Monday, April 29, 2013

The South Street Seaport: Six Months Later

PHOTO CREDIT: Irene Plagian/DNAinfo
"A few blocks from the hustle and bustle of Wall Street is a virtual ghost town. When Sandy struck, water flooded the streets in Battery Park City, the Financial District and the South Street Seaport for weeks, wrecking homes and infrastructure." - am New York 
While this is certainly true, several area businesses have fought tooth and nail to reopen to the public and are single-handedly trying to resuscitate the nabe. According to the Downtown Alliance, over 90% of district one businesses are open. These statistics, however, do not necessarily indicate the reality of the South Street Seaport and the surrounding area. For many businesses and residents, life without adequately restored power, data services, etc still reflects a neighborhood that has a long way to go to get back to "normal," according to the recent article in am New York. Establishments that have re-opened now face a landscape that is a far cry from the vibrant destination that existed before Hurricane Sandy hit six months ago. However, in a similar article featuring an interview with the owners of the Cowgirl Seahorse restaurant, the loyal customer base that was still willing to return to the area was lauded. Numbers are undeniably lower due to the drastic drop in residents and tourists, but that did not deter many members of the community from banding together and frequenting their favorite haunts. Some shops were offered a break when the Howard Hughes Corporation agreed to let the tenants of Pier 17 stay open throughout the summer before shuttering the building for redevelopment. The few months of income gives the owners a chance to recoup some of their losses suffered after the storm. In a further effort to bring awareness and business to the establishments that have reopened, the Lower Manhattan Marketing Association launched a promotional campaign on their behalf: 

View the full list here

The fact that there are now fewer establishments and attractions in the neighborhood has a much more far-reaching effect than is readily evident. Like many tourist-dependent businesses, Wall Street Walks has much to benefit from a vital and thriving Downtown community. Please join us in our efforts to support these businesses, both new and old, that have opened in the wake of the storm in their endeavors to rebuild and revitalize the District. In addition, many of these businesses and restaurants are to be highlighted in Wall Street Walks' newest Food History Tour. Help do your part and book your tickets today! 

150 Water Street | (212) 952-1890

Pearl Diner
212 Pearl Street |  212-331-0899

Jeremy's Ale House
228 Front Street | 212-964-3537

Plaza Deli
127 John Street |  212-943-7735

Friday, April 12, 2013

Money & Life

Photo credit: Jamie Gladden
Just picture it – you've finally scored that date on, and he is everything that you’d thought he’d be (and he said he was). After meeting up and exchanging the necessary pleasantries, he suggests a casual dinner. You agree and are super stoked until he ushers you inside…a McDonald’s. Suddenly, the tiny gap between his teeth becomes a chasm, that pseudo-widow’s peak he was rocking is now clearly male pattern baldness, and the promise of a bright, shiny future together is dashed against the rocks of broken dreams. Funny thing is, you might actually like McDonald’s. In fact, you were craving a juicy Big Mac that very afternoon. Why does the fact that he chose a cheap restaurant suddenly negate that you might be perfect for each other?

The correlation of money and its impact on the day-to-day life of the human race is the subject of a new feature length documentary entitled Money & Life by Katie Teague. In it, Teague strives to bring light to the shadow money casts over our lives and poses the powerful question, “Can our relationship with money be transformed to serve our highest capacities and values?”

It is no surprise that money = power. We live in the age of the Wall Street power broker, the Silicon Valley savant, the tenacious startup and they are all vying for a generous portion of the pie. What we are less cognizant of, however, is how our opinion of money influences our perception of even the most basic of life’s situations. To use the previous example, we perceive the place you take someone to dinner says a lot about how you value them as a potential lover, client, or friend. This is just the point that Wall Street Walks President and CEO Annaline Dinklemann made to Teague after she completed the History of Wall Street walking tour. "If you take them to Delmonico's, they'll think you are serious. If you take them to McDonald's, they'll think you are a joke."
While Dinkelmann's testimony did not personally make the movie, Teague went on to interview countless other experts who all essentially shared her professional opinion. Lynn Twist, who penned The Soul of Money, had this to say:

"We make a dying rather than a living. Dying meaning we do things that we hate, doing things that really extinguish the very life force of who we are, to bring home a paycheck. Because money has gotten more important now, gotten more important than human life." 

The interviews stemmed from a series of questions Teague posed to herself in the wake of the most recent recession. She mulled over the deeper reasons behind the economic downturn and was ultimately shocked by the irrefutable role that money plays in our lives. She wondered how far we had truly fallen as a race and if it would be possible to reconnect to each other and the world we live in. With her arsenal of experts, she attempts to blast apart our perceptions around the current global economy and rebuild it into a healthier more conscientious system. The good news? There is hope.

The Academi of Life is hosting a special screening of Money & Life.
Date:    April 19, 2013
Place:   New York Society for Ethical Culture
           2 West 64th Street, New York, NY 10023
Time:   7 p.m
Price:   $19.00 (Popcorn included) 
Join us for this story about money that will change your life. A dialogue will follow the screening. 'Opportunity lies on the other side of crisis'– Chinese Philosopher

View the trailer here

Additional sources: