Recent Posts

Fluctuations in Air Travel

Sep 27, 16 Fluctuations in Air Travel

Posted by in All, Technology

Over the last ten years or so, airplane travel has changed significantly.  There are many reasons for this and the result of these changes has been both positive and negative for the passengers and airport industry workers. Given the events of 9/11, airport security has transformed in a way that makes it possibly unrecognizable from what it was pre-2001.  While that is good for air passengers’ peace of mind it leads to a few primary issues:  an increase in airfare price due to added government-run airport security (but with that a jump in employment opportunities); a potential escalation in delay for flights and more aggravated passengers. According to Elio Moti Sonnenfeld, today the air travel experience is much more relaxed than it was back in the 1960s when people would for example, actually dress up for getting on a plane.  “Now if anything, they dress down, wanting to be as comfortable as possible,” Sonnenfeld remarked. But at the same time, it is much easier to get a lower-priced, ‘no frills’ flight than it was 10 years ago.  When plane fares dropped initially it was just for local flights but now it seems airlines are popping up and are able to offer cheaper flights internationally (without the frills) as well. One such example is Spirit Airlines. A lot of travelers find the air experience much more comfortable than they did a few decades ago. Elio Moti Sonnenfeld also pointed out the benefits of the relatively new non-smoking rules, noting out “Some years ago, people were allowed to smoke on a plane, causing discomfort to the non-smokers.” In addition, the amount of passengers choosing air travel has increased substantially over the last few decades.  According to Marcelo Risi of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), while in 1950 there were 25 million traveled abroad, this figure shot up to 1.1billion in 2014. Consolidations and corporation mergers have led to an improvement in air travel according to Elio Moti Sonnenfeld. With the 2013 creation of the...

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Formula E Racing Coming to Brooklyn

Sep 26, 16 Formula E Racing Coming to Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Entertainment

New York City is on the map for many sports events: the third leg of the Triple Crown, The Belmont Stakes; the Knicks and the Yankees play here; even the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has its home in New York. Until now car racing has been absent from the New York sports scene. Come next July New Yorkers will play host to the Formula E auto race, in which the cars can reach up to 180 mph on a straightaway, or average about 150 mph in the reality of twists and turns of a Red Hook race course. Yes, Red Hook in Brooklyn has been chosen as the venue. Fred Dixon, the president of NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization explains why: “It’s a phenomenal setting in terms of view. Governors Island, the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge. Very iconic,” Dixon explained. Don’t think this is just another car race. No. These cars are special. They are 100 percent fueled by electricity. So the race is promoting the development of the green technology of electric cars. Due to the present limitations of an electric car’s battery, each of the 20 drivers in the race will have two cars at his disposal, so that when the first car’s battery fades, a second car can be commissioned into the race. The importance of showcasing the technology was emphasized by the Mayor: “New York City is where technology, sustainability and commerce collide,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be the new home of the...

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From Jimmy John Liautaud to Nathan Handwerker: A Visit to the Country’s Fast Food Chains

Sep 22, 16 From Jimmy John Liautaud to Nathan Handwerker: A Visit to the Country’s Fast Food Chains

Posted by in All, Business

Have you ever noticed how different regions in the United State have their own favorite quick service restaurants? Perhaps it has something to do with loyalty, and where that restaurant originated? For instance, in the Midwest one of the most popular and fast growing franchise chains is Jimmy John’s Sandwich shop. The popular quick service restaurant was founded by Jimmy John Liautaud in the Chicago area in 1983. During the past 33 the restaurant has been growing by leaps and bounds, and just recently signed a deal with private equity firm Roark Capital Group, majority owners of Arby’s, Carl Jrs and other chains that are just getting their feet wet on the East Coast. If you are a New Yorker you are most likely stuck on places like T.G.I. Friday’s. Did you know that the original restaurant of this national chain was located on 1152 First Avenue in Manhattan? Alan Stillman founded Fridays in 1965. Stillman opened up the bar/restaurant with $5,000 of his own money and an additional $5,000 his mother lent him. Franchising of the brand began only two years after the Manhattan location opened, the first store opening in Memphis Tennessee. Yet, through all the changes the restaurant has undergone in the over 60 years since its birth, TGI Friday’s is still a favorite of New Yorkers. As a Brooklynite from Brighton Beach, I must add that my personal favorite is of course Nathan’s Famous. To describe the origins of this iconic hot dog mega chain one must reach back to the very beginnings of the 20th century. In 1916 Polish-Jewish immigrant Nathan Handwerker took his entire life savings of $300 and opened a hot dog stand in Coney Island. The hot dogs, based on his wife Ida’s recipe, sold like “hot dogs” and it wasn’t long before his Surf Avenue store became a destination for fast food on a big scale. The original store is still there, with very little difference in appearance since it first opened. Today Nathan’s has...

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Fearless Development of Brooklyn’s Waterfront Proceeds Apace

Sep 19, 16 Fearless Development of Brooklyn’s Waterfront Proceeds Apace

Posted by in All, Real Estate

The memory of Hurricane Sandy and the devastation it left in its wake seems to be quickly fading for many as developers clamor to bring modern structures into the most vulnerable Brooklyn neighborhoods. Take Sheepshead Bay, for instance. Once a sleepy fishing village, parts of the neighborhood lie within the riskiest of the city’s six designated flood zones, the zone closest to the shore. Yet development has been growing steadily. In 2013, just one year after Sandy, only 13 permits were filed for new buildings in the 11235 zip code section of Sheepshead Bay. In 2014 that number rose to 18, and then in 2015 it rose again to 21. Also up are permits for demolition; 14 in 2013 and 42 in 2015. Today there are at least two noteworthy projects under construction. Already going up is a 28-story condominium tower at 1501 Voorhies Avenue. Muss Development and AvalonBay are partnering on this building which will be the tallest structure in Sheepshead Bay when it is completed in 2017. Its location adjacent to the Sheepshead Bay subway station and the B and Q subway lines makes it easily accessible to Downtown Brooklyn and Midtown Manhattan. Just a few blocks away from the condo a 7-story commercial-residential development is also under construction. The VUE is under the auspices of developer Sergey Rybak. Located on Emmons Avenue, it will have a roof-top pool and deck and 58 units. The property was purchased for $13 million, including buying out a local diner which had operated on that location for over 40 years. The look of the new building, a modern, glass-sheathed design, is also a stark contrast to the brick and mortar style buildings that characterize the area. Push-back has come to these projects and others for basically two reasons. One is the fear that the new, modern designs will change the character of the neighborhood. Modern, high-density condo-towers will not only change the look of the area, but it will also attract a new type of...

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Getting Ready for TEFAF New York

Sep 14, 16 Getting Ready for TEFAF New York

Posted by in Art, Entertainment

TEFAF New York is coming to the Park Avenue Armory soon and the exhibitors are getting ready. The opening night reception will be on October 21 to benefit the Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. TEFAF New York will feature 93 esteemed exhibitors from around the world and will take place from October 21-26. This inaugural edition of TEFAF New York Fall is a joint venture between TEFAF Maastricht and Artvest Partners. The application for participants was open to galleries around the world and TEFAF New York received multiple applications for each available spot. There was a selection committee and a review process to create a balanced and objective analysis of each of the galleries and to decide on participants. The selection committee consisted of four members of the Board of Trustees of TEFAAF Maastricht and four external experts from the United States. The exhibitor’s list for TEFAF New York includes, among many others, A La Vieille Russie, Agnews, Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts, Phoenix Ancient Art and Les Enluminures. Certainly, the exhibit will include some of the highe st quality items from around the world. Phoenix Ancient Art will bring such items as a two-handled cup of cobalt blue glass created by one of the most famous artists from the 1st century AD to have made such works of art, Ennion. They will also display a cameo with four portraits of Philip the Arab from the 3rd Century AD Roman period. These are but a few examples of the vast array of furniture, art, jewelry and other items that will be part of the exhibit coming...

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Brooklyn Brewery and Carlsberg UK Sign Distribution Agreement

Sep 12, 16 Brooklyn Brewery and Carlsberg UK Sign Distribution Agreement

Posted by in All, Business

Carlsberg UK signed a deal with Brooklyn Brewery to acquire the exclusive distribution rights from James Clay, beginning as of December 2016. The Brooklyn Brewery is an independent, New York-based brewer that has been producing a selection of specialty beers including Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Scorcher IPA, Brooklyn Summer Ale, Brooklyn East IPA and Brooklyn Sorachi Ace. All the beers are brewed under the supervision of the well-known Brewmaster Garrett Oliver. “Garrett himself is a genius”, said Chris Cicero of New York based Smarterwiki. The agreement stipulates that Carlsberg UK will distribute the Brooklyn Brewery beer portfolio using its recently-launched brand and sales division, House of Beers. This division brings the talent of experts to their customers who run premium pubs, bars and restaurants in the major cities in the UK. “Brooklyn Brewery is at the forefront of the craft beer revolution, brewing quality beers that drinkers seek out and enjoy,” said Liam Newton, vice president of marketing for Carlsberg UK. “Brooklyn Lager has seen value growth of 54% over the past year in the UK [Nielsen]. The Brooklyn beer range will complement our existing portfolio of premium, craft and specialty beers and ciders and we will ensure it thrives well into the future, like it has in the...

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Brooklyn College Celebrates the Opening of the Haitian Studies Institute

Sep 05, 16 Brooklyn College Celebrates the Opening of the Haitian Studies Institute

Posted by in All, News

Scholars, politicians and lay-leaders were in attendance at the opening of the Haitian Studies Institute, now an integral part of the academic offerings at City University of New York’s Brooklyn College. The institute is billed as “a leading institute in the nation, contributing to the body of knowledge about Haitians and the Haitian Diaspora, and advancing the intellectual field of Haitian Studies through research, analysis of public policy, and scholarly practice impacting people of Haitian origin in New York State and other parts of the Haitian Diaspora.” Brooklyn College President Dr. Michelle J. Anderson introduced Jean Eddy Saint Paul as the founding director of CUNY-HIS during the proceedings, which took place on Wednesday at the Flatbush Avenue campus of Brooklyn College. “I am pleased to welcome scholar Jean Eddy Saint Paul to our community,” intoned Anderson, adding, “Brooklyn is home to the largest number of foreign-born Haitians in New York City, and the largest concentration of Haitian-owned businesses and community-based organizations in New York State. Dr. Saint Paul’s experience and knowledge will help him make the Haitian Studies Institute at Brooklyn College a global intellectual center.” Saint Paul is from Haiti and has written many scholarly articles and chapters, as well as two books, The Militias in Haiti: Sociology of Chimè and Tontons Macoutes, about Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. The realization of the dream of the HIS was in no small part due to the political support of Rodneyse Bichotte, Assemblywoman of the 42nd District of the New York State Assembly. Visibly moved during the ceremony was Peter Helder Bernard, the Consul General of the Republic of Haiti in New York. The choice of Brooklyn College, his alma mater, affected him...

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Credit Suisse Exec Philip Vasan Moving to BlackRock

Aug 25, 16 Credit Suisse Exec Philip Vasan Moving to BlackRock

Posted by in All, Business

After 23 years at Credit Suisse Group AG, Philip Vasan, 57, will take over as head of investments and portfolio solutions for BlackRock’s US wealth advisory unit. The hire is part of BlackRock’s efforts to develop more individual clients in light of new US legislation which is designed to protect individual client interests in retirement planning. Mr. Vasan’s role will be to find tailor-made methods to combine actively managed mutual funds with index-tracking investments like iShares exchange-traded funds (ETFs.) This will ultimately allow BlackRock to offer more types of financial products that trade in stocks, bonds and other assets. “Clients want both active and index. Our strategy going forward is to offer advisers the range of solutions they need—and in the process create deeper and stronger relationships,” wrote Head of BlackRock’s U.S. Wealth Advisory, Salim Ramji, in an internal memo. The new US rules were set up by the Department of Labor to better manage how the financial industry provides retirement savings advice. Known as the “fiduciary rule,” it is likely that it will benefit the large passive-investing business BlackRock offers by encouraging clients to choose less expensive financial products like ETFs. Philip Vasan built and led Credit Suisse’s global prime-brokerage unit before he ran their US private-banking unit. According to the Wall Street Journal Mr. Vasan grew the unit which brought in about $2 billion in revenue. He also previously ran the global equity derivatives and convertibles unit at Credit Suisse and was the global head of foreign exchange there. Mr. Vasan earned a doctorate in economics at Harvard...

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