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Tuesday, June 30, 2021

It went over well last summer in Manhattan, so they’re doing it again this year: NYC is shutting down swaths of city streets for running, skating, and biking.

In its debut last August, the program attracted about 50,000 bicyclists and pedestrians on each of its three days to a path from the Brooklyn Bridge to East 72nd Street. This year’s events, announced on Monday by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, will take place on Aug. 8, 15 and 22, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

But this time, the outer boroughs get to join in the fun:

Citing a positive response to the program — an idea inspired by a recreational experiment in Bogotá, Colombia, that began in the 1970s — the city has expanded it to smaller stretches of the other boroughs on weekends throughout the summer. The program will reach 13 neighborhoods, although none of the additional street closings will match the size of the main Manhattan route.

The closings will be staggered. For example, five blocks of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, will be closed to cars and trucks the next two Saturdays, while a stretch of Van Duzer Street in Staten Island will be closed on Aug. 1, 8, 15 and 22.

Full schedule is on the City’s Summer Streets website. Looks like I’ve got a ready excuse for breaking out my rollerblades again (without lugging them all the way to Central Park).

For quickie reference, here’s the Google Map for the Manhattan route. The other boroughs can map out their own trails:

View Larger Map

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/30/2009 10:39pm
Category: New Yorkin'
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bru-ing
If you haven’t seen the first marketing salvos for Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming flick Brüno, you will soon enough. The above photo of a taxicab rooftop-signage placement has been a common-enough sight in New York for at least the past month.

What I like about it, and indeed, about much of the movie’s ad placements so far, is the presence of those two little dots above the “u”. That would be the umlaut, an accent-like diacritical marking that comes in for some heavy derision in North America:

You think you’re so damn cool, huh? Just hanging out, chillin’, above all those vowels. You’re all, “Ooh, look at me, I’m a chic umlaut. I make girls’ names look modish, like Zoë and Chloë… God, you’re such a poseur, umlaut. You’re nothing but two measly dots. You’re a Eurotrash colon lying down. Nobody thinks you’re cool.

This is precisely the effect that Baron Cohen is going for. Because it makes only the rarest of appearance in English (I believe “naïve” is the only word that uses it, and it routinely goes without the double-dotting), its appearance is an instantly-recognizable signifier of foreignness — and snooty European (if not Scandinavian) foreignness, to boot. So not only does Brüno employ it in the very title of the film, but also plants that umlaut freely among the promotional language, like a comedic badge. Thus does the theatrical release date in July become “Jüly”, and so on.

This joke wouldn’t work if umlaut usage wasn’t already pretty trod upon on this side of the Atlantic. Despite being actually useful in Germanic grammar (basically, the mark is a space-saving substitute for a following-letter “e”, so “Brüno” can also be spelled “Brueno”), its most common manifestation here has been as purely stylistic embellishment for pretentious rock band names.

So really, Brüno’s wanton use of the umlaut is only reinforcing the established tradition of diacritical mis-marking in American pop culture. It’s a visual cue that we all pick up on, and laugh with. Which is the whole point of this type of comedy. It just so happens that, as a result, no vowel is safe.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/30/2009 11:29am
Category: Advert./Mktg., Comedy, Creative, Movies, Pop Culture, Wordsmithing
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Monday, June 29, 2021

A European quest to secure a foothold in Africa’s vast energy resource supply has created an unfortunate English-language translation:

Russia’s energy giant Gazprom has signed a $2.5bn deal with Nigeria’s state operated NNPC, to invest in a new joint venture.

The new firm, to be called Nigaz, is set to build refineries, pipelines and gas power stations in Nigeria.

That’s right, “Nigaz”. It’s missing a “g”, and no doubt the accepted pronunciation will be “nigh-gahz” or even “nee-gahz”; but basically, for American English speakers, we’re in NWA territory.

For further consideration of the branding shortfall, I couldn’t have said it better myself:

Apparently Gazprom, a Global 500 company with nearly 400,000 employees (no exaggeration) doesn’t have a single marketing person who speaks ENGLISH or is even remotely familiar with American slang. YO! Gazprom! I don’t mean to be dissin’ ya’ll, but Shizzle! What the hizzle??? Nigaz??? I might just have to shoot the five witcha, or at least sick the naming po-pos on ya. Again: Nigaz???? Have you NO skrilla to do some of that linguistic or cultural screenin’?? Were you guys crunked up when you thought of that name???

Represent, Russkies.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/29/2009 10:42pm
Category: Business, Politics, Pop Culture, Wordsmithing
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Judgement day for Bernie Madoff inspired this little tweet-joke from me, which I gladly reproduce here (any justification to blockquote myself):

At 150 years, I’d say Bernie got the penal equivalent of a run-on sentence.

I could extend this courtroom-grammatical motif by noting that, indeed, the judge threw the book at him. But I digress.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/29/2009 09:05pm
Category: Celebrity, Comedy, True Crime, Wordsmithing
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There’s a curious convergence of sociological research hitting the newsstream on this Monday, all having to do with generational readouts:

- The Pew Research Center reveals that American perceptions on growing older differ from the reality, particularly in just when old age begins (most say 68, but there are various milestones to signify the passage, including sexual/genitalial failure and lack of a Twitter account).

- Extrapolating from this Pew study, the Associated Press declares the return of the Generation Gap on socio-cultural issues — at least, one wider than at any point since the original young adult-middle age Gap from the Vietnam era.

- Finally, independently of the above, the American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that a big chunk of adolescents don’t expect to live to see old age, with this dead-by-35 crowd promptly dubbed “fatalistic teens”.

Taken all together, anyone living in the here-and-now can conclude that they either have no long-term future, or if they do, it’s a mundane one; and to top it off, the current lifestyle is isolated by a great attitudinal divide. It all shakes out as existence as usual…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/29/2009 01:57pm
Category: Media, Science, Society
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“Too many barns and not enough horses” is basically how the major-league arena landscape in the New York City area shapes up:

Five major complexes — four existing and one planned — will soon be slugging it out within an area 30 miles wide.

At least two of the existing arenas already lose money, and experts say further casualties are almost guaranteed.

“Five arenas is not going to work,” said Mark S. Rosentraub, a professor of sports management at the University of Michigan. “I don’t think four works, even in a market as large as New York. There’s competition in every direction and there aren’t enough events.”

The five arenas in question all have their own issues:

In Brooklyn, the developer Bruce C. Ratner is racing to start construction of a $772 million arena for the Nets basketball team, even as Newark woos the Nets for its money-losing Prudential Center arena.

In New Jersey, the owner of the Devils hockey team, which abandoned the Izod Center in the Meadowlands to play at Prudential Center, wants Gov. Jon S. Corzine to tear down the Izod Center, in the hopes of eliminating a competing venue.

On Long Island, Charles Wang is pressuring local officials to approve his plans to rebuild the much-maligned Nassau Coliseum for his Islanders hockey team by hinting that the team might flee to Queens, or leave New York altogether.

Then there is Madison Square Garden, whose owners are starting a $500 million overhaul of the 41-year-old arena. The Garden’s cachet helps draw performers, but the arena has another considerable advantage: three major professional sports teams play there, leaving the Garden with fewer dates to fill than the region’s other arenas, which all play host to only one major sports team apiece.

This doesn’t even count the other large-scale stadia in the same neighborhood: Giants Stadium, Yankees Stadium, and Citi Field. They’re slightly different animals, in that only a very select few musical acts perform mega-stadium shows these days. Still, they provide an x-factor in the competition over non-music venues.

I’m not sure just how dire the situation is. For one, the Brooklyn arena situation is pretty close to collapsing. So I wouldn’t count on those seats even being built. From there, the Nets will have little choice but to move to Newark and rejoin the Devils as co-tenants in the same arena, thus filling out the Prudential Center’s dates. (The final domino to fall in that scenario is the eventual demolition of the Izod Center, which would be without a primary tenant.)

The rule of thumb about an arena needing 200 booked dates to generate an operating surplus is telling. It means that the trend toward major-league sports teams demanding their own, exclusive barn (especially in the Sunbelt) benefits nobody but that team and its owner. The facility itself suffers from lack of use, which prompts demands for subsidies (zero rent, cash infusions, operating concessions, etc.) from the host city/county/state. And, of course, a glut of sports/entertainment seats without enough butts to fill them year-round. It’s a situation that screams for macro-economic oversight.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/29/2009 12:26pm
Category: New Yorkin', SportsBiz
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Sunday, June 28, 2021

I had meant to mark the moment (or near enough) when my copy of Esquire Magazine’s 75th Anniversary Issue (October 2008 cover date), with the much-hyped electronic ink flashing cover, would run out of battery power and become inert.

The moment passed sometime last week, and somehow, I didn’t notice it. I must have been really preoccupied, because I’ve got the magazine perched on my dresser, amidst clutter but clearly the centerpiece of my daily mess. I guess I got so used to the constant on-off blinking of headlines over the past eight months that the animation no longer stood out for me. Thus, the cessation of that typographical motion didn’t faze me.

True to form, the lack of juice doesn’t mean the cover is now blank. All the type and small graphics are now frozen into place, looking much as they would on a regular printed page. They just no longer “move”. Key feature of e-ink.

Anyway. An eight-month lifespan for e-ink gimmickry. During that time, Amazon has pushed the display technology somewhat into the mainstream with the Kindle, presumably making hard-copy experiments like Esquire’s somewhat superfluous. I know that magazine hasn’t repeated this little experiment, despite having exclusive use of the application for 2009. A nice footnote in the history of publishing, but ultimately didn’t amount to much.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/28/2009 09:48pm
Category: Publishing, Tech
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stone rockin'
Yep, the cameraphoned photo above shows you a literal box of rocks. No call on just how dumb that is.

Actually, there are two more collections of caged stones just like this, out of frame (yes, even on the embiggened Flickr version). They’re positioned near the entrance of Flowers of the World, a hoity-toity type of florist shop in Midtown. I’m assuming the installation has to do with achieving some sort of commercial-retail feng shui effect.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/28/2009 08:44pm
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Photography
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spilling over
Here’s a novel method of dealing with someone who’s blasting his/her iPod so loud that it’s audible to everyone else in the vicinity:

“Hey, mind if I listen?” the redhead said, and without waiting for a response, plucked the woman’s left earbud, placed it in her own ear, and began bobbing her head to the music. The iPod owner looked mortified. The car grew silent save for the blare. I looked at my wife, who had heard me rant about this so many times, she knew exactly what I was thinking: At last, someone was taking a stand.

Of all the daily discourtesies we endure as city dwellers, none to me is more irksome than headphone leak. You know, that treble-drenched drone emanating from iPods halfway down the subway car. What puzzles me is why people do not complain more often, why we don’t rise up in numbers and insist these people turn their music down, or else.

This protester was risking a possible ear infection by inserting an unknown earbud into her auditory canal, but that’s a small price to pay for making a stand. I guess.

Of course I’ve encountered this phenomenon before, many times. What gets me is when, improbably, I can hear someone else’s overflow leakage even though my ears are iPod-occupied. My fear is that I, in response, will up my volume, which will drown out the offending leaker’s noise but then create noise for others near me — a ripple-effect audio arms race.

Not that I’ve ever noticed dirty looks from fellow passengers over my volume. It’s hard for me to confirm whether or not I’m one of the offending leakers: Obviously, I can’t listen to myself, it’s awkward to ask a stranger, and I wouldn’t be listening on my iTouch when riding with someone I know. I guess if/when I encounter my first earbud-hijacking, I’ll know for sure.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/28/2009 08:20pm
Category: New Yorkin', Society, iPod
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in the cards
I hit the subway station just before noon, and approached the turnstile with MetroCard in my hand, ready to fly through in usual fluid motion.

But of course, today was different, and I knew it. So after sliding my card through the reader, I broke stride just long enough to allow time to read the electronic readout for once.

And sure enough, there it was: $2.25. Not the usual two bucks even, which I’d half-hoped this particular station would still be charging. An extra twenty-five cents really isn’t that big a deal, and I knew that, even if the MTA screwed up and had kept a random station on the old fare, the mistake would be corrected soon enough, and I’d eventually be paying the full nine-quarters for my near-daily rides on the No. 6, or F, or any other line I happen to need. Still, it all adds up, and even though it could have been much worse, I could do without the jacked-up transit costs.

But then, as I boarded the train, I got an up-close look at the prettiest Indian woman I’ve ever seen on the 6. And I promptly forgot about the extra coin I had to drop to get that view.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/28/2009 07:20pm
Category: New Yorkin'
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Saturday, June 27, 2021

Not content to be merely loud and mindless, director Michael Bay felt that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen needed one more distasteful touch: Offensive African-American racial stereotyping, in Autobot guise.

The reason for the uproar are Skids and Mudflap, two robots designed as compact Chevys, fight each other, and are forced to admit they can’t read. One in particular has a gold tooth but producers aren’t saying which one.

AP Film Critic Christy Lemire described the bots as ‘Jar Jar Binks in car form.’ Harry Knowles of “Ain’t It Cool News” went one step further, encouraging his readers not to see the film…

“They don’t really have any positive effect on the film,” Tasha Robertson, associate editor at The Onion.com, said. “They only exist to talk in bad ebonics, beat each other up and talk about how stupid each other is.”

Interesting that the headlines describe these two characters as “jive-talking”. Because to me, that conjures up forebears that are less Star Wars, and more Airplane!. To wit:

I will say that the sole funny moment from the ill-conceived Airplane II: The Sequel was when Jive Dude Number 2 shows up, and he’s improbably still “talkin’ jive” into the mid-1980s…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/27/2009 07:17pm
Category: Comedy, Movies, Pop Culture
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indivisible?
When does the number 32 actually equal 1? When that 32 represents the number of team franchises in the National Football League, and that 1 represents the hoped-for legal exemption the league hopes to achieve regarding select business dealings:

At the heart of the matter is whether the NFL’s teams constitute 32 distinct businesses or a single entity that can act collectively without violating antitrust law.

The case is important to other professional sports besides football. The National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League both filed friend-of-the-court briefs siding with the NFL.

Notably absent is Major League Baseball, which has an antitrust exemption thanks to a 1922 Supreme Court ruling.

“Member clubs of the NFL have no independent value, no purpose, indeed no meaningful reason for existence but for their participation in the league itself,” the NFL argues. It cited a ruling in an antitrust challenge involving the NBA, in which an appeals court wrote, “A league with one team would be like one hand clapping.”

This is completely self-serving, because the NFL and the other major-professional leagues switch themselves off on this argument as it serves their purposes at any particular moment. The economic benefits in assuming single-entity operating status is obvious when it comes to striking merchandising and licensing deals. It’s less obvious, but just as lucrative, when leagues fall back on the autonomous-team model. For instance, when a particular franchise plays hardball with its home city for a new arena, the league office usually cedes authority (not to mention blame) on the matter to that team owner. Yet when the resolution typically results in a sweet new stadium deal, the ripple effect benefits the rest of the league by raising the bar for future facility rights.

Basically, the NFL and the other leagues want it both ways: The protections of single-entity status to fend off pesky lawsuits, but the option of morphing back to a collective of independently-operating clubs when convenient. Business as usual, pretty much.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/27/2009 04:47pm
Category: Football, SportsBiz
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Friday, June 26, 2021

drafty
I never thought I’d lament the absence of rumor-mongering and mostly-clueless talent assessment, but that’s exactly the void I’m feeling heading into the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft, which starts tonight.

I mean, it’s been extremely quiet all week. All that’s cropped up is an iffy Phil Kessel-for-Tomas Kaberle trade proposal from the Bruins to the Maple Leafs, and scattered speculation about the chances of the Islanders not picking John Tavares first overall. No other wheeling-and-dealing in bids to move up or down in selection order, or to tinker with rosters before free agency hits next week.

I know why I’m feeling shortchanged: Comparatively, NBA teams completed a flurry of transactions before and during their entry draft yesterday, including the trading of marquee names like Shaquille O’Neal. NHL teams are more constricted by the roster-based hard salary cap they operate under, but still, why should hoops fans have all the fun?

I suspect the hockey world will see a buzz of activity starting right about now, before the Draft begins at 7PM in Montreal. But it’s been a dull lead-up.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 06/26/2009 03:47pm
Category: Basketball, Hockey, Media, SportsBiz
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strange fruit
Yesterday, an uptick of traffic to this old post and its related Flickr page solved the mystery behind the above photo. Turns out that those strategically-placed Post-It Notes belong to The Orchard, a big-time music and video licensing company. Their offices are behind those windows on Lafayette Street (although their actual physical address is around the corner, on 4th Street).

Accordingly, I guess I’m wrong about that pixelated fruit being the bonus-points orange from “Pac-Man”. It’s actually The Orchard’s corporate logo, which, from the looks of it, is supposed to be a peach. That would make sense, as peaches do grow in orchards, while oranges grow in groves. (Although this Post-It creation could be doubling as both, just to fit in better with the “Space Invaders” alien and spaceship.)

This art display was still in place as of a couple of days ago, which is the last time I walked past. Hopefully my online exposure won’t spook them into tearing it all down.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 06/26/2009 01:30pm
Category: Comedy, Creative, New Yorkin', Photography, Videogames
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Thursday, June 25, 2021

is there a draft in here
I was hoping my offhand quip about who the New York Islanders should select No. 1 overall in tomorrow’s 2009 NHL Entry Draft would slip past the goalie. But since some other Puck Daddy readers seemed to like it, I’ll reproduce it here, in all it’s crackpot-conspiratorial glory:

The master plan on Long Island: They draft [Matt] Duchene, knowing that the Islander faithful will respond to this anti-[John] Tavares affront by promptly burning down Nassau Coliseum. That will force Town of Hempstead’s hand on the Lighthouse Project arena, and one way or another, the Isles get a new barn!

Probably the most brilliant draft-day maneuvering in the history of the National Hockey League, actually. High time a team fully synthesize its personnel and facility development efforts into one chaos-theory strategy!

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/25/2009 02:32pm
Category: Comedy, Hockey, SportsBiz
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Flop No. 1: Meet Dave. Flop No. 2: Imagine That. Despite the back-to-back theatrical flameouts, Eddie Murphy is still enough of a name that studios are willing to bank millions in movie production costs behind him — to a point:

Mr. Murphy, 48, is one of a declining number of actors whose name alone can get a movie made. While studios are increasingly balking at paying top dollar for brand-name actors — and Mr. Murphy still asks for $20 million a picture and a cut of the gross — they still want to be in business with them because they believe it lessens their risk.

“The challenge with Eddie is that you have to put his brand on the right tin can,” said the consultant James Ulmer, who compiles the biannual report “The Ulmer Scale,” which rates the global bankability of actors. “His audiences are very straitjacketed in their expectations of him, and by that I mostly mean fat suit, fat suit, fat suit.”

In addition Mr. Murphy’s name is a marketing hook on a DVD, and he remains one of the few American comedians who can deliver results overseas.

This is probably just my bias, but I say that Murphy is worth watching only when he lets it rip with the adult material. The Disneyfication he underwent with Daddy Day Care and the like always seemed like odd fits (the Shrek voiceover work doesn’t really count). His last big hit was Norbit, and while it was pretty horrible (yes, I saw it) and gimmicky with the fat suits and multiple roles, it was an R-rated return to Murphy’s raunchy comedic roots. He needs to focus on more of that.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/25/2009 01:52pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Celebrity, Movies
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shaq-a-tweet
Only last month, I took note of Bill Simmons’ vision of the future of sports reporting:

…I see a day when the following sequence will be routine: Player demands trade on blog; team obliges and announces deal on Twitter; player thanks old fans, takes shots at old team and gushes about new team on Facebook. We will not need anyone to report this, just someone to recap it. Preferably with links.

No permalinked trade demand from Shaquille O’Neal, but apparently, he did find out about his just-completed trade from Phoenix to Cleveland via his Twitterstream:

That’s what it looks like after a fan Tweeted the NBA superstar to ask about the trade shortly after the news broke late Wednesday night. Within minutes, Shaq replied “I didn’t hear dat yet” to the fan.

The fact Shaq was apparently out of the loop prompted disbelief and e-laughter from his Twitter followers, and Shaq seemed to grasp the weirdness of the situation.

“I kno right,” he Tweeted back.

So I guess the future is now, at least in the NBA. Or, it’s more like a blast from the past: For years, it was pretty common for sports and show biz folks to first hear about trades, TV show cancellations, etc. involving them, not directly from their bosses or agents, but via news reports. The passive-aggressiveness remains, only the medium has changed.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/25/2009 11:16am
Category: Basketball, Celebrity, Media, Social Media Online
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Wednesday, June 24, 2021

I like taking photographs for fun. The online evidence of my enthusiasm can be found on this blog’s Photography category and my Flickr account.

A recurring theme with my picture-taking: I frequently fob off all the grainy images I take on the poor quality of my cameraphone, which is the now-outmoded Motorola MOTOKRZR/K1m (yeah, I know, ancient — eventually I’ll upgrade to an iPhone). It’s probably no worse than most cellphone-bundled cameras, in that it’s not designed to be a high-quality image-capturing device. But I seem to have an especially hard time with it. My informal estimate is that about one out of every four pics I take come out presentable. Like I said, I blame the limitations of the technology I carry around with me.

But now, I’ve found out about Shawn Rocco, a professional news photographer who snaps amazing digital pictures with his old cellphone (the Motorola E815, which is pretty comparable to my phone).

So I can no longer use an inferior cameraphone as my creative crutch. I have to face it: I’m just lacking in photographic talent. Good thing I don’t have to do it for a living.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/24/2009 08:46pm
Category: Creative, Photography, Tech
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double dipped
While Mr. Doubleshot Beer Helmet, above, would never be tolerated inside a proud craft-brewery type of bar or restaurant, the disconnect in matching quality suds with fine foods indicates that those establishments essentially equate beer drinkers with such lowbrow fare:

Great beer abounds today in New York, and the choices keep getting better. Nowadays, almost every neighborhood bar has at least a few craft beers. The better beer bars offer an expanded selection, scouring the world for unknown brewers and new beers. And the mark of a top-flight spot is one or two cask beers, served unpasteurized and unfiltered with natural carbonation, rather than from a pressurized keg.

Yet an imbalance exists that threatens to undercut the pleasure to be found in a perfectly drawn pint. While aficionados yearn to have beer taken as seriously as wine, too often beer is presented in a context that diminishes the respect it deserves…

Popular culture treats beer as the antithesis of stuffy pretension. Beer has spent so long as the everyman’s answer to snobby wine that investing it with serious appreciation and serious context is possibly too much to ask. Yet enough restaurants and taverns today, from high-end to humble, treat beer seriously, knowledgeably and unpretentiously that it is hard to accept any less.

Basically, the craft pubs will boastfully offer up a couple of hundred different brands of brew, but present you with a deep-fried, plastic-basket served food menu that’s no better than what you can pick up through a drive-thru window. Conversely, the five-star restaurants will carry the premium beers to pair with their gourmet dishes, but gives them a back seat to the more-familiar wine list. The former emphasizes the drinking while the latter emphasizes the eating, with the supposedly high-flight ales getting shortchanged either way.

Personally, I’m not much of a beer-swiller anyway. I find the obsession over imports and craft products to be at least as silly as wine snobbery, especially since it’s all ultimately just carbonated pisswater. As always, the marketing wins out in the end.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/24/2009 04:23pm
Category: Food, Society
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bank shot
The New York Mets balked at buying a matching nameplate for their stadium’s nearby subway stop in Queens, but the New Jersey Nets are game for it in their (hopeful) new home in Brooklyn. The NBA team will cough up $4 million for naming rights to the Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue subway stations.

No, the stops won’t say “Nets” on them, but rather, “Barclays”:

This may seem odd, since Barclays is a bank based in London with offices in Manhattan, and the only Barclay Street on the city map is not even in Brooklyn. (It’s in Manhattan, in the financial district.)

There will, however, soon be a Barclays Center, the sports arena planned as the focal point of the Atlantic Yards project, and the developer, Forest City Ratner, has agreed to pay the transportation authority $200,000 a year for the next 20 years to rename one of the oldest and busiest stations in the borough.

Of course, a soft economy has rendered the Atlantic Yards project very much up in the air now, so there’s a good chance that this deal will dissolve. But that scarcely matters, because the precedent is now set for other companies to plaster their names onto MTA landmarks, for a price.

Not that any of them are rushing forward:

Still, while selling station names could bring the authority revenue it needs, advertising experts say companies may not be as well-served.

“To be effective, the viewer needs to understand the relevance of the ad,” said Allen Adamson of Landor, a branding firm. “To rename the 59th and Lex stop the McDonald’s stop — it ain’t going to work. I don’t think it will stick.”

Indeed, other cities have tried this with little success. Boston, for example, tried auctioning off four historic stations a few years ago and received no bids…

To determine its asking price for the Brooklyn station, the authority studied a few successful efforts, like a monorail in Las Vegas named for Nextel, the communications company, and streetcars in Tampa, Fla., named for a local electric utility. And the popularity of the station — the second-busiest in Brooklyn last year — was taken into account.

I’m not sure I understand the reticence by corporate America. You’re talking about millions of eyeballs seeing, hearing, and talking about your brand every single day — where else can you get that exposure? Diehards are always going to insist on snubbing a name that’s grafted onto an established station, but that’s not going to completely negate the presence. To me, it’s a golden opportunity to grab urban mindshare.

The only way such subway signage rights would be more attractive would be if they were being offered for virgin territory, i.e. the long-planned 2nd Avenue “T Line”. I’m guessing that when/if construction is ever completed on that new branch, every single station on that route will be corporately-monikered, with no arena or other landmark needed for justification.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 06/24/2009 02:02pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Basketball, New Yorkin', Politics, SportsBiz
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Tuesday, June 23, 2021

lidded
I must be completely punch-drunk tonight, if all it takes is a tweet request for me to post the above picture. That would be me, wearing my festive purple pimpwear fedora, a leftover relic from a years-ago masquerade party. I had a more-or-less complete suit to go along with it, but that’s long gone now.

Note the accessory fuzzy dice hanging off the side. I added that touch myself. I must have lucked upon them, because they obviously match well with the hat’s leopard-skin trim. Believe me, the partygoers appreciated my attention to sartorial detail.

Bigger photo on Flickr, although the quality is only fair, thanks to my cameraphone’s limitations. Pimpin’ may be easy, but spur-of-the-moment photography sure ain’t.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/23/2009 11:20pm
Category: Fashion, Photography
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