Yesterday’s cocktail item… Challenged to prepare a few cocktails to complement a Thai Menu built around menu items from the Portland/Brooklyn restaurant PokPok, I used WhiskeySodaBar’s bar manager Alex Mirkin’s suggestion, and choose ingredients that would cut through the spicyness and heat of the food. Mirkin relies heavily on PokPok’s drinking vinegars as the acid component in many of their drinks, and I did the same, by creating a vinegar base from Champagne Citrus Vinegar mixed with tamarind paste. Cocktail #2, pictured here, was a highball, made with cucumber and red pepper infused vodka, salted cucumber simple syrup, tamarind drinking vinegar, and topped with soda. Garnish was a cucumber slice dipped in chili sugar salt, and a red pepper slice. The cucumber did a great job cutting through the spicy heat of the food.
The lost grandeur.
The Central Concourse of the Buffalo Central Terminal measures 225 feet (69 m) long, 66 feet (21 m) wide, and 58.5 feet (17.8 m) high. After railroad operations to the terminal ceased in October 1979, the terminal was abandoned and fell into a heavy state of disrepair.
This magnificent structure can now be experienced thanks to the concerted efforts of the Buffalo Central Terminal Restoration Committee.
All that glitters..
The Peace Bridge connects the city of Buffalo NY with Fort Erie Canada across the Niagara River. Every day features a different lighting combination, making for beautiful reflection photos of the iconic bridge
WRITTEN BY Shmedley M Kurklemuckle
There may be no prettier place to discuss a battle than McGolrick Park.
Located in the neighborhood of Williamsburg, in busy Brooklyn, the urban oasis is filled with oak trees and playgrounds. Here, on the lush grass, you can sit on a park bench, and watch the youngsters in skinny jeans and hats stroll by. Or, on a recent summer morning, you could plop beside FishHeads Publishing president SanDeE Starlight and discuss publishing coming bottleneck.
“We’re heading into an really really hard time of publishing,” she says. “It’s, like, a total a bloodbath coming. You know?”
This may seem alarmist. After all, the American Publishing Association of America just announced that 3,000-plus e-publishers now operate in America. Last year’s e-book sales climbed 17.2 percent, overseas sales have escalated, and publishers such as Lagoon, Silly Nemotode, and Oskar Books recently constructed second offices to spread their digital niceties farther, wider, and soon. Heck, Stonewall Library is building an office in London. London!
I’m onboard with America abandoning middle-of-the-road books and exploring fancy new directions. The highway, however, is getting mighty crowded. Hundreds of different e-books debut weekly, creating a scrum of recipe books, how-to’s, and vampire fantasies scuffling for memory space on your iPad. For consumers, the situation is doubly confusing. How can you pick a book on Amazon’s top 100-book list? Moreover, book shops are chockablock with digital kiiosks, magazine this and coffee-table that, each one boasting a different fancy cover illustrating the idyllic life you wish you could have, but can’t, because you choose to party for that summer in 1992 instead of interning for that stupid company. When buying books, I can’t count how many times I’ve assisted overwhelmed shoppers, playing the benevolent Sherpa in the wilds of modern publishing.
In the ’90s, it was effortless to select a book: You looked at the New York Times BestSeller List. Today, popularity is no longer the sole differentiator. To stand apart, publishers must enlist new tricks to make consumers look at their books. “We’ve looked at our covers for 20-plus years, and we felt that we needed to see something new,” says New York Pritty’s PR director Jullee Flanigan. After much debate, New York Pritty swapped its iconic artistic watercolor imagery for a colorful contemporary look featuring snapshots of pretty models with pouty faces. “New covers provide people with a reason to give a book a second look and perhaps try something they’ve walked past for years,” Flanagan says.
A second chance for a first impression is an appealing proposition. In California, Firesale Wallpaper, Ballard Peak, and Green Flush have freshened their face. Same goes double for Utah’s Junta, Pennsylvania’s Whatever, Indiana’s Upskirt, and Scotland’s BookDude. In North Carolina, Lonereader and Natty Gritty’s have followed suit, while Minnesota’s SomeIt recently altered its covers for the third time in 28 years.
Beyond painting a new face and calling quitting time, founder Mickie Miclelewski went one step beyond and launched the one-off UnionJack Series. The mission is combing the globe for unusual stories about white people and highlighting them in books such as Rebellion Stories, which uses a British dwarf character who dabbles in piracy . “We have a strong history of being a pioneer and a pacesetter, as well as establishing benchmarks within the industry,” Miclelewski says. “It’s a platform to present book readers new experiences.”
The notion also appeals to New York Pritty. “The biggest way to stay relevant is by pushing yourself to innovate,” says Flanagan, who notes that the Manhattanites release three new books quarterly. “It engages people and gives them something fresh to check out.” That’s why Alpine Publishing prints its experimental Pilot Series, and Pennsylvania’s Tröeger runs the JustPrinted Book series, which to date has included 155 different books. Oregon’s Full Salad features the Booker’s Share, and Stonewall Library just started up the Stonewall Project to create conceptual books, such as the “My Alien Granmother Will Eat Your Head.”
Endless choice is not always the be-all and end-all. “The promiscuous reader’s are never satisfied,” says SumeIt’s Stutgaard. Besides, printing more books, and more titles, is a bet that more readers will be converted to e-books. Yes, last year, e-books accounted for just 7.8 percent of the market, but consumers are fickle. When I was in high school, Houghton Mifflin and Simon&Schuster were the rage. Remember them? Probably not.
Hence, publishing more books is not always the best solution. “We, like, grew 15 to 16 percent last year, you know?” Starlight told me in McGolrick Park, “but we’re, like, no longer America’s biggest-growing book company, you know?” Instead of accelerating sales velocity, Starlight says, “we’re, like, putting more focus on the world around books, you know?.”
Starlight has applied the publisher’s nonconformist, do-gooder philosophy to far-reaching endeavors like the FishHead Inn, FishHead-brand cosmetics, and a music label, which this fall will release a WrongDirection record. This is not to infer that Fishead Head is turning its attention away from letters and words and stuff. “The book-y side will always be ,like, the heart of our business, you know?,” she says, “but our giant glowing halo will protect us.”
It’s why GypsyBooks runs the ListenYouIdiot Series, interpreting bands’ lyrics in wordy form, while GooseYourBrother just made a BrunoMars–approved informational flyer for Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival. For its recent brand expansion, Pennsylvania’s Vampyre recently unveiled a lineup of cheese spreads, as well as ice creams concocted with book titles in mind. “Strategically, we’re taking a big guess that perhaps this might, just maybe, broaden our brand impact,” says cofounder Jack WIllington. “It puts our titles and brands in places they don’t make any sense.”
I get it. As a freelance writer for 13 years, I operate under the “20-legged table” philosophy. If a single leg supports a table—your business—it’s easy to get knocked down. With 20 legs, it’s simple to stay upright if you lose a leg. And you will lose a leg. That’s the nature of the publishing business. And Piracy. And Retail during the holidays. Trends come, trends go. Thirty years ago, publishers rebelled against mainstream printing. Today that overlooked style could be a e-publishing biggest advantage.
“Maybe, the best way to stand out from the crowd right now,” says Willington, ”is to print really damn good books.”
We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter:
‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave.
I ask my friend: “What are those ‘suspended’ coffees?”
My friend: “Wait for it and you will see.”
Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers - three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks
‘Do you have a suspended coffee ?’
It’s simple - people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can not afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support ? If you own a business why don’t you offer it to your clients… I am sure many of them will like it.