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Category Archives: New York
There are a lot of meal delivery services in NYC. Why not? We like delicious food but we don’t have the time to actually shop for it and then cook it.
Me, I like my food fresh and local, and not prepackaged like a frozen dinner–which is what I imaged most food delivery services to be. But my interest was piqued when I found Greatist’s list of healthy food delivery services.
The one that I settled on to try was Plated, a service that delivers pre-portioned ingredients for chef-designed meals to your door. Nice enough, but here’s where I got excited: they use in-season, local ingredients whenever possible.
It’s actually pretty affordable, coming out to $10 to $15 a plate, depending on how many you order–much lower than other food delivery options, and great if you consider the high-quality ingredients and inventive recipes.
So one night, after drinking wine on an empty stomach and staring dolefully into my sad, empty refrigerator, I went a little crazy and ordered six meals, two each of three recipes.
Knowing that I am a single woman living with just roommate (who eats like a bird and refuses to eat any of my food), I should have held back, but it was too late. I found myself with the makings of three scrumptious meals for two: cornmeal crusted cod with citrus romain and sweet potatoes, seared tuna sushi bowls and pork chops and roasted brussels sprouts with pancetta.
I seriously should have done an unboxing video. The ingredients came packaged in a cardboard box, complete with an icepack and an insulating bag, eco-friendly air packs and those green bags that keep produce fresh for longer. (I’ll save those for later, thank you!)
It includes three beautiful, illustrated recipe cards and a bio of the chefs. And each ingredient is labeled. It’s so freakin’ adorable.
For my first taste, I invited a friend over to help me. (“Please, help me eat this high-brow drunk food I ordered.”)
I showed him the cards, and it turns out he’s a good friend of the chef who designed the sushi bowls. But we decided to do the cod, and worked together to get it crusted and in the skillet, the fries in the oven and the simple salad tossed.
As promised, preparation was simple and fast, at a half hour, and only required basic kitchen tools. (FYI: They don’t include common kitchen ingredients in the package, like olive oil, salt and pepper. Not a big deal if you’re a semi-regular cook.) And as we ate our meal, I kept interrupting my friend who was trying to hold a conversation to exclaim, “Wow, this is so good.”
The sushi bowls I made for myself later: delicious. I threw the pork chops in the freezer but managed to find time to cook them before the produce went bad within the week, and loved them.
Reader, this service is amazing. But to be fair, I will point out the downsides:
- Despite their commitment to sustainability, some ingredients, like apple cider vinegar, come in tiny plastic jars. The others all come in plastic baggies. I’m sure they are aware that this isn’t ideal, but I can’t think of a solution either. Would it be too hard logistically to allow a customer to check a box that says, “I actually already have apple cider vinegar” to cut down on packaging?
- They need a few days’ lead time to assemble, so you have to plan ahead. No last minute ordering–you’ll have to hit up Seamless for that.
If you like what you see, Greatist actually provides a discount. Go get it!
I wrote this piece for the amazingly entertaining website Narratively, which tells the most interesting stories in New York City. If you enjoy it, do me the favor of “liking” it via the wee Facebook button on Narratively’s page and/or sharing it with your friends. Grazie!
I emerge from the L at the Montrose stop along with several other people. The sidewalk is busy, plenty of cars pass. But as soon as I take a right down a side street, I’m alone. Squatting on either side of my route are warehouses, their windows dark and their brick walls tagged with graffiti.
I scan the locked doors as I hurry down the lonely street, looking for a certain address that was emailed to me in the middle of the week. I wonder what the chances are that the party got cancelled and if I’m here for nothing. Then I spot the man ahead of me, standing by himself. He’s big, and he looks bored. Bingo.
As I get closer, I hear the bass thudding. “You here for the party?” he asks me. “I’ll need to see your I.D., but we can check it inside.” He opens the door, checks my I.D. and directs me up the concrete-and-metal staircase with lime green walls, toward the deep bass and down-tempo of minimal house music.
Read the rest on Narrative.ly.
Sometimes I love my life, sometimes I don’t. In those moments when I get down, I remind myself that it’s not the life you have, it’s what you do with it.
I took this picture from the top of The Standard Hotel. From there, you can look out over the glittering city, which always causes a warm flush of gratitude for my experiences and the opportunity to be here. Turn and walk to the other side, and you can observe cabs whizzing up town and downtown with their fares, and trace the white reflections of New Jersey skyscrapers in the black Hudson. What are all those millions of people doing out there in the city tonight?
New York City sometimes has a way of making you feel like you’re missing out, especially at night. There’s always a better party, a prettier dress, a more expensive bauble, a more fascinating person to meet, a more prestigious career and more ridiculous story. You never have to go to bed, if you don’t want to–you never have to stop.
But there’s also a lot of sadness and grime here, which is easy to forget at night as you barrel toward the next party. After dusk, when the grey of pavement and steel fade to inky black and the windows turn to gold squares of light, you can’t see the grime, just the glitter.
I think it’s important to remember that getting a more impressive job or hanging out with “cooler” people or getting into that more desirable club doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s appreciating what’s been set before you that does. And remembering that this–this party, this loneliness, this elation, this hangover, this beautiful view, this disappointment–this too shall pass.
First of all, I want to applaud Solomon Liou for his commitment to good jeans. How many men do you know who would search high and low for the perfect pair of jeans, and when he isn’t satisfied, just go out and make them himself?
That’s what Solomon did, and now he’s raising money on Kickstarter to get Parke jeans started. The jeans will be made here in NYC of selvedge denim, a kind of throwback denim created on antique shuttle looms, that is higher quality and lasts longer than the cheap stuff you see in department stores today. Less than 1% of jeans are made using selvedge denim anymore, though it was the chief mode of production before World War II.
They sound like ridiculously nice jeans, but because Parke will craft and send the jeans straight to you–without middlemen or marketing–they will only cost $125. Eventually they will retail for $195.
- Are locally-made
- Use a higher-quality, vintage fabrication process
- Will last a long time so you won’t have to dump them in a landfill after a year
- Cost less than most designer jeans
- Support local craftsmen and women
- Look damn sexy
To get a pair or two, just pledge to support Parke on Kickstarter. $45 gets you a Parke t-shirt, $125 gets you a pair of jeans, $250 gets you two pairs. $1,000 gets you a pair of custom-made jeans with your name embroidered on them and subway token buttons–for the locavore who has everything.
They need $50,000 by January 18th, and they are only halfway to their goal. Go support them!!
Eat a Seasonal 5-Course Meal Prepared by a Native NY Chef
Sunday, January 6th, 5 – 8 p.m.
Join Joe Fusco, a third-generation chef born and raised in New York City for a casual five-course dinner with beer in Long Island City (that’s that hip neighborhood in Queens, right across from Midtown East). You’ll start off with a little background on his culinary history before watching him work magic in the kitchen. As you sit to eat, mingle with other guests while Joe brings out dish after dish of fall favorites.
Why? Beer-steamed baby clams, smoked beef brisket, creamy soft polenta and meeting new people while you eat all of it.
$75, book at SideTour
Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture
Until Sunday, August 11, 2013
The American Museum of Natural History investigates human nutrition and food history in ways both cultural, artistic, scientific and activist. Displays look at early diet staples and the history of agriculture, as well as current environmental, health and safety concerns relating to the food industry. Visitors can sample seasonal noms, view images and food artifacts of sustenance through the ages, and discover how to grow food year-round–even if you live in a tiny apartment.
Why: It’s fascinating no matter what your food persuasion–omnivore, locavore, paleo-vore, whatever-vore.
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West, (at 79th St), Manhattan
$25, seniors and students $19, children 2–12 $14.50, children under 2 free.
Gowanus Nite Market
Like other Brooklyn markets, you can find artist-made goods from up to 25 vendors, nosh on local specialties from food trucks and drink beer from Brooklyn Brewery. But this one is in a warehouse, starts when other markets are closing and goes until midnight, and the vendors all have specially-made stands crafted from movie props. Yes, there’s a DJ.
Why? You’re totally bored by day markets, think Williamsburg is overdone and want to try something a little different.
Film Biz Recycling, 540 President St. between 3rd and 4th Aves, Brooklyn. Continues the second Saturday of each month through April 2013. More info at the website.
Create Your Own Handmade Soda at Brooklyn Soda Works
Thursday, January 24th, 7-9 p.m.
You can find unique flavors from Brooklyn Soda Works like Cucumber, Lime & Sea Salt or Concord Grape & Fennel Seed soda served on-tap at restaurants like Blue Hill Stone Barns, Bourgeois Pig, and Beer Table, plus markets all over the city. Let’s say it’s a bit more refined than Pepsi.
At their test kitchen in Brooklyn, the founders will show you how they use only fresh pressed juice instead of sugary syrup in their carbonated sodas and explain why they only serve their brews on tap, not in bottles. Then dive into a brief science lesson on carbonation and pairing flavors before hand-crafting your own seasonal soda.
Why: You’ve quit Coca-Cola but miss the bubbles. Make the oxymoron of artisinal soda become a reality.
$45, book at SideTour
NYChiliFest 2013 at The Chelsea Market
Sunday, January 27, 7-9 p.m.
The ultimate celebration of chili, beer, and all things spicy, each ticket to NYChiliFest gives you access to a 500-foot concourse of chili, served by dozens of NYC’s best restaurants and cutting-edge chefs. Samuel Adams is matching four of their favorite chili-eating beers and will be pouring from several locations in the concourse.
Why? Because if it’s a Food Systems Network benefit, you know the beef is locally raised and delicious, supplied by Dickson’s Farmstand Meats and the Cleaver Co. Plus, Chelsea Market is the loveliest indoor mall you will ever visit.
Locavore Cooking Class
Saturday, February 16, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Join chef instructor and cookbook author Peter Berley for a true market-to-table culinary adventure. You’ll start this class by preparing dough for focaccia. Then, while it’s rising, Peter will lead the way to the Union Square Greenmarket where you’ll learn to shop the way market-driven chefs do–by choosing what’s local and seasonal. The ingredients you select will determine the menu.
Market purchases might include freshly-caught fish, farm-fresh eggs, dairy, wine and a bounty of locally-grown produce. When you return to the classroom, you’ll focus on technique as you help Jay prepare a seasonal meal, bake off the bread, and sit down to savor everything, feeling content with the knowledge that you have just supported your local farmers. (Vegetarian-friendly; wine will be served.)
Why? Instead of picking a recipe and getting half the ingredients at Whole Foods, you’ll learn to build a recipe from the farmstand up.
Natural Gourmet Institute, 48 W. 21st St., 2nd floor
Price: $150, register at NaturalGourmetInstitute.com
Fracking might come to New York next year. Is this calamitous or actually OK? I wrote a story about the controversial (to put it mildly) energy extraction practice for LearnVest. Let me know what you think in the comments!
It inspires vitriolic debate between environmentalists, businessmen and politicians. It’s a stunning scientific advance, economic savior or a looming menace, depending on who you ask. And it sounds like a curse word.
It’s fracking, a new method for extracting natural gas that has residents from New York to Colorado up in arms.
“Fracking” is the nickname for “hydraulic fracturing.” It’s a process where millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped as much as 10,000 feet underground at high pressure to break up the shale rock surrounding natural gas deposits, and allow the natural gas to flow up a well to the surface.
Proponents say natural gas could be the solution to America’s energy worries, and revitalize economically depressed towns across the country. Detractors say it is poisoning groundwater and could even be the reason for a surge in earthquakes in Ohio. Even celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Mark Ruffalo have publicly opposed it.
It’s a classic case of economy versus environment. Or is it? Today we look at the facts behind the fighting and tell you what you need to know about this new and contentious technology.
A Short History of Natural Gas
It used to be that we could only get to large pockets of gas deposits underground, but there was much, much more trapped in tiny bubbles within rock far below the surface that we couldn’t reach. So expensive natural gas remained a niche product, while we turned to oil and coal for our energy needs.
Only recently–in the past 15 years–has a technique emerged that could get at these enormous reserves affordably. Once energy companies cracked the code of efficiently extracting natural gas, the fracking boom that followed dropped the price of natural gas from $15 per million British thermal units (Btu, or a way of measuring energy) at the end of 2005, to around $3.43 this week. And natural gas has been eating into coal’s territory: In 2005, half of all electricity in the U.S. was generated by coal and 17% by natural gas. Now coal accounts for only 34% of electricity generation in the U.S., and natural gas 30%.
Most of this natural gas comes from the Marcellus Shale, a giant layer of natural gas-rich rock that lies under Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. Though there are other, smaller deposits elsewhere–like in Texas and Colorado–the gas rush is most keenly felt in these northeastern states.
As a sign of things to come, Senator Rockefeller from West Virginia gave a game-changing speech this summer, revoking his support for the state’s coal industry and telling West Virginians they had to “face reality.” He has now thrown his support behind natural gas.
Meanwhile, New York City mayor, businessman and billionaire Michael Bloomberg has come out in support of natural gas, saying coal is too expensive and wind and solar energy aren’t viable options. What’s the big deal?
The Benefits of the Fracking Boom
It’s no wonder energy wonks are excited about fracking. It could prove to completely transform both local economies and the U.S. economy at large, plus solve some of the most pressing problems facing the U.S.
Jobs Get Created
In December 2010, the research and consulting company IHS Global Insight predicted that natural gas extraction would support 870,000 U.S. jobs and add $118 billion to the country’s economic growth through 2016. A study released in February of this year, commissioned by an Ohio business group and conducted by an academic team, says that fracking could add more than 65,000 jobs and provide an almost $4.9 billion investment just in Ohio’s economy by 2014. And these jobs are usually centered in rural areas that desperately need them.
Having more natural gas available is a boon in itself to the economy. The rapidly falling price of natural gas could keep inflation low, since high energy prices are often a key factor in inflation.
(On the other hand, the Federal Reserve’s recent action could raise inflation.)
With increasing concern about greenhouse gas emissions, natural gas has piqued the interest of environmentalists. Burning it emits much lower carbon emissions per energy unit than coal or oil. In fact, this is one reason–the mild winter being another–why first-quarter carbon emissions in the U.S. dropped to a shocking 20-year low last winter.
If the upward swing in natural gas production continues, the U.S. could get closer to energy independence. Within the next decade, we could start exporting more energy than we import.
Property Owners Get Paid
Gas companies have rushed to obtain the rights to extract gas on private property. This entails offering small property owners–often struggling farmers and ranchers–thousands of dollars upfront with the promise of continuing royalties that could go into the tens of thousands. In 2010, for example, gas companies paid out $1.6 billion in lease payments and bonuses just to Pennsylvania property owners.
So What’s the Problem?
It sounds like a perfect solution to everything that ails us: high energy prices, a weak economy, climate change and energy dependence on the Middle East. Apply natural gas and, bam! It all gets fixed.
But (you saw this coming) there are drawbacks–serious ones. And these drawbacks have only been revealed as energy companies move aggressively to start drilling, most notably in Pennsylvania.
As observers watched what was going on in Pennsylvania, they’ve started to raise the alarms across the country. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo looked poised to approve fracking, but bowed to pressure to continue studying it before letting it loose on upstate New York. And while New York decides, small towns and municipalities–about 100 of them–have enacted moratoriums on fracking or have banned it altogether. Here’s why:
Something in the Water
Energy companies have consistently maintained that the fracking process is environmentally safe, as the water and chemicals are injected into shale far below the water table, and can’t make their way into the water supply. But there is mounting evidence that this isn’t always the case.
The 2010 movie Gasland depicted residents living near natural gas wells lighting their taps on fire because it had such high levels of methane, which can leak out of the wells as a byproduct of drilling. Residents have sued energy extraction companies for poisoned wells, but documents related to the settlements have been sealed by the courts. The EPA has waffled on whether fracking poses a threat to drinking water sources, testing and retesting wells and revising their assessments under pressure from business and political groups.
Fracking also produces enormous amounts of wastewater that is brought up to the surface, which needs to be effectively treated or safely stored, and companies haven’t always been good about doing either. According to several private E.P.A. documents obtained by The New York Times, the treatment plants to which the wastewater is hauled are not equipped to handle removing all the contaminants and radioactivity, and dumping the wastewater into the rivers is not enough to dilute it. This is especially alarming since some of those rivers feed into our water supply.
An Economic Bust
Studies on the economic effects of the natural gas boom have revealed a more nuanced situation than simple job numbers would paint.
Drilling for non-renewable energy sources like oil and natural gas are usually done in boom and bust cycles. During extraction, people move to the region and there is modest growth in jobs, many of which go to outsiders who move in, instead of people native to the area. Prices for everything from goods to rent go up, impacting the cost of living for locals and forcing them out of affordable housing. (Like in this small town in North Dakota, where landlords are evicting tenants to rent to higher-paid natural gas workers.)
Local governments and infrastructure are unprepared for the influx of population and heavy trucks that damage roads and congest traffic. And then when the extraction stops, people and jobs leave the region again. Unfortunately, natural gas wells tap out faster than expected, but there’s not enough data yet on this new industry to know how long each drilling boom lasts.
While landowners were only too happy to receive windfalls for allowing companies to set up shop on their land, many found out too late that they were getting the raw end of the deal. According to The New York Times, many drilling companies have designed leases so that they can:
- Leave waste ponds full of toxic drilling sludge on the property
- Avoid compensating owners for livestock or crop damage
- Operate generators and floodlights near their homes through the night
- Extend said lease without permission from the landowners
- And according to some property owners, subtract the cost of shipping in drilling water and shipping out gas from the royalties they pay to owners so that they get paid less than expected
Even if a landowner decides not to lease, there’s no guarantee a neighbor won’t, devaluing their property by up to 25%. All of this has led to some sticky real estate situations. In the Catskills of upstate New York, real estate prices for once-coveted properties nestled in the wilderness are depressed, as skittish buyers wait for New York State to decide if and where fracking could proceed.
Mortgage lenders are also taking a second look at gas leasing, refusing to give mortgages to those who are buying property leased for drilling, requiring land buyers to agree not to lease the land to gas companies or requiring gas companies to pay for any damage to the property. This makes it even more difficult for property owners who leased to gas companies, but are now trying to sell or refinance their mortgage.
So What’s the Solution?
The fight over fracking has often been framed as an either/or proposition: Either allow fracking and its purported economic benefits, or ban it and protect our water supply. But it might just be a matter of careful and well-enforced rules. Those calling for better regulation (which includes supporter Bloomberg) of this nascent technology are asking for:
- Disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking (which aren’t fully disclosed right now because they are considered business secrets), but contain several known carcinogens
- Tighter oversight of drillers to make sure they are using best practices to prevent contamination of groundwater
- Clear and enforced guidelines for disposal of wastewater
- Reducing the release of methane, which can leak out of wells and contribute to global warming
- Protecting local ecosystems, roads and communities from the negative impacts of drilling
Whether these tighter regulations will happen remains to be seen. But if the epic battle over fracking happening in New York right now is any indication, regulators and governors seem to be proceeding a little more carefully than before.
What Do You Think?
Do you think fracking can be safely done and benefit the economy? Or do you think the risks are too great? Let us know in the comments!
Image credit: CREDO.fracking
I can be very specific about what I’m looking for, which doesn’t let itself well to green fashion, especially when it comes to bags.
I have canvas bags, I have not-green-at-all leather purses, an upcycled shoulder purse from The Sway that I adore, and I have a vegan, faux leather Cornelia Guest bag that is already losing rivets despite its $150 price tag.
But what I really want is a big, work-appropriate bag that can store my laptop and hits the sweet spot between super-green, well-made and “hot damn!” You know, the kind of bag you imagine your 35-year-old-editor self carrying on her way to meet a celebrity for an interview.
Actually, I found a few. roztayger.com has a carefully “curated collection” of beautiful and functional bags that murmur, “I’m holding a few contracts that will be revealed in the Wall Street Journal tomorrow. Just wait … ”
Not all are eco-friendly. But there are some that are hand-made, vegetable dyed and lined with organic cotton. Sounds good to me. My faves follow (in New Yorker black, bien sur):
Midnight Flea Bag
Fleabags strives to create products that are as green as possible while maintaining high quality and covetable design. They are made with organic and vintage materials, vegetable-tanned and re-purposed leathers, and USA-made parts. All silkscreens use water-based ink. They are fabricated in they NYC area, in Limited Edition, by hand, in small production runs.
Tote Bag by Bonastre
Handcrafted in Spain and designed by Parisian based designer Fernando Bonastre, this environmentally friendly bag is handcrafted using natural, non-treated cattle hides in accordance with ancient vegetable processes (based on oak bark and olive oil finishing, versus the commonly used but highly contaminating chromium tanning).
Large Vene Purse by Samuji
This oversized clutch is made of Italian leather and lined in organic cotton. Samuji is a women’s clothing and accessories line designed by the namesake creative studio based in Helsinki, Finland. It was founded in 2009 by Samu-Jussi Koski, the former creative director of Marimekko textile house. The Samuji accessories collection featured at roztayger is permanent and timeless and not based on seasonal fluctuations. Samuji’s ambition is to produce timeless and sustainable design that serves a purpose yet tells a story. All items are crafted from premium quality materials from European and Japanese suppliers and produced in Europe by carefully selected manufacturers who insist on the highest quality and ethicality.
I’ve been listening to this (admittedly a couple years old) mix on repeat. So good. Listen:
Rivet Book Bag by Frrry
The Rivet Book bag in the “rivet” series by Frrry is made of Italian veggie dyed leather and is designed and assembled in the Netherlands.
Last week, if you had looked closely, you would have thought I was being a huge hypocrite.
I was at my desk, eating lunch. Slung over my chair was a new, black, ladylike, vegan coat by Vaute Couture. On my feet were black, microsuede, platform booties by Crie de Coeur. And I was eating a chicken salad.
What could account for this odd sartorial/culinary dissonance? Am I a poser, buying vegan just to say I buy vegan while I contribute to the murder of poor little caged chickens with my choice of lunch?
Actually, there is a method to this madness. The chicken salad in question was from the Whole Foods prepared food bar–organic, hormone-free and humanely raised. And the outerwear and shoes in question are more than just vegan.
You see, I have no problem with eating meat as long as I know where it comes from. This is for the usual liberal guilt reasons (I happen to like my Chesapeake bay free of mounds of nitrate-rich chicken poop, thanks) but also out of concern for my own health. More than 3,000 people die each year from food poisoning, and I myself came down with a mild bout after succumbing to the siren call of Perdue chicken fingers at a Yankees game last year. Still, as long as I get my meat–pork, chicken, duck and the occasional hamburger–from a local farm, I feel OK about it. And I’m especially OK with eggs and yogurt from the Greenmarket.
So why go to the trouble and expense of buying vegan products? They’re not even going in my mouth!
Well, when it comes to beauty products, many are vegan as a sort of checkmark in a long line of conscious requirements of the modern consumer: No testing on animals–check. Organic–check. Paraben-free–check. Container made from post-consumer recycled content–check. Vegan/free of animal products–check. So I really just end up with vegan face lotion and deodorant.
But when it comes to clothing, something I’ve found to be almost universally true is that if someone takes the time to ensure their clothing and/or accessories are vegan, they’ve also taken the time to ensure their products are also sustainably and ethically made. Take, for example, these brands:
- EcoCloset shoes are vegan, plus eco-friendly, non-toxic and made in an ethical, sweatshop-free factory in China.
- Beyond Skin shoes are vegan, plus handmade in Spain.
- Olsen Haus shoes are vegan, plus fair trade and sustainably made.
- Elizabeth Detroit shoes are vegan, plus made from recycled plastic in the United States.
- Neuaura shoes are vegan, plus are made in a sustainable factory in Brazil.
- Pansy Maiden bags and accessories are vegan, plus made the U.S. of sustainable materials.
- Matt and Nat bags and accessories are vegan, plus use sustainable and upcycled materials.
- Reveal bags and accessories are vegan, plus made with sustainable materials.
- Vaute Couture outerwear is vegan, plus made in New York.
- Crie de Coeur shoes and accessories are vegan, plus made with sustainable materials.
See what I mean? Yes, I still have plenty of leather in my closet, especially the vegetable-tanned kind. But no, I don’t think it’s weird to pull money out of a vegan wallet to pay for Long Island duck breast. Do you?
Forget the necklace made out of rolled-up paper and the purse crafted from discarded soda pop tabs.
All the best designers and artists are going the eco-friendly route. Behold: a gift for everyone on your list. Each is so cool and stylish, you can keep the fact that it’s fair trade/sustainable/eco-friendly/guilt-free to yourself.
They don’t have to know.
This peach and cream number is so classy and pretty that it could work for almost any woman’s style. Handwoven from 100% linen, it supports Indian artisans seeking economic quality. The designer, Global Goods, is a non-profit that does good work all over the world.
$45 at LivLuna.
You’ll never get the right record for your music-connoisseur bf. (He would never tell you that, you’ll just figure it out when he never plays it.) But he can’t argue with this reclaimed record iPhone skin from Brooklyn-based Wrecords by Monkey. Best of all, it comes in both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 size. (Score extra points by pairing it with the new book Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon, full of insider references to the soul and funk greats and sporting a record cover.)
$14 at Wrecords by Monkey.
For Your Preggers Friend
Just because she’s carrying around an
alien adorable little baby inside her doesn’t mean she can live without some pampering. Stuff her stocking full of toxin-free nail polish (which Well+Good helpfully lists), and slip in a gift certificate to Sweet Lily Nail Spa in SoHo.
She won’t care that the flannel of this robe is 100% organic cotton, just that it’s super soft, in ladylike color and flattering shape.
Aw, she’s growing up so fast! Help her keep time with a surprisingly affordable sustainably-made watch made from corn resin, organic cotton, and bamboo, outfitted with a mercury-free battery.
$30 at Sprout
She lives in Brooklyn, her fridge is filled with artisanal cheese and jam, and her Spotify list is a treasure trove of indie bands. Give a necklace that will get her compliments all night long at the warehouse party and make her feel like a badass. It’s made of cruelty-free porcupine quills, turquoise howlite, bullet casing and a vintage brass chain. BONUS: Get 10% off with the code SHOPHEARTS10! (Expires 1/1/13)
$148 at Hearts
He’s a class act with impeccable taste. And with any luck, he’ll pour you a glass of this Brooklyn-made bourbon for a toast to your awesomeness as a daughter.
Find a list of liquor stores that carry it at the Kings County Distillery website.
Even if she hates cooking, she’ll still want to display these Portland-made measuring spoons in her kitchen.
$30 at Alder & Co.
I invoke the #Sandy card here. I did not edit this closely (or really at all) in my rush to get back downtown, so please excuse any typos you see!
I did not think it was going to be a big deal.
“I mean, Long Island and New Jersey always get slammed. And in New York, we’re like, ‘Tra la la.’” That was my party line up until Monday evening, as I cozied up inside my apartment with my roommate to work from home, furiously tapping away on my laptop. I mean, New York City is a giant rock. We don’t have power lines or trees, just a bunch of asphault and big building built to a stringent code.
Around 9:30 pm, a friend who lives in the East Village (and lucky for him was in Utah for the week) G-chatted me. “Just saw a video of a transformer by my apartment blowing up.”
And then, the lights blinked off. E and I stared at each other. “Uh oh.”
I still didn’t care, though. I mean, just an excuse for a party! I scrounged up some beers from the back of my fridge, grabbed my camera and a wind-up flashlight and we headed down to the lobby. The hot Irish maintenance guy was there, chatting in his brogue, along with our trusty doorman. It wasn’t even raining outside, so we headed out into the streets so I could take pictures, until a gust of wind almost knocked us over and we rushed back inside.
We climbed back upstairs and paused at the fourth floor when we heard voices, and found a neighbor standing in her hallway. We stopped to talk to her for awhile. Another girl popped her head in from the stairway. “Party in the lobby?” she asked. We agreed, and walked up and down the hallways, yelling, “Party in the lobby!”
Fifteen minutes later, we were in the lobby, which was filled with candles and glowsticks, playing catchphrase with our neighbors, eating freshly baked cookies from a neighbor and drinking beer. When we got kicked out of the lobby for being too loud, we all headed up to my apartment. I lit candles and tea lights and crowded them onto every available surface, and the eight of us talked and played games like Mafia until three in the morning, when everyone reluctantly went to bed.
OK, seriously, it’s not funny anymore.
The next morning I woke up with a start at 8:30. Still no power? Still no power.
And here we are, three days later. We have no water, so I show up to my neighbors with a toothbrush and a bucket to fill so I can flush our toilet. In the morning there’s a mass exodus to the north, professionals slogging thirty blocks or more to the land of electricity and corporate buildings, clustered around locked-up Starbucks trying to catch a wifi signal. I show up early at my friends’ apartments on the Upper East or Upper West Side, clutching my laptop for work and a toiletry bag. They take me in, let me shower and feed me food and wine. But it’s hard to concentrate on my work, as other refugees show up to take showers, cook up the food in their fridge before it spoils, drink, play video games and just take a stay-cation from work.
It used to be tres uncool to live above 30th Street. Now it’s the place to be.
I have nothing to complain about of course. My home isn’t underwater. I had food to eat and place to stay. Heck, I have a doorman! So I hope this doesn’t come off as flippant. This is just what I see and what I do personally.
At night I head back downtown, descending into the dark forest below 40th Street. Look up at the apartment buildings and a grid of black windows stare back, with every tenth one glowing, flickering gold. The sky above is a muddy pink and the sidewalks light up white from the passing remaining cabs that weren’t drowned, buses packed so full with people they can’t close their doors, a rig hauling generators, bouncing flashlights and the blue and red strobes of police SUVs.
At first I was annoyed by the constant sirens passing day and night. “What are all these emergencies?” I wondered. But then I realized that there weren’t that many emergencies. The cop cars just cruise around, flicking their sirens on and off. Their “woop woops” are them saying, “We’re here, we’re here. Your safe.” Silence, as we hide in our dark apartments, would be worse.
I think a lot about whether I feel safe. And I do. I’m grateful to the doormen, who drive into the city early in the morning to beat the carpooling restriction, and guard our lobby through the night from passing homeless people who want to set up camp in our lobby. I’m grateful to the maintenance guy, who taped glowsticks down the hallway in and the stairwell like airplane emergency lights. My mother asked me if people were looting. No, at least not in Manhattan (a little in Coney Island). We’re not angry or desperate, just inconvenienced and tired.
When I get home at night, my neighbors K and C come knock on my door. I light tea lights and set them all over my apartment, pour wine or champagne and we play cards and Bananagrams, or just sit and talk. We don’t check our phones or the internet. We’re there, with each other, like when you were at summer camp as a kid. We just met Monday, and we’ve hewn together as close friends in just three days. We know all about each others’ families and relationships and weird neuroses. I don’t mind the blackout then.
But in the morning, when I wake up shivering, having to pee, mouth sticky and hankering for toothpaste, and strategizing how I will get to electricity, I hate it. It’s like camping in my own apartment without the fun. I want to leave the city, but I know as of yesterday trains weren’t even running. There’s no gas anywhere around the city for cars, and travel out of airports is a nightmare. So I’m still here.
Hopefully Con Edison will make good on their promise to have electricity up by 11 p.m. on Saturday. Until then, you can find me cooking vegetables on my gas stove by candlelight.