Silent Dining: The Latest Restaurant Gimmick?

Silent dining restaurant gimmick
Flickr, Monika Bargmann

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.

Hotel Security Guard Starts Hotel Fires in Order to Sleep on the Job

Security Guard Admits He Set Fires At Work So He Could Slack Off

Why did a hotel security officer set hotel fires? It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, except, unfortunately for everyone involved, this was no joke.

When you hear about a former employee of two hotels starting his own hotel fires, you might assume he or she did so because of job dissatisfaction or revenge. But in the case of Mariano Barbosa, Jr., the suspect simply wanted to make his job a little bit easier. Barbosa was the security officer for both Yotel and the Soho Grand Hotel in Manhattan. He recently was arrested and charged with setting multiple hotel fires in both of these hotels dating back as far as 2009. When fire marshals began to grow suspicious of Barbosa’s inconsistent stories, they questioned Barbosa further.

At Least 11 Dead in Chinese Hotel Fire

Where To Watch Football In New York: A Bar For (Almost) Every NFL Team

Jess Moss, AOL

If you’re visiting New York this fall (and you should, it’s the best time to go), and you like football, there’s an important thing to keep in mind. Jets and Giants fans may seem to run the show, but many — if not most — people in this city hail from somewhere else. And they’ve brought their football allegiances with them.

New York has a bar for almost every pro football team’s fans (and countless college teams as well, but that’s another can of worms). Some teams have a few bars to choose from. Others, like the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, share one space (usually peacefully, though that 2009 NFC championship game sure made things exciting…). Most of these spots are a microcosm of the place they’re cheering for, dishing out potlucks, swag and a chance to meet other people from your hometown. At the very least, you’ll have someone else cheering for the same touchdowns and interceptions that you are.

So don’t cut your NYC trip short — stick around on Sunday and cheer for your team at one of these bars:

Team Bar
AFC North
Baltimore Ravens SideBar, Wharf Bar & Grill
Cincinnati Bengals Phebe’s Tavern & Grill
Cleveland Browns Manny’s on Second
Pittsburgh Steelers Reservoir Bar, Public House, Hibernia Bar, Irish Exit
AFC South
Houston
Texans
Idle Hands Bar
Indianapolis
Colts
Keats Bar
Jacksonville
Jaguars
Legends
Tennessee
Titans
SideBar
AFC East
Buffalo
Bills
McFadden’s, Kelly’s
Miami
Dolphins
Traffic Midtown East
New England
Patriots
Professor Thom’s
New York
Jets
You’re in New York. If you can’t find a bar playing the Jets you’re not looking hard enough.
AFC West
Denver
Broncos
Mustang Harry’s, Butterfield 8
Kansas City
Chiefs
Village Pourhouse
Oakland
Raiders
The Watering Hole
San Diego
Chargers
Deweys Flatiron
NFC North
Chicago
Bears
Overlook Bar, Triona’s, The Gael Pub
Detroit
Lions
Mercury Bar East
Green Bay
Packers
Kettle of Fish
Minnesota
Vikings
Bar None
NFC South
Atlanta
Falcons
The Watering Hole
Carolina
Panthers
Brother Jimmy’s Upper East Side (draws a small crowd)
New Orleans
Saints
Bar None
Tampa Bay
Buccaneers
Stillwater Bar & Grill
NFC East
Dallas
Cowboys
Stone Creek
New York
Giants
Again, close your eyes and point your finger and you’ll find a bar playing the Giants.
Philadelphia
Eagles
Shorty’s, Wogies, Merrion
Washington
Redskins
Redemption, The Australian
NFC West
Arizona
Cardinals
No dedicated bar
San Francisco
49ers
Finnerty’s
Seattle
Seahawks
Carlow East
St. Louis
Rams
Dewey’s Flatiron (There isn’t a huge following but this place draws occasional fans)

Did we miss one? Add your favorite football bars in the comments below.

MORE FOOTBALL: Check out how the NFL’s opening match-up teams stack up as travel destinations. Would you rather spend the weekend in Baltimore or Denver?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: This week Michigan hosts rival Notre Dame. If you’re going to the game, don’t miss these other must-dos in Ann Arbor.

NYC Taxi Driver Shoots Stunning Photos From Behind The Wheel

David Bradford isn’t your average New York City taxi driver. His days “at the office” are directed by the skill that sets him apart from other taxi drivers: he’s a photographer. Bradford’s canvas is New York City as he sees it throughout his day, from a behind-the-steering-wheel vantage point. He has published several books, most notably “Drive-By Shootings: Photographs by a New York City Taxi Driver,” and he was recently the subject of a New York Moment video, featured above.

Bradford started out as a visual artist with an emphasis on drawing from photographs and a degree from Rhode Island School of Design in illustration. When he moved to NYC after graduating college, he began photographing NYC, originally as fodder for his drawings. But Bradford soon discovered that his photographs stood as pieces on their own and began pursuing the art form.

%Slideshow-79433%When Bradford began working as an art director for Saks Fifth Avenue fashion shoots, he experienced swift success with images appearing in the New York Times and other national magazines. After devoting a decade to this type of work, Bradford decided to go freelance, hoping to devote more of his time toward his personal art. When he responded to an ad for taxi drivers, he had intended to use the job as a means to an end and spend his free time working on his own pursuits. However, according to Bradford, he realized on the first day of the job, as he sat inspired behind the steering wheel and saw NYC in motion, that he would have to combine his photography with his work.

His photographs from the taxi, much like his initial art, were turned into drawings in the beginning. But Bradford discovered the medium of the camera all over again.

“I was on the lookout for truth and beauty with interesting light. With the right light, anything can be beautiful,” he said to me in an email. “This city is like a moody person. So I shoot her right back and capture that vibration.”

[Photo Credit: David Bradford]

Taxi Driver Dances To

Brooklyn Bridge: Musical Instrument?

Human Harp

If you have ever crossed the Brooklyn Bridge you know that it’s a stunning piece of architecture. But if artist Di Mainstone has her way, it will be more than just that. It will be a musical instrument.

Mainstone’s Human Harp project, documented beautifully by the Creators Project, aims to transform bridges around the world into instruments, allowing people to interact with architecture in a new way and “play” them, which means that come next year, hopefully you’ll be able to pretend the Brooklyn Bridge is a harp.

In fact, when the Brooklyn Bridge re-opens in 2014, you will be able to strap on a harness – developed by Mainstone – that connects retractable strings to the bridge itself, making music as you move.

If all goes well, the Human Harp may soon be coming to a bridge near you.