FreshDirect Admits That Something Has Turned SourHey, remember before Christmas when we told you about how FreshDirect was out of many basic products and was having trouble offering prompt delivery times? And how it might have been because of an exodus of illegal immigrant workers after a Homeland Security probe of the company? When we asked a rep for the popular grocery service about the issues, we were cryptically told to “plan ahead and to double-check available times.” Now, though, FreshDirect brass are finally addressing the problem. Regular users with e-mail logins were sent a letter late yesterday telling them that this month, the company is “going to have a harder time meeting your food needs” than usual. The letter explains the labor issues and employee shortages they’ve been battling. Which is all well and good, but if it means we are going to have to carry an entire spiral ham on the M14 bus back from Whole Foods tomorrow, we might just have to move back to the suburbs.
We Ask Shoppers Whether They’re Spending Like Good, Patriotic Americans
The Times reported 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
FreshDirect Snafu Endangers Cookie Plans, LivelihoodsPerhaps, 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?!
in other news
Macy’s Hosts Your Holiday After-partyMacy’s announced this week that they are going to keep eight of their locations, including the Herald Square flagship store, open at all hours of the day and night from December 21 to Christmas Eve. From the Staten Island Advance:
Shoppers will be greeted with the ongoing sales Macy’s has been holding since Black Friday, said spokeswoman Elina Kazan. “The most important thing about being open 24 hours is that it makes shopping convenient to people with different schedules,” she said. “This gives everyone a little extra time.” Company officials have been planning the shopping marathon for months to ensure there is enough manpower and merchandise.
Everyone is saying this is so nice of Macy’s to open the store so everyone, no matter what their time constraints, has a chance to shop. Now, once all the crowds have gone for the day, customers will be able to wade through the dunes of scattered merchandise in peace. What a great Christmas present. And just think of all the homeless people who will have a nice bed of jumbled merino V-neck sweaters!
At Macy’s, A Shopping Marathon [SI Advance]
The ‘Depreciating Asset’ Strikes Back!Last week we printed an e-mail that was going around, in which a banker (and we think we know who) responded to a Craigslist post from a “spectacularly beautiful” woman who was offering a lifetime of sexy servitude to a hedge-fund type in exchange for a life of uptown leisure. The author of the response took issue with the woman’s offer, saying that “in economic terms,” she was a “depreciating asset” because her beauty will fade while he was an “earning asset” because his wealth would continue in perpetuity. It was awful and sexist but funny, so we all laughed and then that was that. But now, the “Depreciating Asset,” or someone claiming to be her, has written a response to the responseon Craigslist.
If your grasp of finance were not a minority partner with your ego, you would realize that the “outflows” associated with my depreciating “assets” are quite certain, and therefore subject to a low discount rate when determining their present value. In addition, though your concept of economics evidentially failed to move past the 1950s, advancement in plastic surgery is not subject to the same limitation.
Whoever the lady is, she’s not as facile with the economics as she would like us to believe — the post reads like she’s consulting a textbook. But she does get in some good ones!
Rosie Perez Loves John Travolta, the Gays*Rosie Perez is chill when it comes to being around the tons of buff, nearly naked men in the current Roundabout Theatre revival of the 1975 gay-bathhouse farce The Ritz, which she stars in as a talentless singer. “At first it was a little shocking, but now I see them naked backstage and I go, ‘Move, excuse me,’” she said last night after the opening. Does the 43-year-old Perez, a native New Yorker, have any memories of Gotham in the seventies? “I remember the blackout in ‘77 and going to see Saturday Night Fever three times and screaming for John Travolta,” she recalls. “And there were a lot of drugs and drug addicts and craziness and sex,” she adds. “It was fabulous.” Hmm. So, has she ever been to a real bathhouse? “Not a bathhouse bathhouse,” she says, “but I did go to a fabulous place on 46th Street called Osaka. You wet-steam, dry-steam, then a 300-pound woman walks on your back. It’s great.” —Tim Murphy
* No, we didn’t write it like that ‘cause we think they’re the same thing. Rumormongers!
Related: Kevin Chamberlin of ‘The Ritz’ Discusses Beefy, Naked Guys [Vulture]
in other news
Someone Counted the Jews in the ‘Vanity Fair’ 100Counting Jews in the Vanity Fair 100, the magazine’s annual list of the world’s most powerful people, is not something any sane publication in New York would be caught dead doing. The Jerusalem Post, however, went to the trouble of separating the chosen from the chaff in their Thursday edition. More than half of the world’s most powerful people are Jewish, according to VF (and the Post), although the methodology is laughably murky in both instances: The listers don’t define “power,” and the parsers don’t define “Jewish.” Take, for instance, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who share No. 3: Do they count as, uh, one or two Jews? Page’s mother is Jewish, which is good enough for the Jerusalem Post even if it’s not for Page himself, who says he’s been raised “in the mold of his father.” (The next indisputably Hebraic contender, Michael Bloomberg, clocks in at No. 9.) The Israeli paper seems more spooked than impressed by the results: If anything, it gingerly notes, Vanity Fair reinforces some of the world’s worst stereotypes by calling attention to “their disproportionate influence in finance and the media.” Of course, should they find such ostentatious triumph unbecoming, the writers are welcome to thumb through the Sports Illustrated Top 500 NFL Players list next.
Jewish Power Dominates at ‘Vanity Fair’ [Jerusalem Post]
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.
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.
in other news
Starting Next Week, Bloomberg Would Like You to Quiet Down, Too
These days you’ll find a Chase branch, not kids with boom boxes, on nearly every corner of the city, but, even so, New York’s not exactly a quiet town: There’ll always be horn-honking, engine-revving, and your downstairs neighbor’s death-metal band practice. But don’t be surprised if all those irritants become a bit more muted next week. Bloomberg’s new noise regulations take effect July 1. Unlike Hizzoner’s smoking and trans-fat bans, the 2005 noise-ordinance tweak attracted surprisingly little, well, noise. The tabloids did decry the supposed silencing of Mr. Softee trucks — they will now be allowed to blast their jingle only while on the move — but even that got only limited traction (mostly because everyone hates the damned jingle).
Arts Club Honors Heatherette — But Why?
What was Heatherette duo Richie Rich and Traver Raines doing being honored by the stuffy old National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South last week? To be honest, no one was quite sure. “I was so taken aback when they called me,” Rich said, looking around him. “It’s like going to Naomi Campbell’s house. I was like, ‘Wow. I’m actually doing something with myself.’” Club president O. Aldon James Jr. explained the rationale: The club wants to be hipper. “They do not need this award,” James said. “Our award needs them.” But were the risqué fashion designers — Heatherette recently brought buttless pants to the runway — the best pick for an institution so unfashionable as to have an old-style dress code? “Oleg Cassini would protest that,” James indignantly replied. “He was a member for 40 years!”
For ‘The Sopranos,’ Everything Must GoThe Sopranos is over, so the show’s producers are having an estate sale. A Silvercup Studios warehouse is selling off set dressing (cash and carry!) all this week. So what’s there? Actually, nothing we recognized. We didn’t see Junior’s kitchen table; we didn’t see Tony’s desk at the Bing. But there were lamps and rugs and placemats aplenty. History only you will recognize, for a small fee! Plus you have to go to Long Island City.
Movie Company Set Dressing and Warehouse Sale [Craigslist]
Related: The Long Con [NYM]
the morning line
New Jersey and You: Skinnier Together
• Channel 7 is back on the air after a Sunday-night fire at its Upper West Side headquarters forced the staff to flee the studio. No victims, but the Live With Regis and Kelly set is kaput. [NYDN]
• It doesn’t take extraordinary political perception to guess that Governor Spitzer and the Senate majority leader Joe Bruno hate each other; leave it to the Times, however, to treat it as an odd-couple comedy setup: “Mr. Spitzer’s eyes pierce. Mr. Bruno’s wink.” [NYT]
• The Circle Line, which runs ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, has unveiled a noiseless electric vessel complete with a “solar sail.” It will be operational in a year and a half, provided the whole green vogue doesn’t blow over. [AP via WCAX]
• New Jersey is launching an Office of Nutrition and Fitness, the nation’s first; the Garden State leads the nation in obese children under 5 (a stunning 17.7 percent). [NYP]
• And who’s paying for the slimming of N.J. kids? Well, maybe you: Governor Corzine is considering a tax hike that will put the end to the state’s famously low gas prices and institute more toll roads. [amNY]
show and talk
It’s a Steal! Fashionable sources tell us that some Marc Jacobs bags are on sale at his Mercer Street store today. The Mixed Chain pouchette and handbag are starting at $200. Get down there!