Airbnb has been the subject of a recent spate of legal fire in New York City. The New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, subpoenaed the guest-hosting company recently for data on its 15,000 NYC users.
Airbnb refused to meet those demands in an attempt to protect its users’ private information.
According to Airbnb’s CEO Brain Chesky via the NY Post, tourists who stay in NYC through Airbnb, as opposed to more conventional accommodations, spend more money.
Airbnb’s whole argument these days is one based on three major points:
1. Airbnb isn’t a collection of hotels and the experiences involved are much more intimate
2. Airbnb helps struggling middle-class people stay afloat in a city of ever-increasing expenses
3. Airbnb guests are good for the economy
I didn’t try to veil my opinion in my recent post about 5Pointz closing. I am one of the many who are disappointed in the decision to tear down the graffiti-covered building in favor of a new luxury condo. But before we all continue to mourn the giant art installation of a warehouse, it appears as though the lawyer for 5Pointz, Jeannine Chanes, may have found a loophole. According to ANIMAL, Judge Frederic Block ordered a halt to the demolition of the building by its owners in the form of a restraining order this week.The Visual Arts Rights Act (VARA) of 1990 contains a clause that prohibits the destruction or alteration of works of art that are inextricably installed on a building, unless authorized to do so, presumably by the artists behind the work or community at large. Chanes’ use of this law implies that 5Pointz may be able to stop the building’s owner from making the demolition decision in this type of case. We’ll keep you in the loop on how this develops.
The buzz about Brooklyn has been building for years and while newbies to the borough keep moving in and exploring, some lesser-known things to see in Brooklyn remain just that. Iconic Brooklyn is wonderful –- Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island and the like. But these lesser-known Brooklyn destinations are certainly worth the trek.
1. Green-Wood Cemetery, in Greenwood Heights, where you’ll see a large colony of wild monk parakeets living in the Gothic entrance gate.
2. Masstransiscope, the tunnel from the Dekalb Station to Manhattan is outfitted with panels that seem to make the wall come alive as you’re passing by if you’re looking.
3. Mosaic House, in Cobble Hill, where you can gaze upon a house completely decorated in mosaic art on its first floor.
4. Sunset Parkin Sunset Park, where you can take in one of the best views around of not only Manhattan, but Downtown Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty.
5. Floyd Bennet Field, near Marine Park, where you can explore New York City’s first airport in its current abandoned and eerie state.
It was more than two years ago that I wrote about the possibility of 5Pointz, an artistic hub of a warehouse owned by the Wolkoff family, being demolished. I called the article 5Pointz Is Coming Down And It’s A Shame and I ranted about the pure audacity and soullessness of anyone who would rather see condos in its place.
All of that vitriol has been revived in me today upon learning that the City Council made a final decision to demolish the Long Island City building. That final decision was influenced in part by councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was previously opposed to demolishing the building, but changed his tune and helped damn the beautiful space to hell with comments about how there’s “not a way to save the building” and “the building is privately owned; the owners can knock that down and build a very large building.” (These quotes are from Animal.)
It’s not that he was necessarily wrong. Maybe the Wolkoff family really was going to tear 5Pointz down no matter what. It’s that the effort to preserve 5Pointz deserved support from our leaders.
%Slideshow-80364%The “deal” struck last night isn’t a deal at all –- unless you consider developers agreeing to allow curated graffiti on their shiny new buildings as an exploitation of 5Pointz under the guise of “keeping the 5Pointz legacy alive” a deal. That’s right, the residential buildings that will take the place of 5Pointz will so generously grant artists the ability to paint on designated panels and other areas in a clean-cut, not-at-all-representative-of-5Pointz way.
Look, despite my unabashed admiration of street art, I don’t consider myself a proponent of vandalism. But this is a Big Money way to add insult to the injury of local artistic culture and no matter the “special painting areas” that will be allocated to approved artists, the fact remains: 5Pointz is going to be destroyed and replaced by a luxury condo and I don’t think a luxury condo, no matter how you paint it, can preserve the 5Pointz legacy.
Banning cell phones in restaurants is becoming more common, as diners who constantly use their phones to chat or document their meals can be a distraction to other customers. A Brooklyn restaurant is taking things to the next level by banning talk altogether, piloting a “silent dining” event in which no one speaks for a 90 minute meal. Last month there were 17 diners at Eat participating without words in the first of what may become a monthly event, and after a chance to inform servers about allergies, there was total silence. The managing chef was inspired by silent meals at a monastery he visited in India. The restaurant serves only organic local food, with all furniture and decor also made by local artisans.
Is this a welcome concept, or just another gimmick in dining?
A San Francisco restaurant is often silent, but it’s not a gimmick, it’s run by a deaf couple with a some hearing-impaired staff. Patrons can communicate in sign language, or like many of us do in foreign countries, by pointing and writing. Owner Melody Stein wants Mozzeria to be known for its pizza, not as a deaf restaurant, and they have many repeat customers both hearing and deaf.Dining in the dark has been a trend for awhile, with restaurants in the U.S. and in Europe promoting an experience of eating without sight. Many of the restaurants employ blind waiters who are trained in serving sighted customers who are plunged into a pitch black restaurant or blindfolded. The idea is to heighten the other senses, but the reality can be more terrifying than tantalizing.
Like your steak with a side of vertigo? For a thousand bucks or so apiece (plus catering costs), you and 21 friends can be hoisted up in the sky on a crane to try Dining in the Sky. Started in Belgium and France, the table can be rented all over the world.
A truly moveable feast was hosted on a New York City subway for 12 diners. Waiters served six courses at stops between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the MTA was not amused, but no one was arrested or fined for the meal.
Would you try any of these unusual meals? Share your experiences in the comments.