Wednesday, September 22, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Former owner of the Beatrice Inn wants you to know that his new venture is authentic punk and "definitely not letting a bunch of banker douchebags in the fucking door." During Fashion Week: "André Balazs and Selma Blair slow-danced by a wall of drawings and photographs of male genitalia." [NYO]

Susan Seidelman speaks on the 25th anniversary of Desperately Seeking Susan, back when "Second Avenue was pretty funky" and still had Love Saves the Day. Screening tomorrow. [NYT]

Adorable bedbug swag! [NYT]

A moment of NYC bike zealot triumph. [Restless]

After 22 years on 3rd Avenue in the East Village, Ben & Jerry's is closing, "Due to Economic Times." I have mild, mixed feelings. I am not 100% anti-chainstore, and this one was so depressing and weird, so vintage 1980s, it had a certain odd appeal. I guess we'll soon be welcoming yet another bubble-tea lounge to this strip.

Now you can get your very own "I Survived the Great Brooklyn Tornado 2010" t-shirt! [HPS]

The sins of Sin Sin. [EVG]

A Chock review: "sometimes, even in Manhattan, a place can still come along for us. Not the tourists, not the hipsters, not the SATC girls, just us. And that's more than enough for me." [WL]

A walk through Gowanus. [FNY]

More places for people to park their asses. [AFB]

Check out the Cambridge Companion to NYC Lit--and who knew Gossip Girl was in the Whartonian tradition? [P&W] ... buy it at St. Mark's Bookshop.

Looking at the wonderful film "On the Bowery." [WOBA]

This weekend: Coney Island Film Fest. [FIB]


EV Grieve said...

Curious about the Ben & Jerry's closure. With NYU right there, figured it was a gold mine.

esquared™ said...

was just at ben & jerry's couple of days ago (were having a sale -- 3 for 9.99 pre-packed pint ice cream). should have been an indication that they were gonna close. but jm is right, the nyu kids would perhaps prefer another bubble tea over a b&j ice cream. perhaps the new joint will be a bubble tea hyped lounge, serving bubbleteanis, and having daily liquor specials mixed with their bubble tea.

Anonymous said...

Sundaes and Cones is right around the corner.

Anonymous said...

I stopped patronizing B&J a few years ago, when I witnessed the owner berating an employee for making the portions too big.

Anyway, Sundaes and Cones is the truly haimische choice.

Anonymous said...

When Sundaes and Cones opened up around the corner from Ben & Jerry's in 2006, it was the beginning of the end.

People who would've gone to Ben & Jerry's instead went to Sundaes & Cones, where the ice cream tastes richer and smoother, and it costs the same (if not less) than what could be had at Ben & Jerry's.

Over the past few summers, there was always a crowd spilling out of Sundaes and Cones, while Ben & Jerry's looked pretty desolate. And let's face it, there's not enough demand for ice cream at 3rd Avenue and 10th Street for both stores to stay open and thrive.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i guess people really like Sundaes and Cones.

Marty Wombacher said...

I can't believe "Desperately Seeking Susan" is 25 years old. Fun flies when you're having time, I guess. And rainy days and sundaes always get me down.

Anonymous said...

You know, it's funny, a week or two ago, you had a post berating midwesterners for bringing their culture to New York, contrasting them negatively with poor immigrants who bring theirs. Here, you dismissively refer to "another bubble tea" place going in the B&J place. Bubble tea, of course, is a product of Chinatown, exactly the "good" kind of influx of culture, according to you. Likewise, noodle shops, which you've expressed disdain for previously.

The problem is of course that now it's the loathsome Midwestern "yunnies" that are consuming the bubble tea. It's really ironic - they are doing exactly what you say they should be doing. If they stayed in Wisconsin, they'd never have heard of bubble tea or ramen, and here in New York, they have made these things and others, break out of their ethnic boundaries. But it's not acceptable, because it's not "gritty" anymore.

I know it's futile to find any logic or consistency in your worldview aside from hating "the wrong kind of white people" and giving a pass to everyone else, the poorer the better. I don't know why I keep trying.

Jeremiah Moss said...

contradiction and ambivalence is difficult to deal with, that's true.

Anonymous said...

Well played, but that's just the thing: you may think it's ambivalence, but in fact it's anything but. Note that I said there's no consistency "aside from..."

Your response is in fact 100% predictable. If non-poor non-grungy looking white people are doing it, it's bad. Otherwise, it's good or at least acceptable. All attempts to create nuance fail to disguise your internal compass.

Hence a seemingly bewildering progression like this actually makes perfect sense:

(1) Midwesterners bringing own culture rather than adopt things they find in the city is bad.
(2) Bubble tea, because it's brought by Chinese immigrants, is good. There are so many new Chinese immigrants, that Chinatown, and consequently bubble tea, expands far outside its original borders, into areas where it previously wasn't. (Half of Chinatown used to not be Chinatown 30 years ago.) This is good.
(3) Midwesterners upon finding bubble tea, like it so much that it expands into the East Village. This is BAD.

Makes no sense, unless you realize that the underlying rule is that anything that Chinese immigrants do is good, and anything that Midwesterners do is bad. Then, *everything* on this blog makes sense.

For instance, one of the most destructive forces to lower Manhattan is the Chinatown buses. It just sucks for everyone except the Chinese operators. Prices are no longer an issue - other cheap buses leave from Port Authority. Never has a bad word been spoken about this phenomenon here, nor on BB nor on any of these blogs. Meanwhile, some guy makes an off the cuff remark about little Wisconsin, and it's fire and brimstone.

Almost no mention is ever made of the absolutely horrid real estate development done in Chinatown every year. They tear down beautiful old buildings and put up glass towers compared to which Blue and THOR should win architecture of the decade awards. No real anger is directed towards this. They get a pass. However, when someone takes over Vesuvio bakery and *preserves the outside* and puts in a more upscale bakery, this is of course deeply problematic. Follow the cardinal rule, and this too makes sense.

Your worst enemy is yourself, and you hold other white people to a much higher standard. Your most fervent denunciations will always be reserved for those you grew up with, who moved here but are "doing it wrong." So parochial, despite having moved to, and fallen in love with the most cosmopolitan place in the world.

Jeremiah Moss said...

those Chinatown buses are nuts. you take your life in your hands getting on those.

Unknown said...

You know, when the Ben & Jerry's opened, I considered one more sign of the gentrification of the area. Along with the damn Gap...

Claribel said...

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." - F.Scott Fitzgerald. Those of us who come to Jeremiah's blog come with our own ideas about class and culture conflicts and some posts I read will interpret his blog through that lens. The fallacy is to want Jeremiah to be somehow ideologically pure when the city he's observing is filled with contradictions and complexities. I've never found the author's tone to be "loathsome" or "hating" though we all have the freedom to interpret the posts as we wish. I think that Anonymous, you have some good observations, but your conclusions are way off. Don't try to pigeonhole or stereotype the author's views. It's those kinds of abbreviated assessments that get our society into the mess we're in. I for one am not nostalgic for "gritty" for its own sake, nor do I want to give a free pass to the poor (I also think most of the poor work their asses off and aren't looking for a free pass, but that's a different political discussion altogether). There's an intangible quality, a kind of zeitgeist the city has that gets lost when landmark and familiar buildings are replaced with glass hi-rises and entrepreneurs who are quick to tear down without appreciating what came before. I think for those of us who have experienced and/or understand those very things that he's documenting, Jeremiah is just bearing witness. Another blogger can tell the same story with a different voice and pair of eyes. A lot of us happen to prefer Jeremiah's.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Claribel. you understand it well. and the Fitzgerald quote is apt. so hard to do, holding opposing thoughts at once, especially when there is so much pressure to think in good/bad.

Anonymous said...

Occam's Razor - The simplest explanation is the correct one. Sure, you can try to see the collection of various rants and laments here as embodying contradicting ideas simultaneously. Or you can see it as expressing a very simple principle: "Anything old, poor and minority - good. Anything new, upscale or white - bad." The latter works very well to explain, and more importantly to *predict* anything written on this blog.

You don't have to convince me that nuance is important. That's exactly what I'm arguing for! Actual nuance would be to say, hey, I like the old New York better, but the last 20 years have brought some good things too. Here are some of them. Or, hey, I dislike the culture of Middle America very much, but here are some things they have contributed to New York that is of value. You won't find that on this blog. Occasionally, Jeremiah's commenters will point such things out (as someone recently did with respect to folk music) and he will acquiesce. But none of his original observations will ever explore the flip side of what he deplores.

Holding upper middle class white people to a different standard than everyone else is not "nuance." It's intellectually unserious. This is not what Fitzgerald was referring to.

Anonymous said...

Here's an example of nuance:

Claribel, you mention wanting to give a free pass to the poor. I mentioned a free pass in the context of Chinese real estate developers. These developers, of course, are rich. So are the Chinatown bus operators. You see, just because they are Chinese, doesn't mean they are poor. Nuance!

Chinatown is a fascinating, bustling, unique place - one of the things that make NYC worth living in. And yet some members of this community make NYC a worse place. So.. some people making this city a worse place are not white and are not from the midwest, and are by no stretch "yunnies." Nuance! But you would be forgiven for not thinking this were true, if your only window on NY was this blog.

Jeremiah Moss said...

it sounds like what you are saying, Anon, is that i consistently critique white, middle- and upper-class culture, especially suburban culture, and its often negative effect on the city today, while i rarely, if ever, aim the same critique at the poor or people of color.

i'd say you are correct.

i can't, however, agree with your statement that i always equate new with bad and old with good. that is simply not true--my thinking is not that simplistic nor universalizing.

so i guess i both agree and disagree with your argument.

hoolsa said...

Anon: Go ahead and read CityRoom, Village Voice, Gothamist, etc. if you find journalistic integrity to be SO important (debatable with the aforementioned examples). There's really little point in proselytizing your perception of logic and nuance on a blog that is clearly based upon one man's opinion. That's why it's called the "blogosphere" - something for everyone!

I think Paul Sevigny is the most obnoxious type of socialite - the ones that feign originality and nostalgia for the "gritty" and "old" New York, but are really a covert social-climber at the core. He denies access at the door to businessmen in suits, yet is perfectly okay with allowing drones like Paris Hilton and Patrick McMullen into this psuedo-anarchic club. That to me is nonsensical, but it seems like that's the pattern with Don Hill's anyway.

Marty Wombacher said...

@Anonymous, 7:11pm—The thing is, that this is the Jeremiah Moss blog and it's his view on things. You can debate things till you're blue in the face, but it's his blog and his view of New York. If you don't like it, start your own blog and put up your take on things. It's easy to critique and punch holes in someone's writing and thoughts, but much harder to create something original of your own. I don't always agree with the point of view here, but I appreciate the hard work and interesting writing that goes into it.

Cat Sitter in the City said...

I was just in Florence and spotted a Ben & Jerry's. I couldn't believe there was a Ben & Jerry's in Italy where people have access to the most amazing gelato!