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Saying the New York Times is just a newspaper, is like saying the Grand Canyon is:   1. A large hole in the ground 2. David Gest's pet name for the other Liza 3. Not as good as Le Canyon Grande

Rock 'n' Roll Casualty

that's homeland security trolling for terrorists.

Fucking NY Times "customer service." I foolishly took the offer for four weeks of Times Premier free. Today I tried to cancel Premier only, as I found it had no value beyond what I paid. Cancellation can only be done with a phone call; cannot be done online. The "customer service" person I spoke with seemed unable to make the connection between the first part of my email address (my last name) and the end of the rest of the address (also my last name, following Paul's last name and the word "and"). I assumed it was because she could not hear me, so I raised my voice to spell it. She persisted in getting it wrong even after I spelled out the entire email address, letter by letter, several times. And told me that if I could not be "professional," she would have to end the call. Eventually, she transferred me to a supervisor who I was led to believe got the cancellation of Premier done while leaving my regular online subscription intact. We shall see. I fully expect them to have fucked it up. Idiots.

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Guess what? THEY FUCKED IT UP. As I feared, they cancelled Times Premier but did not reinstate the regular online subscription, as I discovered tonight when I got the "You've used up your 10 free articles; don't you think you should subscribe?" message. It took talking to three people until I got someone who restarted my subscription and gave me a month free--which was not what I was looking for, but sure, I'll take it to assuage the pain and suffering.



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  • 3 weeks later...

The Times gets it wrong. Again.


Shop Owners in a Changing Brooklyn Decide to Call It Quits


The topic is worthwhile - the disappearance of long time businesses in gentrifying areas. They just get specifics wrong.


Their examples are Eagle Provisions, a Polish oriented mini market in the southern part of Park Slope, and Teddys bar and restaurant in Williamsburg.


Here's what they say about Eagle along with an uninformed comment by Jeremiah Moss.


So what to make of John and Richard Zawisny, the owners of a South Park Slope classic — a Polish sausage and craft-beer emporium called Eagle Provisions that advertises, in blocky hand-painted letters, “Epicurean Delights From Around the World” — that they are selling off and closing for good, and glad about it?

“I envisioned that after 35 years, we’d be like smooth sailing, and it’s not smooth sailing,” said John Zawisny, 62, who bought the business with his father and brother in 1979, when the neighborhood was mostly Italian and Polish.


In those days, the Zawisnys were paying local organized crime figures $500 a week to stave off harassment and threats. Now it is a different New York, where young professionals renovate neighborhood rowhouses and developers come to your door offering millions — in this case, seven and a half of them — to buy your building and turn it into apartments.

“You didn’t realize that it was worth so much more than what we bought it for,” Mr. Zawisny said on a recent afternoon at his store, where the shelves were coming down and everything was half off. “Then you start to contemplate, ‘Why am I doing this, when I could be with my family,’ and no one knows how much time we have.

Since the Zawisnys own their building, they could choose to stay, a privilege unavailable to the owners of Café Edison, Penn Books and hundreds of other neighborhood institutions in Brooklyn and Manhattan that rising rents have chivied out of existence. But like some other mom-and-pop proprietors who have shut down or sold in recent years, the Zawisnys are not just tired of the long hours, the skirmishes with the health department and the stress. And they are not just looking to cash in. After decades of anchoring their neighborhoods, these business owners have found that they no longer quite belong.

“It’s part of the hyper-gentrification process,” said Jeremiah Moss, who eulogizes the city’s fallen businesses on the blog Vanishing New York. “It’s harder to see it, because it looks on the surface like they’re just cashing in and they’re making a decision to retire and they’ll have a pile of money and that may be wonderful. But would it be happening if the neighborhood hadn’t changed so dramatically?”


If you know anything about the Slope it's laughable that 5th Ave. and 18th St. is "hyper gentrified." It's semi desolate, wildly under served by restaurants and food stores. The people who are buying Eagle as a tear down are real estate types putting up speculative apartments. (I think they're making a good bet.)

Eagle's owners own the building. They could stay if they wanted to but they're in their 60s and want to do something else.

The other thing, which the Times and certainly Jeremiah don't know, is that Eagle wasn't particularly good. Their selection of Polish sausages was really limited. They had a big selection of beers but the stock didn't rotate. A lot of beers were skunked. The rest of their stock, canned food, boxed pastas, etc. was nondescript. The aisles were a bit dusty. Almost nothing made you want to shop there.

The exception was their non Polish meat section. It gleamed. The meats were really fresh, almost butcher shop quality, and very attractively priced. I used to shop there once a month for years. And then one day I stopped in and noticed that the selection of meats had been cut in half and what remained looked unremarkable. Maybe even a bit worse. It was like they gave up. Outside of the occasional loaf of Polish rye I never bought anything there again. I suspect their business was declining because people realized the place wasn't very good.

Teddy's bar is a different story. We haven't been there in a couple of years but when we went the place was doing really good business. The economics were fine but the owners felt like retiring and their kids didn't feel like taking over the business. In fact they're selling the place to people who promised to keep it largely the same. It's not broke and doesn't need fixing.

The closing/sale of those 2 businesses has nothing to do with "changing neighborhoods." The owners just want to retire.

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It has to do with "changing neighborhoods" inasmuch as they wouldn't have received such astronomical offers for their property if the neighborhoods hadn't changed.


Sure, you're right. But both sets of owners were in their mid 60s and wanted to retire. Now their retirements will be a lot more plush.


The fact that they got quotes from Jeremiah Moss shows the Times conflated this story with the "Cafe Kiev has been around for 70 years but is closing because the landlord quadrupled their rent" stories.

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if you've been in there any time in the past 10 years you'd know that they ceased putting any money into the business a long time ago.


i hope jubilat, a polish meat store a few doors down from eagle, survives somehow. they're my go to place for kielbasa for the grill.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

NYT headline and blurb that most sound like they were written by Tristan Tzara:


Nuns Intensify Fight Over Sale of Convent to Katy Perry

Several of five surviving nuns in the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary said in court papers that they were being bullied and betrayed by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles into supporting a sale to Katy Perry.
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