The Timesreported earlier this week that nationwide sales of women’s clothes are “unusually bleak” this holiday season, thanks to the slowing economy and weak fashions. As with most everything else, we wondered whether this “ominous” sign for year-end retail revenue applied to those great American exceptionalists, New Yorkers. And so we put some questions to them — plus a couple of bargain-hunting Euros — as they shopped. —Kendall Herbst
This morning, Wednesday, December 19, 2007, Jennifer Cannon and Doy Nichols of Lexington, Kentucky, were married in the Charmin toilets in Times Square. Well, not in them, near them. The bride was wearing a toilet-paper wedding dress handmade using the Charmin brands Ultra Soft and Ultra Strong, and the groom was wearing a suit hand-knitted exclusively using thread made from the extraordinarily fibrous feces of Charmin bears Amy and Leonard, who also bore witness to the joyous occasion. As Jennifer and Doy pledged their eternal love, friends and family from their hometown expressed their delight by tossing scraps of toilet paper at the happy couple. Then everyone ate cake. Near the toilets. Okay, we were kidding about the poop suit. But the rest is too, too real.
Perhaps, last weekend, you were thinking of making some cookies for your officemates. You were going to give them out this week, before everybody left for the holiday. So you woke up on Saturday morning and you logged on to FreshDirect to order the ingredients. Except, to your surprise, they were out of chocolate chips. And nearly out of flour. And running low on sugar. And then, when you tried to schedule a delivery time, you learned that the soonest they could get your modest ingredients to you was four days from then. You may have been irritated. You may have been outraged. You may have even gone to the grocery store. See, readers, this week there's something amiss with FreshDirect, and it's going to get in the way of your food planning. They're out of many of their staples, and they don't have any available delivery openings. It may be the holiday season, but it's practically unbearable. What could be worse?!
We make no judgments on Grub Street. We got this e-mail earlier today and read it with raised eyebrows and no great credulousness:
My husband and I were at the New York restaurant, Maze @ the London Hotel tonight 12-18-07. We were so upset. He had four clients he was taking out. At one point one of the clients noticed that there were two prostitutes at the bar, trying to pick up men. When my husband's guest complained to the staff, they became hostile and asked us to leave. When we talked to the hotel staff, they informed us that, "This happens all the time, You need to talk to the management of Gordon Ramsey." We were very upset — how could they let that go on? It's almost like they were getting a cut of their action. We will never dine at a Gordon Ramsey Rest. We spend $800, and had to watch a common prostitute pick up her johns. It was very ugly, shame on Gordon Ramsey and Shame on the London.
Shame indeed! But we have no idea if it was even true. We can never tell prostitutes in hotel bars even when we’re talking to them, let alone from at a table faraway. So we asked the restaurant’s PR agency, who got back to us with this response.
Astoria: La Flor de Puebla on Astoria Boulevard between Steinway and 38th Street makes a mean carnitas taco. [Joey in Astoria]
East Village: Peter Hoffman of Back Forty (and Savoy) reveals to Frank Bruni that he "once served a watercress salad to Richard Olney, my mentor and culinary hero, only to discover upon going to his table to see how he liked it that we had also served him a rubber band." [Diner's Journal/NYT]
Harlem: Only 3 percent of bodegas in the nabe carry leafy green vegetables, so Mayor Bloomberg's coming to the rescue. No wonder Mizrahi loves him. [NYS via Uptown Flavor]
Park Slope: The end of Donuts Coffee Shop on Fifth Avenue is near; Associated Supermarket is about to swallow up the landmark diner. [The Gowanus Lounge]
West Village: It's a Q&A kind of day: Centro Vinoteca and newly anointed Gusto chef Anne Burrell says her trademark "cowgirl skirts are a good luck charm when we do Iron Chef … I figure if all the old ladies in Italy wear dresses in the kitchen, why can't I wear a skirt in NYC?" Though she may not have seen our kitchen fashions for the preening chef. [Restaurant Girl] Gusto is also hosting a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, which includes this recipe for zuppa di pesce. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Carroll Gardens: Some people feel that the paltry number of holiday lights strung up on Court Street is really shameful. And they ain't too proud to blog about it. [Lost City]
Dumbo: It just became the city's 90th landmark district! Those hulking industrial piles turned boutique lofts will be preserved into perpetuity! Huzzah! [NYS]
East Harlem: Don Imus is kicking in a quarter-mil for an ecofriendly health center up here, saying it's shameful that such a small hood has such high asthma rates. [Newsday via Uptown Flavor]
We're riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants along the way.Katz’s, the Carnegie, and the 2nd Avenue Deli are the pride of Manhattan, but Ben’s Best still belongs to Rego Park. Get off the V at 63rd Drive, walk past Wiggles strip club, and there you are.
Sylyse Rivera touts his “urban-hipster blend” in this week’s Video Look Book. The pierced hairstylist is now turning his stylish eye to his three-month-old puppy, Asia. “I’m getting her into fashion, too,” Rivera says, though she can’t fit into the Timberlands he loves so much.
Sylese Rivera [Video Look Book]