Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 15th, 2018

A wonderful beef shank from Farm & Field Butcher

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In my 10″ 2-qt sauté pan, I put about 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil and then added:

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped small
1 medium carrot, diced
1 cup celery, chopped small (with leaves)
1 Serrano pepper, chopped small
8 cloves garlic, chopped small

I sautéed that for a while until onions were translucent, then put the beef shank cross-section on top and gave it several dashes of Maggi seasoning.

The covered pan went into a 200ºF oven for 7 hours. Extremely tasty. There was enough marrow in the bone to justify getting out my antique silver double-ended marrow spoon.

Written by Leisureguy

15 October 2018 at 2:50 pm

How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town

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Derek Thompson writes in the Atlantic:

These days, walking through parts of Manhattan feels like occupying two worlds at the same time. In a theoretical universe, you are standing in the nation’s capital of business, commerce, and culture. In the physical universe, the stores are closed, the lights are off, and the windows are plastered with for-lease signs. Long stretches of famous thoroughfares—like Bleecker Street in the West Village and Fifth Avenue in the East 40s—are filled with vacant storefronts. Their dark windows serve as daytime mirrors for rich pedestrians. It’s like the actualization of a Yogi Berra joke: Nobody shops there anymore—it’s too desirable.

A rich ghost town sounds like a capitalist paradox. So what the heck is going on? Behind the darkened windows, there’s a deeper story about money and land, with implications for the future of cities and the rest of the United States.

Let’s start with the data. Separate surveys by Douglas Elliman, a real-estate company, and Morgan Stanley determined that at least 20 percent of Manhattan’s street retail is vacant or about to become vacant. (The city government’s estimate is lower.) The number of retail workers in Manhattan has fallen for three straight years by more than 10,000. That sector has lost more jobs since 2014, during a period of strong and steady economic growth, than during the Great Recession.

There are at least three interlinked causes. First, the rent, as you may have heard, is too damn high. It’s no coincidence that retail vacancies are highest in some of the most expensive parts of the city, like the West Village and near Times Square. From 2010 to 2014, commercial rents in the most-trafficked Manhattan shopping corridors soared by 89 percent, according to ­CBRE Group, a large real-estate and investment firm. But retail sales rose by just 32 percent. In other words, commercial rents have ascended to an altitude where small businesses cannot breathe. Some of the city’s richest zip codes have become victims of their own affluence.

Second, the pain of soaring rents is exacerbated by the growth of online shopping. It’s typically simplistic to point at a problem in the U.S. and say, “Well, because Amazon.” But it is no coincidence that New York storefront vacancy is climbing just as warehousing vacancy in the U.S. has officially reached an all-century low: A lot of goods are moving from storefronts to warehouses, where they are placed in little brown boxes rather than big brown bags.

Walking around the Upper East Side, where I live, I find it striking how many of the establishments still standing among the many darkened windows are hair salons, nail salons, facial salons, eyebrow places, and restaurants. What’s the one thing they have in common? You won’t find their services on Amazon. The internet won’t cut my hair, and not even the most homesick midwesterner goes online to order a deep dish to be delivered from Chicago to New York. Online shopping has digitized a particular kind of business—mostly durable, nonperishable, and tradable goods—that one used to seek out in department stores or similar establishments. Their disappearance has opened up huge swaths of real estate.

One might expect that new companies would fill the vacuum, particularly given the evidence that e-commerce companies can boost online sales by opening physical locations. But that brings us to the third problem: Many landlords don’t want to offer short-term leases to pop-up stores if they think a richer, longer-term deal is forthcoming from a national brand with money to burn, like a bank branch or retail chain. The upshot is a stubborn market imbalance: The fastest-growing online retailers are looking to experiment with short-term leases, but the landlords are holding out for long-term tenants.

New York’s problems today are an omen for the future of cities. Most people don’t live downtown because they love drifting off to the endearing sounds of honking cars and hollering investment bankers. Rather, they want access to urban activity, diversity, and charm—the quirky bars, the curious antique shops, the family restaurant that’s been there for generations—and the best way to buy that access is to own a bedroom in the heart of the city.

What happens when cities become too expensive to afford any semblance of that boisterous diversity? The author E. B. White called New York an assembly of “tiny neighborhood units.” But the 2018 landlord waiting game is denuding New York of its particularity and turning the city into a high-density simulacrum of the American suburb. The West Village landlords hoping to lease their spaces to national chains are turning one of America’s most famous neighborhoods into a labyrinthine strip mall. Their strategy bodes the disappearance of those quirky restaurants, curious antique shops, and any coffee shops that aren’t publicly traded on the NYSE.

In Jane Jacobs’s famous vision of New York, the city ideally served as a playful laboratory, which nursed new firms and ideas and exported its blessedly strange culture to the world. Today’s New York is the opposite: a net importer of the un-weird, so desperate to bring in national chains to pay exorbitant leases that landlords are willing to sit on barren blocks.

Economics assures us that, in the long run, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

15 October 2018 at 1:20 pm

What is a novelty shave-soap fragrance? and is Waterlyptus an example?

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I would say that a novelty shaving soap fragrance is one that has immediate appeal, but doesn’t wear well as a daily shave soap, so that it is used less frequently. Obviously, whether a given shaving soap’s fragrance falls into the “novelty” category will vary somewhat from person to person.

I shaved today with Waterlyptus, which I expected to be a novelty fragrance, but now that I’ve used it I’m less sure. It’s a watermelon+eucalyptus+peppermint combination, and while plain watermelon would, I feel fairly certain, be a novelty fragrance, the addition of eucalyptus changes the fragrance in a good direction and the peppermint helps as well. I’m reminded of how the use of euclayptus in addition to pink grapefruit in Meißner Tremonia’s Pink Grapefruit worked to diminish sweetness and toughen up the citrus fragrance, resulting in a shaving soap that is definitely not just a novelty fragrance.

A novelty fragrance is fun for a few shaves, but soon you want a break from it. But it’s hard to know in advance how a fragrance will fit. Phoenix Artisan’s Dark Chocolate (a limited run one or two Valentine Days ago) is fun, but definitely not something I want to use daily.

Chiseled Face’s Summer Storm is not for me a novelty fragrance—I could easily use it daily—but I imagine Fresh Cut Grass would almost certainly be a novelty fragrance, as would Bacon or Pink Bubblegum. Stirling’s Texas on Fire is a notable example of a smoke fragrance. Ultimately, it turned out for me to be a novelty fragrance.

I bought Waterlyptus because of Mantic59’s review, which he linked to in his “criteria reset” of shaving soaps. The “criteria reset” article focused on the exceptional lather one now gets from Catie’s Bubbles soaps, but he did mention Waterlyptus as an interesting fragrance.

And the lather really is excellent. I used my Omega Mixed Midget and really enjoyed all aspects of the lather. My RazoRock Stealth did an exceptionally good job. Based on the feel of my skin—totally smooth and soft—the soap and razor worked together to deliver a first-rate shave.

A good splash of TOBS No. 74 Original aftershave finished the job. This aftershave has an old-time barbershop fragrance: “notes of orange, lime and bergamot with undertones of rose, lilac and a sweet musk.”

Written by Leisureguy

15 October 2018 at 8:32 am

Posted in Shaving

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