Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, March 05, 2021

It’s a familiar life-drill: Move into the city during and after college, in the role of urban pioneer. Then get married, and then move out to the ‘burbs in order to give the inevitable offspring their backyards, better schools, and mallrat habitats.

But what if you forsake the bright lights of the big city too soon? You can always move back, as many empty nesters in the tri-state area are doing, in the form of pied-à-terre apartments in Manhattan.

The people likely to own these hideaways are usually two-income couples whose suburban house has soared in price and who use the resulting equity to take out a loan to buy a Manhattan flat. From there, they can lap up the culture they starved for while raising the children.

“The baby boomers are on their second childhoods when their kids get out, which is a different attitude than their parents had,” said Dottie Herman, chief executive of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “In the suburbs, most of life is about the PTA’s. Then all of a sudden the kids are older and they’re in their early 50’s, and they still have life and they want to go back to the city.”

These boomers might have simply gritted their teeth and driven back after an evening out on Broadway, but in many cases failing eyesight and a less patient disposition make drives back to Chappaqua or Short Hills less tolerable. At the same time, they are not quite ready to give up suburban friends and suburban pleasures, like golf and a backyard barbecue.

A more direct solution: Don’t move out to the suburbs in the first place. Why leave at all?

This development seems akin to moving back in with your parents; it’s like admitting your move didn’t work out. And of course, Mother Manhattan extracts a price for coming home — in the six figures and up.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/05/2021 09:17:42 PM
Category: Society, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback

As I write this, the Academy Awards show is making a spectacle of itself on the tube. As I do every year, I’m opting out of the viewership; award shows in general don’t do it for me, regardless of my interest in the actual subject matter.

However, despite my disinterest, I had to mark down Manohla Dargis’ spot-on assessment of what Oscar-worthiness truly means within the framework of the Hollywood machine:

These days big studio movies do not, as a rule, excite the intellect or stir the soul: that’s what specialty titles like “Brokeback Mountain” are for. In the last few decades, the American movie industry has become increasingly split between high-concept spectacles engineered to attract as many viewers as possible (think flypaper) and niche products pitched to specific audiences. In this climate, films released through a studio specialty unit, like “Capote” and “Good Night, and Good Luck,” are just one niche among many, like horror or teen flicks. Their principal value doesn’t come from ticket sales, but from the prestige and awards they confer on a parent company. In Hollywood, as a friend recently quipped, “Quality is now a genre.”

Looking on the bright side, it’s heartening to know that quality is valued at all, even in a commodified form.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/05/2021 08:42:39 PM
Category: Movies | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Geez, I’m not gone a month from my longtime media playground, and it pulls an online fast one. Tampabay.com, formerly the home of tbt*/Tampa Bay Times and, prior to that, the St. Petersburg Times entertainment melange, will now serve as the Internet umbrella for all (or most) of the Times Publishing Company’s publication websites, including the flagship newspaper.

In a sense, this positions the Times to compete more directly with Media General’s Tampa Bay Online/TBO.com, which has been aggregating the Tampa Tribune and WFLA Channel 8 news offerings under a single brand. This evens things out on a regional basis for the Tampa Bay area. I can only guess that people in Hillsborough, Pasco and other counties were somewhat averse to turning to a site labeled “St. Petersburg”.

The Times is going beyond just that, though. By integrating Florida Trend, Congressional Quarterly, and Governing, it’s really throwing everything it’s got into this online venture. Those publications have statewide and national scopes, far beyond the mainstream audience that a general news portal would expect to draw. I’m guessing this an experiment to see what will stick and what won’t under this tentpole, especially in terms of drawing advertising.

As far as my insight on this, as the former webmaster for FloridaTrend.com: I had no idea this was coming. There’d been talk over the years about setting up a sort of business portal that integrated all of Trend’s regular and annual publications, but there was never enough momentum to actually get it going. Trend had a regular spot on the Times’ online Business section, but it was a pretty low-impact thing (even though quite a bit of traffic would come to the Trend site from there). Not sure if it’ll change much on the Trend side, or any of the other magazines; I imagine it’ll be business as usual, with just feeds and links appearing on the mothership site.

I guess this solves the mystery of why the now-daily tbt* was given a new, shorter URL a few months back.

Will this work? Certainly, TBO.com’s been chugging along for years now. I can only guess that it’s easier to sell pageviews for an all-in-one site to advertisers than it is to subdivide between newspaper, gussied-up forums, business magazine, etc.

Still, personally, I’d prefer the separation among equals. Call me a creature of habit. Then again, since I’m no longer a Tampa Bay resident, what does my opinion matter?

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/05/2021 07:47:33 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback

Not to belittle the addicts who may (or may not) find solace through Psychic Junkie, one woman’s response to her struggle with a one-time $1,000 per month paranormal validation habit.

But is it the wisest idea to include a Magic 8-Ball widget on the site? It’s like setting up a wet bar in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting room.

On top of that, any site that prominently features words of wisdom from Oprah Winfrey is one to tread lightly upon.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/05/2021 07:15:04 PM
Category: Society | Permalink | Feedback (5)