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November 27, 2013

tomorrow's the day

Listening to a little sports radio while walking the dog, I couldn't help but note that the most head-scratching promotion out there, even moreso than the effort to associate hummus with tailgating, is a seasonal campaign peddling Medieval Times as a destination for Thanksgiving.


Now Thanksgiving has long been one of my favorite holidays, but it's a big world out there.  We've heard of the alternate holiday restaurant traditions, like hitting Chinatown for Christmas dinner, but, Medieval Times?  Maybe the reluctance I'm having imagining that is that I have a hard time imagining going to Medieval Times on days that are not Thanksgiving.

Though after thinking about it, I realized that a story I would love to read is the Thanksgiving Day scene at Medieval Times.  Happy families?  Sad loners?  Jousting fanatics?  And it's something that I would happily report and write, but for the fact that Thanksgiving Day is a day I plan to spend with my friends and their families.  I'm selfish!

But that would be fantastic.  Or hell, not even Medieval Times, but the corner diner, a Pizza Hut, the truck stop.  How do people Thanksgiving in public?

(And FWIW, found some people were are specifically aggrieved about a Thanksgiving at Medieval Times: the people who work there.)

Travel safe, everybody.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:53 AM

November 26, 2013

hugo lindgren's dubai on the hudson

This may be a bit provincial for you non-NYCers out there, but if you've noticed the troubling trend of writers turning in endless iterations of "Why I Left New York" pieces, or if you've wondered why some of the smart people of the Internet call our outgoing mayor Mayor Smaug, or even if you're, like me, a student of the slow degradation of all things, then you should give Hugo Lindgren's Riff for the mag he edits, the NYT Sunday Magazine, a good read.

I get the impression that Lindgren was born and raised here, whereas I only fled to here after a childhood in the suburbs, but it is pitch-perfect and I agree with every word, chock full of keepers.  Problem stated:

The old easygoing Village ambience has been getting economically stimulated out of existence for decades, but it's going faster than ever now. Every time I walk across Eighth Street, I can't believe what has happened to it -- how one of downtown's last reliably funky and ramshackle shopping streets has been utterly neutered, scrubbed and wine-barred. My local diner on University Place shut down because it could no longer afford what was said to be a rent of 40 grand a month. It sat empty for months and months, though we don't suffer for dining convenience. There are now two Pret a Manger premade-sandwich joints in my area, as well as a 7-Eleven with rolling corn dogs in the window.

Nothing says nowhere quite like a 7-Eleven. Except maybe a Jamba Juice.

And of course you could classify this as another Gen X-er bemoaning the fact that things change.  Criticism anticipated:

If this is sounding like yet another lament about how the great island of Manhattan has been reduced to a soulless playground for investment bankers and multinational franchisers, well, it's kind of unavoidable, isn't it? Even some bankers feel this way. They didn't move here from Shaker Heights to live in a shopping mall, either.

But it's not all so bleak.  Lindgren gets around to some silver linings, maybe a ray of hope (and not a ray of hope that we're going back to 1992, as we all know there are certain laws of time and space that prevail in that situation).

Think of it as a very resolute Why I Did Not Leave New York.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:46 AM