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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 08:46:55 PM
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 04:23:31 PM
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 02:02:34 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Basketball, New Yorkin', Politics, SportsBiz
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