Kate Middleton Quits Fashion — Soon to Be Engaged?FASHION
• Princely girlfriend Kate Middleton quit her job at fashion chain Jigsaw, sparking rumors of an imminent engagement! [British Vogue]
• Daria Werbowy is doing a line of makeup for Lancôme that benefits a Brazilian children’s charity. Hot and philanthropic? Sigh. [Fashionista]
• Surprise, surprise: This holiday shopping season is gonna suck for retailers. [NYT]
the morning line
Three Punished for Deutsche Deaths
• More than a week after the Deutsch Bank blaze killed two firefighters, three FDNY honchos have been reassigned for failing to regularly inspect the building or come up with a plan to fight a fire there. [NYT]
show and talk
Saks Loads Up on Logos at New Shoe Department
The new shoe department at Saks opened this morning, and, much as we’d love to gush about it, we can’t. Don’t get us wrong: It’s nice. It’s very nice, and it’s a major upgrade from the well-to-do-suburban-mom- attempting-to-be-fashionable selection the store formerly offered. But we’re shoe addicts, and we were expecting more. The floor was buzzing with camera crews, waiters were serving breakfast munchies, and salespeople were announcing every two seconds how proud they were of the new space. They had the patent-leather Miu Miu spectators for sale, and the two-tone Pradas with the curved heel. They even had our knee-high Chloé boots, with the gold zipper going up the calf. But what they also had was way too many logos for our taste: Gucci, Chanel, and Dior; sneakers, loafers, and ballet flats.
There Goes the Neighborhood: Longstanding UWS Lefty Emporium to Close
Isn’t the Upper West Side — especially the upper reaches of the eighties and into the nineties (and well into the hundreds) — supposed to be for lefty intellectual sorts following familiar routines in their sprawling, rent-controlled prewars? Not anymore, it increasingly seems. The owners of Liberty House, a neighborhood fixture on Broadway and 92nd, posted a sign two days ago announcing it will close its doors after 39 years in business, leaving area residents wondering where they’ll find antiwar posters, jewelry handmade by local artisans, and Frida Kahlo tchotchkes.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Crowds
Harry Potter fans thronged the Union Square Barnes & Noble Friday night, in advance of the 12:01 a.m. Saturday release of the seventh and final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Is it just us, or is it starting to seem like New Yorkers spend all their free time these days waiting on line to buy things? Feh.
The Scene at Harry Potter Midnight Madness, Union Square [Vulture]
Little Britain: We’ll Close Our Eyes and Think of CakeOh, thank God. Turns out our little conversation with the Little Britain people didn’t end yesterday afternoon, as we feared it would. Not at all. They still like us, they assured us last night. They really still like us! And now they’re offering us cake (and using fun Britishisms):
From: info@ campaignforlittlebritain.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:26:25 PM
You know we love you.
You’d definitely have a point if all the business on the block hadn’t signed individual letters of support, if we hadn’t collected over 1,000 signatures in person in the stores, if we hadn’t received over 90 letters of thanks from community groups we’ve supported over the last year, if a fine, upstanding pillar of the community hadn’t spoken in support at the Community Board 2 meeting. But they all did.
Ceci N’est Pas un Sac en Plastique
We have no idea why people would line up outside a grocery store — in the rain! — to buy a fancy shopping bag. (Which, mind you, back in our day used to be something you got for free, in your choice of paper or plastic.) But people did, inexplicably. And, just so you know, this is what the things look like.
Related: Welcome to Whole Foods Market Bowery [WholeFoodsMarket.com]
Happy Birthday, FreshDirect: A Misty, Water-Colored Look at Five Years of Grocery Delivery
FreshDirect, the (largely) beloved grocery-delivery service, turns five today. It’s hard to believe it’s been along that long — doesn’t time fly when you’re noshing on home-delivered organic vegetables? To mark the milestone, the company suspended deliveries for the day, so that its employees could have a picnic. (Yikes. What about the rain?) We know more than one person distraught that they wouldn’t be able to get their order today, but, surprisingly, when we started asking around the office we discovered that seemingly as many people who don’t much care for Freshy D as those who can’t do without it. After the jump, four New Yorkers reflections on five years of FreshDirect — two who love it, one who doesn’t like it, and one who hates it.
99 Cents? Feh! For You, 50 Cents
Idly flipping though Flickr photos of New York this afternoon, we happened across this one in Zlatko Unger’s photostream, and it made us smile. It’s a mashup of icons: B&H Photo, clearly, as if shot by Andreas Gursky.
the morning line
• It’s down to the wire — the deadline for the legislature to approve Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing plan is today — and the still-unbowed mayor is pulling out all stops: Yesterday, he campaigned for it in three churches, fer chrissakes. [NYT]
West Village Rents Swallow PB&J
The decidedly quirky children’s store Peanutbutter & Jane, a nook near the corner of Hudson and Jane Streets for 26 years, closed its doors this weekend, the victim — like many other longtime West Village retailers — of wildly increasing rents. There was no formal celebration, but if you stopped by the shop Saturday afternoon — the last day of the month, and of the lease — there was plenty of misty-eyed reminiscence from nostalgic customers and grandmotherly clerks. “We’ve had customers coming in here for generations,” manager Timmie Reilly said. For the first time in decades, walls were visible in the typically hypercluttered shoebox of a store. Gone was the ruffle of tutus that previously hung from the ceiling, and only two pairs of ruby slippers remained. Moving men hauled off a shelf, and the now-antique light fixtures were sold to a dealer.
So the iPhone went on sale Friday afternoon; America rejoiced, God smiled, and people who’d been waiting on line for three days could finally go take a shower. (We must say our favorite touch is the line of what seem to be Apple employees at left, applauding the dude for, you know, shopping.) Funny thing: After all the hysteria and lines and waiting and so forth, our friend walked into an AT&T store Saturday afternoon, bought an iPhone, and left in about a half-hour.
UPDATE: Aforementioned friend IMs: “Errata! I was in and out of Apple Store in 5 minutes.” Apparently reporting over drinks late on Saturday night doesn’t always yield complete accuracy. Who knew?
Earlier: Daily Intel’s we’re-giving-Steve-Jobs-exactly- what-he-wants iPhone coverage.
it happened this week
iPhone Is Here
This week’s issue of New York is a double issue, which means no issue next week, which means no “It Happened This Week” today. But that’s okay; we don’t need one. We all know what happened this week: The iPhone went on sale. iPhone! iPhone! iPhone iPhone iPhone. Remember how a few hours ago we told you there was virtually no line at several AT&T stores? Yeah, we just checked the one closest to the office — that’s at Madison and 46th — and, well, not so much anymore.
Countdown to iPhone: Reach Out and Touch an AT&T Store
Sure, people have been camped out for days in front of the Apple Stores. But they’ll be selling iPhones at AT&T stores, too, and — according to a spot check just performed by New York’s intrepid interns — Ma Bell is the place to be. At noon today there were 197 people on line in front of the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street; a dozen blocks south at the AT&T store at Fifth and 47th, eight people were waiting. After the jump, line lengths at six Manhattan iPhone locations, along with whatever other information we could glean.
So This Is Christmas
“X-Mas Came Early This Year” says the sign on the Christmas tree planted in front of the Soho Apple store. Being of the more Hanukkish persuasion, we’re not entirely up on every last Christmas tradition. But somehow we’ve always imagined snowy lawns, warm beds, and roaring fires — not steamy sidewalks, sleeping in chairs, and occasional pouring rain. Did we misunderstand something?
Earlier: Daily Intel’s we-realize-we’re-just-as-bad-as- they-are ongoing iPhone coverage.
Walking the iPhone Line
The iPhone! This afternoon! Yay. New York contributor Tim Murphy stopped by the Fifth Avenue Apple Store yesterday to check in with the crazies lined up on the sidewalk. What drives them to wait on line for this piece of technology? “It’s all about picking up girls, man,” one dude tells Tim. “You just pull that thing out, and that’s what it’s about.” Ain’t that always the way?
Street Level: iPhone Debut [NYM]
Countdown to iPhone: Someone Left the Line Out in the Rain
You know what’s tons of fun? Sleeping out for three days to get an overpriced cell phone! You know what’s even more fun? Sleeping out in the pouring rain for an overpriced cell phone!
Patrick and Ryan Brave the First Storm [Flickr via Gridskipper]
Earlier: Daily Intel’s team coverage of the iPhone.
in other news
Countdown to iPhone: Two Important Thumbs Mostly Up
Been feeling smug lately, looking down at your friends who’d drank the Apple Kool-Aid? Convinced yourself that the phone wasn’t going to be all that? That you’d wait for the second generation? (“First-generation Apple products always suck” may be the single sentence we’ve heard most in downtown bars these last few days.) Yeah, well, the reviews are out today, and it looks like the crazies were right.
“But even in version 1.0, the iPhone is still the most sophisticated, outlook-changing piece of electronics to come along in years. It does so many things so well, and so pleasurably, that you tend to forgive its foibles. In other words, maybe all the iPhone hype isn’t hype at all. As the ball player Dizzy Dean once said, ‘It ain’t bragging if you done it.’” —David Pogue, New York Times
“Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer. Its software, especially, sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry, and its clever finger-touch interface, which dispenses with a stylus and most buttons, works well, though it sometimes adds steps to common functions.” —Walt Mossberg and Katherine Boehret, The Wall Street Journal
And at 3 p.m. this afternoon — that’s 51 hours before the thing goes on sale — ten people were queued up in front of the Fifth Avenue Apple store. It’s 92 degrees out.
Earlier: Daily Intel’s coverage of the iPhone.
Related: Steve Jobs in a Box [NYM]
Countdown to iPhone: In Brooklyn, TooIn this week’s New York, Tom Samiljan listed five places in Manhattan to find a new iPhone — and analyzed your chances of actually being able to get one from each. But there are, after all, four other boroughs, and now the good people at mcbrooklyn offer up six spots in the Borough of Kings for you to buy a shiny new toy. Will they have more stock? Will they have shorter lines? Who knows. Good luck. (No, we have no joke or commentary here. An event this momentous deserves straight-ahead service, don’t you think?)
Where to Buy an iPhone in Brooklyn [mcbrooklyn]
Related: How to Buy an iPhone [NYM]
in other news
Countdown to iPhone: The Lines Begin
What hope does a covetous indie-film star have? The iPhone doesn’t go on sale till 6 p.m. Friday, but as Racked reports, queues at the midtown and Soho Apple stores started forming yesterday. Here, the first guy on line at each location. (We suspect this isn’t the first time the guy in midtown has slept out for days for something.) Good luck, kids.
iPhrenzy: The First People in Line [Racked]
License to Spam
The International Licensing Expo opened at the Javits Center yesterday, and apparently the event requires great quantities of Spam. We do know not if this is because its makers wish to license the meatish product or because they wish to serve it. Either way, we’re mildly repulsed.
show and talk
Feathers and Ruffles and Discounts! Cavalli to Design for H&M
Shoppers, mark your calendars. On November 8, H&M will unveil a new collaboration with Roberto Cavalli, the chain announced this morning. “The Roberto Cavalli collections represent an exuberant, successful lifestyle,” H&M’s design chief, Margareta van den Bosch, said in the announcement — which is something of an understatement. Cavalli has cultivated a notoriously wild aesthetic — his latest collection featured cowboy hats, leopard-print trapeze coats, skintight, sequined gowns, and jodhpurs — and one wonders how H&M’s mass clientele will react. Should we expect watered-down versions of these outrageous efforts, or will Cavalli stretch outside his trademark sensibility and design for everywoman? His canned quotes shed no light. “I love freedom and challenges: breaking down barriers, experimenting in different directions,” he said in the statement. The new collection “will add a dash of festivity and dreams.” Of course. —Kendall Herbst
The Strand Turns 80
The Strand Bookstore turns 80 tomorrow, all eighteen miles of it. It was founded by Ben Bass on what was then Book Row — Fourth Avenue, from Astor Place to Union Square, was home to 48 bookstores. Today the Strand is the only survivor, relocated around the corner, to Broadway and 12th Street, and the store is run by the next two generations of Basses, Fred — who took over management in 1956 — and his daughter, Nancy. After the jump, Bass reminisces about famous customers and famous books, and explains why he likes being surrounded by Barnes & Noble stores.
Morningside Heights to Lose Its Magazine Shop
Two inexorable facts of New York life these days — the slow death of print media and the fast rise of rents — are claiming another victim. Global Ink — the ne plus ultra of Upper West Side magazine shops and one of the most well stocked in Manhattan — will shut its doors next month after eight years at Broadway and 112th Street. The store, admittedly, had all the charm of a Kmart, with faux-wood floors and blinding halogen lights, but it was one of the few still around that carried something for everyone with an interest in the printed word, from Bonsai Today to Military Machines International to WAD. The owner, Essam Moussa, blames rapacious magazine distributors for his store’s demise, but he also noted in a farewell letter posted Thursday that technology has “reduced the need for hand held publications.” Great. So this is now partially our fault, too? Sigh. —Tayt Harlin
Morris Brothers No More
And another landmark store bites the dust. Morris Brothers, the sportswear purveyor on 84th Street and Broadway, which has been selling the required T-shirts, tube socks, and name tapes to campgoing youngsters on the Upper West Side for the past six decades, unveiled new window displays this week and they’re not pretty. Banners proclaiming final sales because of their imminent departure from the neighborhood were unfurled. According to local buzz, the rent for the 5,000-square-foot space has more than doubled, sending the owners packing. No word yet on what’ll set up shop there once the sale ends in July, but we’d be happy to start a pool: bank branch, Starbucks, or nail salon? Heck, it’s a big enough space, maybe all three! —S. Jhoanna Robledo
RIP, IsabellaThe death of Isabella Blow by either cancer or suicide dominated conversation at the Costume Institute Gala last night. (We’ve got a Costume Institute slideshow and a tribute to Blow by Harriet Mays Powell and Amy Larocca.) Tom Brokaw won’t return to the anchor’s seat at NBC News despite the network’s slip in the ratings. While out shopping, Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson had difficulty getting into Tom Ford’s new store. The widow of Dr. Robert Atkins is embroiled in a legal battle for her late husband’s $100 million trust. Rosie O’Donnell is angling for the host slot on The Price Is Right. Amy Poehler and Will Arnett upgraded their West Village digs. Dan Abrams broke some cuff links, so he had to use dental floss to fasten plastic clips on his shirt. Like every other actor in New York, Cynthia Nixon will appear on an episode of Law & Order.
show and talk
‘Runway’ Winner Dao to Design for Neiman’s?Project Runway’s second-season winner Chloe Dao is in talks with Neiman Marcus about designing a line for the high-end department store, Tim Gunn said earlier this week. “Chloe wants to contain kind of a bubble of a career, and she has it,” Gunn told us at the Parson benefit the other night. “I mean it’s not going to be overnight, immediate commercial success, only because of the daunting aspects of production and how you wind all that up and seize the market.” Gunn heard the news from Neiman’s execs; Dao’s rep at Lizzie Grubman PR declined comment on any deals in the works but could announce one to design iPod accessories for a different Texas-based company. “She likes her life,” Gunn said. “She likes living in Houston. She manages it well, and I’m really proud of her.” —Amy Odell
the morning line
Bloomberg Goes for Mexican
• The mayor is visiting Tepoztlán, Mexico — the site of the slightly kooky, yet reportedly very effective, cash-for-good-behavior program that he’s hoping to implement here. Hey, if it’s good for Tepoztlán …NYT]
• NYU Student Council president Meredith Dolgin, 21, is in hot water for (a) tampering with elections, (b) using school funds for a personal trip, and (c) getting her own grandmother a paid speaking engagement at the university. [NYP]
• We may get to read more by former journalist Peter Braunstein. His journal has been deemed admissible at his trial, and it reportedly contains detailed plans for the costumed kidnapping and assault that made him infamous. [NYDN]
• It’s not all luxury condos for Brooklyn: A blockwide affordable-housing complex will be built in Fort Greene, the city says. More than 300 apartments of the 434 total units will be subsidized. [amNY]
• And, here’s an idea how to save Little Italy: high-end Italian boutiques! A neighborhood activist, working with the Medici Foundation, wants Armani, Fendi, et al, to give Mulberry a “Little Milan” tinge. Too bad they’re all five blocks away, on West Broadway. [MetroNY]