News 07.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 07.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
via @house.blanche
News 07.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

New York City Is A Mall

I have been to the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards six times—six times—and yet I’m still getting lost. Is Muji on the second or third floor? Is the Instagram-worthy Van Leeuwen ice cream shop down the hall? Forty Five Ten, the Dallas-born boutique that is the grandbaby of Barneys, is definitely up on the fifth floor, but how do you get from the first to the second floor without passing Blue Bottle Coffee? And what is the fastest route to William Greenberg rainbow cake to placate your kids who hate Vessel?

“It’s just stairs,” they say. “Can we get bubble tea?”

R. Webber Hudson, a Related Companies executive vice president, doesn’t have this problem. He and his team curated the “vertical retail center”—he winces each time I refer to it as a mall—and its configuration is as clear to him as the glass in the six-story atrium. International luxury brands are on the first floor; previously only-on-the-internet brands like M. Gemi shoes and Japanese normcore faves Uniqlo and Muji are on the second; high-volume draws Zara and H&M are stacked on three and four; and so on.

Read the rest of this article at: Curbed

News 07.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Subway Got Too Big. Franchisees Paid a Price.

News 07.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Manoj Tripathi couldn’t shake the feeling that someone had a vendetta against his Subway sandwich shop. A franchisee for nearly two decades, he had done everything he could to keep his restaurant, in a strip mall in Northern California, in perfect condition. But lately it seemed like someone was out to get him.

It was the middle of 2017, and inspectors sent by Subway’s regional manager were finding a new problem to cite each month: a handprint on the glass door, the wrong brand of bathroom soap, cucumber slices that were too thick, he said. They seemed to be little things, but with each write-up, Mr. Tripathi’s grip on his store weakened. If he racked up enough infractions, Subway could terminate his contract and take control of the business.

When an inspector named Rebecca Husler arrived one day that September, Mr. Tripathi thought his restaurant was pristine. Then he noticed that a single light fixture needed a new bulb. Mr. Tripathi rushed out to buy a replacement, but by the time he returned, Ms. Husler had marked it as a violation. A year later, just as he feared, he lost the Subway.

Mr. Tripathi wasn’t paranoid. Ms. Husler really was out to get him. She had specific instructions from her boss, the regional Subway supervisor, to find fault with the store, she said in an interview.

“I was kind of his hit man,” she said, sipping an iced tea at a Starbucks in the Bay Area. Ms. Husler worked for the regional supervisor for nearly a year, she said, and she has come to regret the role she played in pushing a group of store owners out of their investments. The light-bulb moment with Mr. Tripathi, especially, gave her pause. “We’re ruining these people,” she said.

Subway is the largest fast-food company in the world by store count, with more than 24,000 restaurants in the United States alone. It got that way thanks in large part to entrepreneurial immigrants. Unlike at chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King, where many franchises are operated by investment firms, Subway owners are mostly individuals and families. The company’s co-founder, Fred DeLuca, made stores easy to open; most new franchisees are charged a $15,000 initial fee, compared to $45,000 at McDonald’s. In exchange, Subway operators must hand over more revenue than at many other chains — 8 percent of gross sales — while also agreeing to other fees and stipulations.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

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How to find The One

The search for ‘the one and only’ romantic partner, our second half who will love us forever and a day, and will light an eternal fire in our loving heart, has been a frustrating undertaking for many people. But why? Could the goal be unrealistic? Can we improve our strategy, and our chances, or should we give up the search?

The search for ‘The One’ can indeed feel futile. You might test what can feel like endless candidates and not find anyone you really like. You can travel great distances but never reach the Promised Land. Even when this land seems to be found, there is no lifetime guarantee, and the expiration date of this happy kingdom might be brief. Breakups, not long-term relationships, appear to be the norm. In many societies, about half of all marriages end in divorce, and lots of the remaining half have at some point seriously considered it.

In light of these difficulties, doubts have been raised concerning the value of this kind of search. One person might dismiss the quest altogether. ‘Done with trying to find a woman for life. Much easier to just hook up for a good short time. Avoid all the other personal drama!’ as one man told me. Another stops the search early, after finding profound love and connection when very young. ‘I’ve never regretted not ordering the fish when my steak arrived cooked and seasoned to my liking,’ said a woman who married her first lover. Yet others say they’ve found The One yet continue sampling what’s out there. ‘I want both – a long, profound love and a series of short, intense romantic-sexual experiences. Lust and profound love are both meaningful and satisfying for me,’ another woman explains.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

News 07.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Troubling Business of Bounty Hunting

News 07.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I. The Thin Gray Line
Slim Manila Folders
Our fugitive had no legs. He had a patchy beard, a decent scowl, and a court-issued FTA (“Failure to Appear”) arrest warrant stemming from a previous felony charge of “Assault and Battery [of a] Firefighter.” But no legs. There was nary a mention of this in the bondsman’s slim manila folder—just the original bond agreement with none of the fugitive’s details filled out, the arrest warrant, and a mugshot. Instead, this vital piece of intel about Joe Jr. was volunteered by a neighbor of his.

Me and Dodson had been on the case all day. Whenever one of these skips fails to show up in court, the bail bondsman calls us to find them. Or, more likely, calls one of our better-qualified competitors. We’d only been certified bounty hunters for all of three weeks.

The late-summer heat of Virginia’s Tidewater region soaked through our body armor as we went door-to-door in Joe Jr.’s neighborhood, like a pair of tactical salesmen. We carried with us an assortment of pepper sprays, handcuffs, and one projectile taser. Around my neck, I wore a shiny metal badge engraved with the words Bail Enforcement Agent. Joe Jr.’s neighbor took one look at us and assumed we were something legit. She pointed to Joe Jr.’s house, told us about his lack of legs, and added: “He likes to drink.”

Joe Jr.’s father answered the door. Joe Sr. grouchily claimed that he had no idea where Joe Jr. was. It was mentioned that because of the paperwork in Dodson’s hand—paperwork signed by Joe Sr.—we could legally search his house. We would like to search the house, we said. Just to be sure. Also, just for practice. That went unsaid. Joe Sr. did not take the request well.

“You aren’t coming in my house,” he said, furthering his point by marching inside and calling the cops. The officer who arrived didn’t even bother getting out of his patrol car. He seemed neither the least bit surprised nor concerned by the sight of two young men in streetwear and body armor. Local police apparently knew the Joe family well.

We showed the officer our file. “Oh, nice,” he deadpanned, after being told of the assault charge. The problem with Joe Jr., he said, wasn’t the drinking. The problem was his prosthetics. Whenever Joe Jr. got to fighting, he’d unlash the hard plastic limbs and wield them like cudgels. According to the officer, civil servants and emergency personnel weren’t allowed to keep him separated from the deadly weapons for any length of time since, legally speaking, they were a part of his body.

By the time a second officer approached, Joe Sr. was on his front lawn, screaming in my face. The police stood just a few feet away, silently assessing the situation as I tried various sales tactics. Joe Sr. wouldn’t budge. In a whisper session, the officers said that they couldn’t provide direct assistance in searching the premises. But, they shrugged, if Joe Sr. used his considerable weight to physically assault one of us upon entry…well, then they could turn it into a police matter. Legally speaking. Eventually, one officer asked if me and Dodson couldn’t follow other leads for the time being.

It was a couple of weeks later when we made another pass at the house. Same square dance—a grunt, a call, a shrug. We expanded our search to bars within shambling distance of the family residence. At one, an intoxicated Joe Jr. allegedly slammed a hollow limb on the countertop and insisted it be filled knee-high with booze like an improvised bierstiefel. The bar exercised its right to refuse service, permanently. One of the few neighborhood establishments where Joe Jr. hadn’t worn out his welcome was a topless joint.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

The Dark Side Of The Caribbean

News 07.01.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The last man you come across in Mexico can be found at the following coordinates: 18º 12’ 9” N and 87º 50’ 36” W. He is almost always there working on his rooftop terrace. His name is Don Luis and his home faces the Caribbean Sea beyond the ubiquitous mangrove swamp. If you walk five minutes to the right, you are in a different country, but if you go left, you are in Xcalak in an hour – the first town within the Mexican border.

Don Luis is a muscular 58-year-old with dark hair and a moustache, and whose isolated dwelling is situated on one of oddest borders in the world. It is a line that divides a 99-kilometer strip of land into southeast Mexico and Belize, otherwise known as a key, which runs parallel to the Belize coastline. A military base marks the division between the countries. Mexico has 62 kilometers with barely a soul on them while Belize owns 37 kilometers crammed with tourists.

The last man in Mexico has no electricity or running water and no land access to his home either. There is no fridge or TV and his old cellphone only occasionally picks up the signal from Belize. But Don Luis knows a thing or two about survival, such as how to fish with a shoelace, desalinate water, sow seeds on the beach and use his mouth to suck the poison from the bite of a Nauyaca, one of the world’s deadliest snakes.

Luis Méndez was born in Mérida, Yucatan, and worked in a state government job until a friend suggested he become an estate warden. Three years after arriving in the furthest-flung corner of Mexico, he has learned that everything that comes from the sea has potential – a piece of rope can be used to jump-start a propeller, the sole of a shoe can be fashioned into a hinge and a can lid can be used to hold a nail in place.

Accompanied by Canelo, his coffee-colored Hungarian pointer, Don Luis gets up with the sun every day and takes a walk. Previously, he would walk along the beach, but now he strolls along a fetid bed of bladderwrack, a kind of kelp that is peculiar to the Caribbean and which gives off a smell like rotten egg, and dominates the coastline.

Strewn over the seaweed are old flip-flops and potato-chip bags and also hundreds of small plastic bags the size of the palm of a human hand. They are all the same and contain a mix of seawater and traces of white powder.

Don Luis could enjoy taking in the view of the second-biggest coral reef in the world, but instead he keeps his eyes to the ground. He says that he is simply checking that everything is in order, but during our walk together I hear him use a word I have never heard before: “playear” – literally, to beach. The verb refers to the never-ending search for bricks of cocaine that are dropped by small planes and may be missed by the speedboats that come to scoop them up. To not playear here is like not being Catholic in the Vatican.

Read the rest of this article at: El Pais

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.