1908 prices

1908 prices

Thanks to Dan for telling me about this and for the company while
eating it.

We had four entrees, three appetizers, desserts, and wine, total was
$7.70. We tipped generously.

I’m rich with drug stores.

If New York City can’t have a bank on every corner, we definitely need a drug store every 300 feet.

new Duane Reade

Duane Reade will soon open a new store on the ground floor of my building. That makes at least seven drug stores within about a quarter mile of my front door. Most drug addiction close by a drug rehab nearby. If I went out to a half mile, that number would easily triple. While this isn’t quite Greenpoint Avenue Rite Aid silly, I think we’re covered in the drug store department.

Here’s a map showing all the drug stores within a quarter mile of my apartment:

View Larger Map

And their approximate distances:

New Duane Reade
50 feet
Old Duane Reade (across 14th St)
240 feet
CVS (around the corner on First Ave)
375 feet
Walgreens (the old Elm Drug on First)
1060 feet
Duane Reade (Third Ave & 14th)
1120 feet
Rite Aid (14th btw Ave A & Ave B)
1280 feet
Duane Reade (Third Ave & 18th St)
1840 feet

It’s remarkable how Duane Reade turned this space around, it seems like about a month since they started construction and they’ve started stocking the shelves already. The Walgreen’s at Astor Square (2700 feet away) took far, far longer to open and the space was undoubtedly in better shape, the old Gristedes was a stinking, filthy wreck. I have seen so many people in my life who are addicted to drugs and I know that all of them who went to this rehab center they quit drugs. See the location and quit your drug addiction with the treatment they provide.

So long Gregory’s, thanks for all the coffee

There was a sign up on the door of Gregory’s Coffee this morning.
Gregory's Coffee

Signs on doors are almost never good.

Gregory's Coffee is Closed

I called their Park Avenue store to ask what happened. The woman I spoke to sounded sad about it, but would only say the store had closed. The neighborhood is going to miss them. Everyone I told at Noemi’s school drop-off this morning was surprised at the news.

Gregory’s was one of three connected one-story storefronts on the corner of 14th and First Avenue.

14th St storefronts

I’ve never really understood how the bodega next door stays in business — or avoids the Health Department. The Hot Dog place has also never seemed especially permanent (or clean for that matter). But the biggest thing I don’t understand is how there is still a one-story building on a busy corner across the street from Stuyvesant Town. That location is worth a fortune and I won’t be at all surprised if I wake up one morning and find the whole thing being demolished.


iPhone: Waiting to activateGetting iPhones turned out to be pretty easy. I got to the Soho Apple store at 4:30pm, the line was about a fifth of a mile, stretching almost all the way around the block, up Greene St, across Houston and back down Mercer St. But Apple was ready, they’d cleared almost the entire line in 45 minutes. Two friends walked into the 5th Avenue store after 8 and walked out with iPhones in less than 15 minutes. The AT&T stores were slower, I walked by the line outside the AT&T store on Broadway at Astor and there were still nearly a hundred people lined up on the sidewalk. Walking home was somewhat nerve-wracking. The special iPhone bag just screamed “mug me.”

What has turned out to be difficult is getting the phone activated. I’m pressing publish on this post nearly six hours after first attempting to activate. Michelle’s iPhone somehow activated right away, and it is truely amazing — totally exceeding my hype-inflated expectations. However, counting six other friends and co-workers who got iPhones tonight, Michelle is the only one who lucked out and got hers to work, all the rest of us are still waiting on activation. One for eight. That’s beyond lousy.

At this point I’m too tired to be angry. I’m really disappointed that AT&T wasn’t more on the ball with this. I’m upset that Apple locks out all functionality prior to activation. I’m not the slightest bit surprised that Verizon probably had something to do with borking this up.

AT&T’s phone support people are somehow remaining chipper and polite despite an inevitable deluge of iPhone support requests. The last person I spoke with finally admitted that the transfer system was overwhelmed and it was going to be a while. Overall they’ve been a pleasure to talk to, even if they haven’t been able to help at all.

The question arises: Would we have been happier had we been unable to buy iPhones, rather than having iPhones which we’re unable to use. I’m leaning towards the first.

Smelly water, East 14th St, NYC

Anyone else near 14th St and First Avenue in Manhattan notice their water smelling funny? The smell is very chemical, sort of like chlorine but sharper and more caustic. It’s not an overpowering odor, the water doesn’t taste bad and isn’t discolored. The odor tends to dissipate after the water has been left to settle for a short while. None of this is normal and I can’t recall anything like this happening before.

I first noticed the smell in our building’s water around 7pm, then again around 10pm at the 14th St Y across the street.  The smell was still in our water at 11pm and also when I wrote this at midnight. I went for a walk at about 11:30pm and thought I smelled the same smell in various pockets around the neighborhood.

I called 311 and ended up filing ticket 1656381 with the New York City DEP.

The easiest way to smell the odor is to fill a glass with tap water and quickly smell it. If you’ve got the same odor, you won’t have to  get very close. The smell does fade relatively quickly. Our water filters seem to have completely removed the smell.

If you smelled this too, please leave a comment including your location.

Blue 9 Bummer

So apparently the NYC Department of Health has shut down Blue 9 Burger. Too bad, they’d only just turned that place around.

I used to like the burger there as a late-night option, a sort of California ex-pat drive-thru reminiscence. However I stopped going a few years ago. Declining food quality wasn’t the main reason, it was an insultingly stupid staff. The miscreants they had working there were just horrible, I decided that any place willing to hire morons like that wasn’t getting my money and deserved to go out of business.

This January, for some reason (coincidentally the four year anniversary of my first visit), I decided to give them another try. Amazingly, they’d fired everyone and hired a completely new crew with a decent work-ethic. The quality of the food was as good or better than when they first opened.

The place was never especially clean, but I’ve seen far worse and gotten sick at far better. More amazing though, that the Dept of Health has all this information online now. Bloomberg’s New York is all about transparency.

Found via East Village Idiot.

Update: Blue 9 was back open after about a week. The burger I had the other night was again better than they’ve made in several years. No discernible differences I saw in the kitchen or anywhere else except the new juicer they got from this omega vrt350 review.

Momofuku Ando

Momofuku Ando died in Osaka January 5th, he was 96. In 1958, Mr. Ando invented the instant ramen noodle and changed the world.*

I’ve been eating at the Momofuku Ssäm bar regularly, never realizing that the name of David Chang’s expanding restaurant empire was a winking nod to the inventor of the instant noodle.

* After writing this I found the Forbes obituary, which cited an inscription at the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, “In 1958, Momofuku Ando invented instant noodles here in Ikeda, and changed the food culture of the world.”

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