Monthly Archives: September 2003

House Party 2003

If you’re in town this weekend, may I extend an invitation to join me at a house party on the (gasp!) Upper West Side? The event, an annual gala hosted by Dorian and Marshall of the Alternatives to Marriage Project, tends to bring a rather interesting mix of people together; indeed, last year’s event proved to be the Talk of the Town. What will Dorian and Marshall do for an encore? We’re not sure, but we’re betting it will involve the partly-severed head of Bill O’Reilly. Cocktails Saturday 10/4 from 5pm to 7pm; follow the link for RSVP info.
· ATMP Houseparty [unmarried.org]
· Unmarrital Bliss [newyorker.com] Ms. Mead’s report on last year’s party…
· Stealing Stories [nickdenton.org] ….and a meta-backgrounder

View from the Top

Last week, we toured the new Ridge Street apartment building, The Coda (featured yesterday in the Times’ Real Estate section) with its creator, Judah Klausner. Klausner, a musician and inventor who holds a key patent on PDAs (and, more recently, a patent for a cellphone that can project Web pages onto a larger surface), is outfitting the lobby of the building with tributes in sheet music to famous musicians of yore born and raised on the Lower East Side (Irving Berlin, Yip Harburg, Sammy Cahn, and Irving Caesar). Most of the 1BR and 2BR units have rented, but if you’ve got upwards of $4k to drop each month on a penthouse, stop by. The views (above) sweep across the LES, and a series of patios and roof decks would be quite the spot for a housewarming fête.
· 29-Unit Rental Tips Its Hat to Composers [nytimes.com]
· The Coda [citi-habitats.com]

Playoff Time

Let the baseball playoffs begin! One end-of-season note: Yesterday, the Red Sox officialy broke the all-time MLB record for slugging percentage in a season, a mark set by the 1927 (“Murderers Row”) Yankees. News of this record somehow eluded the sports editors of the NYT today, though they did have room to note that Toronto set a new record for fewest sacrifice bunts in a season. (Billy Beane, eat your heart out.)
· Sox Fall, But So Do Records [boston.com]

Best Best Of

Press Your Luck. It was seven years ago this month. We’d just participated in the annual migration of students from New England colleges to New York City, and our man Blubox had found us a studio to share on Avenue C. We sought an air of belonging, but our sartorial blunders (“Are those gym socks?” a co-worker inquired of our hosery our second week on the job) and lack of clue about where to go too often found us out. Then we happened upon the New York Press‘s annual Best of Manhattan issue. It was dense. It was mean. It was deeply self-indulgent. But most importantly, it gave off the unmistakable air that they knew what they were talking about. One listing caught our eye: “Best Hetero Pickup Scene.” Huzzah! The next night we pulled on our gray Thanksgiving dress-up socks and headed off to their choice—Botanica. It was a scene so wank that, even to our untrained eye, we knew we could make it in this big city.

This week, we’re enjoying the Press‘s 2003 Best of Manhattan anew. Yes, it’s as self-indulgent as ever. Sure, go ahead and nitpick the easy targets they take down—but realize that’s the point. Thank God Koyen & Co. have kept the air of superiority that pervaded the Russ Smith venture. The alternative—cf. the Voice‘s upcoming best-of, an annual testament to the massive suckage that has pervaded that publication since forever—is too dark to contemplate.

Below, best-ofs from the Good Old Lower East Side. A little too much Ludlow Street for our tastes, but hey. Still, the joy is in the newsprint. Go ahead, open the green box and pick one up.

· Best High-Margin Source for eBay Sellers: Orchard Street: “What’s truly cool is, we only have to buy one of anything, photograph it, give it the flack treatment and then let the boundless and boundary-less wonders of the world wide interweb do the rest.”
· Best Activist Bookstore: Bluestockings (Allen St. @ Stanton/Rivington): “Incidentally, there’s a killer vegetarian restaurant next door called Tien Garden.”
· Best Foster Home for Your Clothing: Rejoice (Orchard St. @ Houston/Stanton)
· Best Iced Coffee with a Side of Right-Wing Pablum: Angelina’s Bakery (Orchard St. @ Houston/Stanton): “Hallas is the embodiment of genuine insouciance. He’s got in spades what the fauxhemians in these parts can only acquire by proxy and at an embarrassing mark-up from neighboring boutiques like the ridiculous Stongarm.”
· Best Bialys: Kossar’s Bialystoker Kuchen Bakery (Grand St. @ Essex/Norfolk): “Though we’ve been told by various West Coast culture magazines that the classic New York bagel no longer exists, we say bullshit to the plastic bitches in their dopey convertibles.”
· Best Free Chip & Dip: Paladar (Ludlow @ Houston/Stanton)
· Best LES Bistro Vibe: Pink Pony (Ludlow @ Houston/Stanton): “The new Pink Pony deftly walks the line between classy restaurant and starving-artist cafe—even if the prices have gone up a bit.”
· Best Foosball: Luna Lounge (Ludlow @ Houston/Stanton)
· Best Anything-Goes Open Mic: Faceboyz, Sundays at Collective Unconscious (Ludlow @ Stanton/Rivington): “Pick up a 40-ounce and drop $3 in the hat to keep a black-box L.E.S. performance space alive and laugh to the most original and unpredictable comedy show in New York.” (The bad: Confirms Dec. 1 as closing date for CU.)
Also: worthy props for Otto, Edge Bar, Xicala, the Bulgarian Bar.
· The Best of Manhattan 2003 [nypress.com]

Dare to Compare

Speaking of the golden age of hype, the comparison shopping space is partying like it’s 1999. This week marked the launch of the redesigned Shopping.com (which is Dealtime + Epinions + New domain name) and the announcement from Yahoo of its own new comparison shopping service. Both look worthwhile, but we still like Froogle for one simple reason: speed.
· Shopping.com [shopping.com]
· Yahoo! Shopping Comparison [shopping.yahoo.com]
· PriceGrabber.com [pricegrabber.com]
· Froogle [froogle.google.com]

The Birth of Weblogs Inc.

We don’t go in for a lot of weblog navel-gazing in this space, but this we cannot resist. Silicon Alley Reporter founder Jason Calacanis has officially launched his new weblog venture, Weblogs Inc., with the goal of creating 500 “vertical” “niche” “B2B” “blogs” in the next three years. (Shee-yit! If only an analyst from Jupiter was available to opine frothily on the promise of this paradigm-shifting venture!) Cue Jeff Jarvis’s antihype, where he points out our first thought: that this whole thing kinda reaks of About.com.

The bigger question for talented webloggers: with no upfront salary (Calacanis’ payment model is is 50% of profits after all costs are covered—similar to the deal he famously offered Liz Spiers) why not take the risk on your own and go for the full 100%? Costs are minimal (a few bucks a month to Fictional Company for hosting, $150 to Movable Type if you’re honest about your commercial aspirations). Granted, a sales staff is one thing most bloggers lack, but weblog revenue streams are simple and real (not to mention still developing), especially if you’re “vertical” enough. Jarvis councils patience, which is good advice, because eventually good blogs get read. DIY, baby, and have some real fun.
· Weblogs, Inc. [weblogsinc.com]
· Blogbiz: Bubble Boy or Baron? [buzzmachine.com]