Alexander Poulus was working as an engineer five years after graduating from NYU, but when his uncle Gus, the founder of Papaya King, offered to bring him into the company, he couldn't refuse. For 35 years, he has seen the Upper East Side location (which is about to celebrate its 75th anniversary) through stolen tip jars, windows shattered by brawling drunks, and of course the snappy service of countless hot dogs that are “Tastier Than Filet Mignon.”
Hill Country BBQ, we've learned from owner Mark Glosserman, has officially signed its lease and begun construction at 30 West 26th Street, just a few blocks from Blue Smoke and RUB . Isn’t it bad medicine to open so close to a pair of established, busy barbecues? Says Glosserman: “It's a great spot, and the price was right, and we're in a big office building, so there will be a lot of traffic even though it's a side street. We have a lot of faith in our product.” No doubt. But we actually like Hill Country's chances. New Yorkers have shown a willingness to go the extra mile to eat great barbecue: Daisy May's BBQ sat on a desolate stretch of Eleventh Avenue and didn't even have tables; RUB ran out of meat every night; Blue Smoke barely had any smoke flavor during its first year, as a result of chimney malfunction. Glosserman hired the best barbecue cooker in the city, Robert Richter. If Hill Country delivers the goods, New Yorkers will support it … right?
• Brooklyn:Get the borough man in your life a Brooklyn Girls calendar (right). But only if he likes white girls. [Trendy Nation via Sunset Parker]
• Chelsea: The Limelight is resurrected as retail space. So instead of a "drug supermarket," it will just be an actual market. [NYP]
• Clinton Hill: Find all the bars, restaurants, and stores on this new neighborhood map. [Clinton Hill Blog]
• Coney Island: Will Big Apple Circus get a permanent performance space on the boardwalk? [Brooklyn Eagle via Gowanus Lounge]
• Fort Greene: If the weekend's "Merry Gridlock" event protesting Atlantic Yards is any indication of the traffic from Atlantic Yards, we're screwed. Good thing the vote is delayed till next year. [Dope on the Slope]
• Williamsburg: Ride your bike to the Bedford Avenue L station. With wider sidewalks and new bike racks, there will be plenty of room. [Streetsblog]
We are, apparently, in the money. Charlie Rangel hasn't yet taken over the House Ways and Means Committee, and yet already New York is getting the means to improve our ways. Today's papers report that the U.S. Department of Transportation has given final approval to some $2.6 billion in funding for two major New York transit projects. The Second Avenue subway — pardon us, the T line — will get $693 million of federal money. (Does this mean freelance writer Jane Everhart will get to keep her apartment?) And the East Side Access project, which will linking the LIRR to Grand Central will get $2.6 billion from the Feds, the most money ever earmarked to a mass-transit project. It's weird: It's almost like Washington wants to stay on our good side or something.
Long Planned, Transit Projects Get U.S. Help [NYT]
Now that we know Judith Regan was fired from HarperCollins over a volley of anti-Semitic remarks, it strikes us that with the recent bumper crop of Great Moments in Racism — Michael Richards–gate, Rosie-gate, Mel Gibson Über alles — our culture has found a new cottage industry: Awesome excuses for Great Moments in Racism. And nearly all of them have shown up already in the Regan affair. After the jump, a cheat sheet for spinning your next ching chong.