Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, February 03, 2021

The dearth of creative impulse that went into the headline of this post should tell you how little regard I’m giving today’s Super Bowl clash.

And yet, I will be watching the game, set to kick off in a bit more than an hour. Go figure.

It’s not like this is the first time I’ve felt underwhelmed by the NFL’s championship spectacle; I’ve experienced this feeling for the past five or so Super Bowls. If I had to define it, I’d have to agree generally with Deadspin’s Will Leitch on how the overload of hype has taken a lot of the charge out of the game. But it’s not like anyone has a gun to my head — if I’m really so put off, I could just opt to ignore the game altogether.

But I’m not. I’ll be heading to a Super Bowl party shortly, and while it’ll be intimate, it’ll be Giants territory. I’m not going to join in the fervor, because I’m not a Giants fan. I’m not a Patriots fan either, but I guess the prospect of the historical 19-0 run prompts me to root for New England. And while I’ll be shocked if the Pats don’t seal the deal, the Giants have already defied paper odds by making it this far, so who knows what the final tally will be.

Anyway. Enough of the game itself. It’s hardly the focus of this Super-sized secular holiday, right? The TV commercial front has been (from my perspective, which I admit hasn’t been especially attentive to the pre-hype from that corner) uncharacteristically subdued, despite a new-record $2.7 million pricetag for the 30-second spot. But in other Super Bowl-related economic viewpoints:

- The overall money picture for Super Sunday impacts sales of television sets, furniture, and even snack foods.

- And on the heels of an unusually weak holiday season to wind up 2007, retailers are counting on those same football-generated sales to offset earlier shortfalls.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/03/2021 05:17 PM
Category: Football
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Don’t look now, but a pocket of the East Side is turning into a veritable guild-based village for young professionals:

As Ariel explained to me, his [financial services] firm had negotiated a deal with the building’s real estate agents, and every employee who rented an apartment got a 6 percent discount on the brokerage fee. Each weekend, and especially over the summer, the young bankers moved in, while families and elderly people moved out.

The apartment building next door, meanwhile, was filling up with lawyers. Doctors lived in a third building, the one closest to the river. “It’s like special-interest housing, but for professionals,” Ariel said.

It was Friday night and Ariel’s hallway was busy with pre-party chatter. One guy no one had ever seen before knocked on the door, inviting us to a party on the next floor. An hour later, two women showed up asking whether we ourselves were having a party.

Ariel and his roommates were elated. They finally had their own place, and one within walking distance of work. Everyone else on their hall was young, friendly and new to the city. It was like freshman year again.

Indeed, like freshman year in the college of life. I guess. I mean, these “students” are working for a living, but they’re surrounded by a slightly unreal environment, almost as cloistered as the college campuses from which they had just left. I’m thinking the social interactions within this zone are barely distinguishable from college — thus providing a continuation of school life and further deferment of full-fledged adulthood. (How much you wanna bet there’s at least one keg party ragin’ every weekend here?)

More interesting is the socioeconomic conditions in Manhattan that makes this clustering necessary. True adult dorm-style living has been around for a while now, but this is the first I’ve heard of active employer facilitation of the trend. It injects a corporate subsidy into young professionals’ work-life balance, beyond paying a high enough salary to make it possible to live close to the workplace.

Is this how future New York City neighborhoods will take root? Not that like professions haven’t grouped together before, at the top and bottom of the economic ladder, but this seems like an extreme strain of a natural tendency.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/03/2021 04:32 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society
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This quote by 19th-century British poet/social critic Matthew Arnold resonates with my personal worldview:

“The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.”

It also comes across as timely in this political season. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which side of the political divide it more closely hews toward.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/03/2021 02:42 PM
Category: History, Politics, Society
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