eli Watch Before He Loses to the Packers? [Vulture]

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Leaked: More Nonsense From the Mars Volta

It's definitely too early in the morning to effectively judge the merits of a new Mars Volta record, but suffice to say that anyone who's still interested in these guys probably knows what he's in for.

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Bobby Fischer, Eccentric Chess Champion, Dies at 64

Bobby Fischer
The story of international grand chess master Bobby Fischer has a lot of New York highlights. Fischer grew up and learned chess in Brooklyn, and for those not old enough to remember his iconic role in the Cold War, the Washington Square Park scenes from the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer are a cultural touchstone. In his later years, while living in exile, he turned against the city and America. After the September 11 attacks, he announced on the radio: "This is all wonderful news. I applaud the act." When Fischer died yesterday, at age 64, it was far from his childhood home, in Reykjavik, Iceland. "The tragedy is that he left this world too early, and his extravagant life and scandalous statements did not contribute to the popularity of chess," chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov said of him. "He single-handedly revitalized a game that had been stagnating under the control of the Communists of the Soviet sports hierarchy." Chess Champion Bobby Fischer Dies [Guardian]

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