Monday, October 21, 2013

At the Stage

The building that houses the Stage Restaurant has been sold, reported EV Grieve, supposedly to a bunch of "young guys" who were talking about clearing out the business.

The Stage still has 6 years on its lease, but we know how that goes, especially when "young guys" are in the picture. 



So I went for lunch to soak up the atmosphere while it lasts. Locals, regulars, working men in hard hats, people speaking Polish. And then a couple of young guys walked in.

They weren't the young guys. They looked like NYU kids. They took a seat, ordered borscht and "holy bread." They meant challah, but I guess they didn't know the name or how to say it. And then they started talking.

First, I've noticed that young people in New York today talk about two things, generally: (1) Work: usually something about "marketing" and/or "advertising," about which they're very, very excited, and (2) Technology: often involving Apple products. Overhearing them talk to each other in a restaurant often sounds like this, "Marketing, marketing, iPhone, marketing, iPad, advertising, marketing, iPhone." It's painfully boring. I wish they'd read a book or see a movie or talk about anything that might indicate they have minds of their own and aren't, in reality, robots.



Anyway, these two young guys are eating their borscht with "holy bread" and talking with great excitement and conviction about both marketing and technology. Here's what they had to say:

Young Guy 1: "It's convenient. Even more convenient than going to the actual bookstore."

Young Guy 2: "In New York you can find pretty much everything locally, but there's a lot more value in going online to find it."

Young Guy 1: "It's a better experience, and that's why it holds up. Now we're figuring out how to build in single user utility."



What is it with young guys? Why don't they value the city as it exists?

To them and the ones who just bought the Stage's building: Leave New York alone. Leave the Stage alone. And for chrissakes, learn how to say challah.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

For whatever reason young people now, it seems to me have *zero* sense of adventure. Why they come to New York in the first place, I have no idea. When your whole life is digital products and a career in marketing and/or advertising I see very little purpose in actually being here. You can do that anyplace. It's like kids in their 20s these days are skipping the the young adult phase and moving directly to middle-aged or boring suburban adult phase. Remember the J. R. 'Bob' Dobbs character? That's what they remind me of. Suburban, pipe in mouth, salesmen. I'm 20 years older than most of these people but I feel younger than all of them. I'd like to think my youth wasn't wasted in a dull, generic existence.

Brendan said...

To avoid those conversations you need to get out of downtown Manhattan! Easier said than done, I know...

Anonymous said...

The only constant is change.

Ken Mac said...

I tend to hear conversations about real estate, "we did the deal," "they caved," on and on with such greedy idiocy. More stunning is the chatter from young women, and often of a sex nature: "not even an emotional fucking!" exclaimed one, and a few weeks ago:"and then I said "I won't fuck you because I don't just give it away.'" I hear this talk all the time, and it freaks me out. Get a room girls

Goggla said...

Sigh. The Stage is my favorite place to be because of the experience. I love the staff, who are always friendly and welcoming, and I usually love the customers, who are funny and interesting. If I'm ever having a bad day or just want to have good company, I hit the Stage and my spirit is resurrected. I just hope those young guys found some value in their real-life experience...




Anonymous said...

Please, let me tell you about a Florida kid at NYU I knew who, twenty-five years ago, insisted on telling me all about the new hot-spot, the "KHAI EF" where all the club kids went after hours. Turned out he was referring the now late, lamented Kiev, which had been dishing out Kasha Varnishkes, fruit compote and pea soup to weary New Yorkers for decades before. Preserve us from out-of-town hipsters and greedy devlopers, they'll be the death of the city.

Anonymous said...

Why can't they be like we were
Perfect in every wayyyy
WHAT'S the matter with kids todayyyy??

laura r. said...

anon you are wrong. there were many young people like that yrs ago way before internet, cellphones, answering machines, etc. they just were not in the east village. they were working in midtown, lived on the upper east side, or long island. the EV was a bad slum, not too popular for investments. you forget the world cant exist w/out business. the conversations were as boring 40 or 50 yrs ago as now. they talked numbers, stats, profit margins. its a fantacy that everyone in the old days, everyone was a hippy beatnik punk or what ever. most young people were BOR-ing as i remember. just as boring as the boys in the restaurant, when you add tech talk to the mix its really annoying.

Marty Wombacher said...

I once got into an argument with some kids in a bar about how the internet is killing so much stuff and I used the example of how they have killed record stores. One of the kids countered with, "The internet is responsible for the biggest record store in the world, it's called, iTunes."

I drank my beer, left and abandoned all hope for the future.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Obviously, I get that the Internet has its wonderful uses. I use it quite a bit. But why live in a city where you can find everything, if you think the Internet is superior? Why not go live in East Buttfuck Nowhere, order everything from the Internet, and let New York be New York?

Jeremiah Moss said...

Also, agreed, these conversations might not happen as much outside of downtown Manhattan, Chelsea, et al., and they do also talk A LOT about real estate. Constantly.

JAZ said...

Marty - I've had very similar uhh 'discussions' as that at bars, and I'm always amazed that they give these answers with a straight face. Then 5 minutes later they are ALL silently looking straight down at their I-phones texting - I can only assume it's about 'some idiot they met that thinks record & book stores mean something to a community, and spending the next hour tweeting about what an awesome time they are having at this cool spot they discovered.

Vince Neilstein said...

Come on, Jeremiah, this post smacks of "You kids get off my lawn!" You were once young, too, and the generation that was your elders, back then, derided whatever it was that you were talking about. Let kids be kids and mold NYC into whatever they want it to be. As one commenter above already said, the only constant in NYC is change. Complaining about what "kids these days" are talking about just makes you seem old and out of touch, which undermines your argument.

Anonymous said...

Gee, imagine what it's like to come of age in a time when all the real estate, all the *everything* has been gobbled up by people three times your age who now do nothing but complain that you are focused on money and don't want to keep everything exactly as it was when they were your age. If anyone ruined the planet, it was the "baby boomers."

laura r. said...

"J" dont forget, NYC is the place for the movers & shakers. wall street, realestate etc. yes you will hear more of that talk here, rather than small town USA. its UN fortunate that the EV/WV has changed, become a mini version of midtown. you may as well be on 6th ave & 50th in a glass highrise! i remember way way back when the boys from brooklyn/midwest were looking to invest. midtown/1st/2nd ave e.80s were the hot places. now things are moving faster. now what will happen w/the "stage"? do tell. can you get a sandwich or not???

Caleo said...

This post is about 2 separate issues. First, the potential end of the great Stage restaurant. That will be painful. a I'm sick of hearing people wave off all the gentrification with the " everything changes " noise. No shit- everything changes. The question in regards to Stage is... why is it changing ? Who is changing it, as in, making it go away forever ? Stage is a tiny sliver of a city that no longer exists. So that tiny sliver takes on great importance, and when the final few scraps of a different New York have been swept away and replaced by another fly- by- night bistro/wine bar/ lounge, something important has been lost. You can try to ignore that, or react to it with apathy, but it doesn't make it any less true.
The next point is about the over-digitilized youth of today. Their continuous texting about virtual lives is all you need to know about them. They are a part of the great digital hive mind, and don't seem much interested in anything outside of the hive mind. A level of conformity that is disturbing in it's thoughtlessness.
And don't give me this crap about how the older folks used to complain about us so it's all the same thing now. Those older folks had a real city to call home, not the hyper- gentrified, glass and steel wonderland we all call home. Those of us who came of age before the digital revolution had no choice but to be more involved in the exterior world. I have never owned a cell phone and never intend on getting one. I refuse to buckle under to the Borg.
Resistance is NOT futile.

Anonymous said...

You're lucky you at least got THAT conversation. It seems that in my neighborhood, all I overhear in the cafes is wedding planning. Some non-descript ponytailed Lululemon clone sitting with her mom talking about invitations, florists, centerpieces, ad nauseum. I have to eat in these places. And why do they have to squint at everything like they've never seen a café before, or a building, or a tree in the city, etc. Please stay in Milwaekee and stop coming here! Also, why do these younf irls look like they smell shit all the time? What's with that face everywhere?

Pete Robyn said...

Good one! New York won't have everything anymore if there is no place for the "good ol' things" we love.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

1. The Stage. This is terrible news. I too am ridiculously happy every time I sit in that cramped space, watching the griddle action, listening to all kind of interesting snippets of conversation, daydreaming about earlier days. The best. I like going to the Ukrainian National Home, especially because of the elderly customers, and to Streecha to do a little time travel. But the Stage is irreplaceable.
2. Yes, the young people conversation can be so boring, and much of it business / tech/ property related. Some very dull lives out there. But I don't think all the kids are like that. I know plenty of twenty somethings, none of whom live in manhattan, trying to make their way as artists, musicians, teachers, or in museums, social work, etc. who make next to nothing, and are literate and interesting. They grew up here, and love their city. So it's a mixed bag. The richer, entitled ones with higher paying jobs live very blinkered lives.
3. I will not get an iPhone, or take a laptop whatever out with me because I waste enough time at home online, and when I go out I want to see, listen, experience, not be stuck in my own dreary self-absorption.

laura r. said...

anon 5:15, wedding planning is really nice. would you like it better if it were 2 boys? or better yet, a new swinger club? wondering if you are just a little too trendy for some places. after all in the old new york, weddings were a nice thing to overhear. but you werent around then, were you?? (btw, "the face" the girls put on is directed to you)!

Michael Simmons said...

One of the many reasons I was always relieved to be a native New Yorker is that I never had a lawn to kick kids off. They took over anyway.

Jill said...

It feels like the proportion and goals of newbies to New York have changed. Native New Yorkers have left (ie in LA it seems everybody is from NY), and in their place are people who want to bring their suburban life here, whereby it seemed that formerly the new arrivals came here to be here,pursue their riches, and change was much slower. The difference in the city from 1950 to 1980 was negligible compared to 1980 to 2010. The loss of the New York borough accent is one of the most tangible changes I've experienced. Nobody under 50 speaks like that any longer.

And calling challah bread, holy bread smacks of antisemitism, or am I being too sensitive?

Anonymous said...

Hey Laura R., Anonymous here. I actually would like it if it were two boys or two girls because it would then be made a little more interesting than the straight, vocal-fry induced princesses for whom a cookie cutter wedding has just become another means of displaying status and wealth. Trust me, the Lululemoned crowed is not doing anything different from the last gazillion other lululemoned brides. Snore. And sorry, but there is a look, NOT directed at me, thank you (I usually get the eye from these girls, but unfortunately for them I play on the other team) that looks like they smell shit all the time. Probably because nothing here is as easy as it was in Westchester, or Paramus, or Greenwich. SO please put on your oversize sunglasses and Uggs and march on out of this city.

gabriel said...

It's hard to look around you, when you're always looking at a screen fifteen inches in front of you. Remember when the world was jealous of New York's user-interface?

Anonymous said...

Hey Vince--
This is a lot more severe than the generational divide. These kids bring with them the same corporate franchises everywhere they go, (HMS, Lulumom, Sephora, Gap, Banana, Subway, Cupcakes Inc, etc etc etc.), that devour the entire texture of a one-of-a-kind neighborhood. EV, WV and the Village in general were once the Paris of America---what we're losing is way beyond some brown spots on our suburban lawn. Wake up or you'll find yourself sleeping in Cleveland.

Ed said...

" I wish they'd read a book or see a movie or talk about anything that might indicate they have minds of their own and aren't, in reality, robots. "

You really should see the "World's End", though I'm not sure its playing anywhere. A small town in England gets taken over by robots/ zombies. But the twist is that the robots/ zombies are dead ringers for the "yunnies" complained about on this blog. I wonder if one of the film-makers read some of the posts here.

Little Earthquake said...

LOL. I hate when people I'm eavesdropping on bore me.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Eavesdrop? I wish. It's impossible NOT to hear these people, they shout more than speak. If you're going to shout in my vicinity, then at least say something interesting.

Anonymous said...

My god, how much I hate these people. My workplace got infested in the last year. It used to be kicked back and staid, but mostly okay. Now, it's filled with the moneyed under 30, who have little real knowledge and TONS of pushiness and entitlement. And their insistence on emotional/expressive conformity (positive thinking) is Orwellian. They're the world's most chipper fascists.

And they ONLY HIRE EACH OTHER. Every time I read an article bemoaning Millennial unemployment, I roll my eyes. Because these people always hire within a very narrow margin of "people like me". Completely ignoring the cognitive dissonance of viewing oneself as "progressive", yet enabling power in ways that promote classism, sexism, racism, etc.

They reflect an absence of education on a fundamental level. Zero critical thinking. Zero interest in anything outside its capital value. Be warned. If you hire one, you will wind up with 10. And they do not think anyone's welfare beyond their own group.

Jeremiah Moss said...

"the world's most chipper fascists." Yes! I hate the happiness police.

laura r. said...

ANON, 10/21 11pm: FYI, gay weddings can be as cookie cutter as straight weddings. (& tacky too). dont flatter yourself. "gay" is mainstream, gay is network TV, gay is the new straight. gay is in public school system. pleeeesse.......the thrill is gone. it left yrs ago. (do dykes wear UGG's? do tell). ANON 10/22 2:18pm, "infest"-that's exactly what they said in europe @ long ago. they had a permanent solution to that problem. "dont hire" is what they were doing in NYC @the same time. to top it off the "infested" are STILL being accused of "hiring their own kind", being "pushy & moneyed". is this a bit of sour grapes from the outsiders? BTW, people have the right to hire who they are comfortable with. (hiring for good jobs is based upon connections, university, family, resume). you can always try affirmative action. we both know the card you will play.

Anonymous said...

I heart the Stage, don't care about boring peeps (who can be found literally anywhere in the world/time, including the golden age of the 70s and 80s, BTW) and am depressed by the bitterness/ridiculousness of many of these comments. mispronouncing challah bread is antisemitic? really!? what about mispronouncing Houston Street? or Mesopotamia? Life is short; spend it focusing on the positive. please!:)

Jill said...

I wasn't there to hear how these people pronounced Challah, which was why I tempered my suggestion, but mocking a Hebrew word by purposely connecting it to a religious word reeks of antisemitism and has nothing to do with mispronunciation. If you think antisemitism doesn't matter, or isn't alive and thriving, then your positive outlook is like a wall you build so you can't see the ugliness next to you. Not sure why you would frequent a blog with the premise of lamenting the depressing deterioration of New York's historic legacy when you are looking for rainbows and ponies at every turn.

laura r. said...

ANON 9:41pm, challah (i say hallah) is served on friday nights. maybe im wrong, but its a holiday bread. 3/10th of 1% of the world is jewish. mostly in NYC, & isreal. JILL: knowing that, how can you expect people from flyover to understand challah? (im jewish & i still dont get it). ANON 9:41pm, i agree there are alot of haters on this forum. it is "supposed" to be the american way to welcome newcomers. (what happened to "tolerance")?? NYC is a city of immigrants. somehow it's became a trend to be less tolerant to some immigrants than to others(??) the fear of the other "taking over" makes people bitter. if you dont like the direction of the neighborhood: move out. thats what people have done years. then you start your own neighborhood w/your "own kind"

Anonymous said...

@9:48, agree, up the punxxx! the bottom line is...i hope the stage stays forever and that boring kids, wild teens, hot dads, high-heeled ladies, thrilling elders and everyone in between keeps going!

Jeremiah Moss said...

As Fran Lebowitz said: "Someone my age is supposed to be angered by kids. You’re supposed to say, 'These crazy kids—what will they think of next?' You’re not supposed to say, 'These kids are so boring. These kids are so regressive.'"

laura r. said...

jill 10:44 pm, stop turning over rocks to be offended @ every turn. no one is hiding under the bed. NYC has many "exotic" cultures. why should everyone be expected to understand all of them all the time? NY is a melting pot, 800 languages are spoken here. the thought police would have arrested me, put in the gulug yrs ago. we are all equal opportunity offenders w/out meaning to be. the reality is that the boys @the "stage" were not planning a temple attack. calm down, we are talking BREAD here. actually, i like the term "holybread" - its a good sales stategy for a kosher brand. anyway, even if they were mean, its not against the law to insult someone (yet).

Jill said...

I comment publicly and you can look back over at least 5 years of public discourse to see I never turn over rocks or look for insult where there is none. The proof is very public. You can like whatever phrase you want, and I can conjecture that these out of towners did not mean holy bread in a loving or complimentary way. While TWICE I said it was conjecture, you represent my thoughts as an attack on your superior self in your world where racists are innocents overwhelmed by the big city. Your arguments are weak--nobody can mispronounce challah as holy without putting thought behind it. Racism can come from ignorance, it doesn't have to be purposefully malicious to be harmful. So next time you ignore that Nebraskan jew down the price at the flea market, and think it's an innocent turn of phrase from another culture, you contribute to the problem.

And it only took a few comments before the "move if you don't like it" idiocy came up. As though moving to the suburbs will solve anything. The advice to give up and go away is infuriating. Personally, I'm going nowhere, I will not roll over, and I will continue to contribute as much as I can to build the community I want to live in. Not passively, but actively, because the place you live is only as good as you make it.

Grand St. said...

"LOL." No one trolls this blog harder than Lil' Earthquake, who is apparently the only living human to never be annoyed by some dumb conversation in his or her proximity.

Anonymous said...

Jill is right, the non-familiar user of Challah is more likely to say "Holly" than "Holy" in mispronunciation.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they meant "holey" bread? A visual description? This type of bread is characterized by bigger holes than, for example, Italian or French bread. Just giving benefit of the doubt.

Also, to be precise, these kids so recklessly generalized about on this blog and others (which I would hate if I were still a kid) are not the fascists; they are tools of the fascists.

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps they said "whole wheat bread" and were misheard?

Brendan said...

I think anon 10:04's got it. It's the only plausible explanation.