Iconic NYC Diner “The Cup and Saucer” Closing Down After Nearly 70 Years

Iconic NYC Diner “The Cup and Saucer” Closing Down After Nearly 70 Years

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For nearly 70 years, The Cup & Saucer has been a classic New York City diner and luncheonette, nestled at 89 Canal Street on the border between Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Its vintage Coca-Cola sign has attracted pedestrians craving all-American fare in a neighborhood filled with more diverse options. Unfortunately, starting today, The Cup & Saucer is closing and will no longer be there to serve them. The owners, John Vasilopoulos and Nick Castanos, said they could no longer afford rent, which nearly doubled to $15,000 a month. On the bright side, Vasilopoulos and Castanos will likely search for a new location this summer.

For decades, the diner has drawn hungry New Yorkers from both Chinatown and the Lower East Side with its all-American food at affordable prices. It has been one of New York City’s last old-school diners, serving your classic pancakes, eggs and bacon, and cheeseburger deluxes, complete with iconic swivel chairs.

While Vasilopoulos and Castanos, both Greek immigrants, have owned the diner since 1988, The Cup & Saucer has actually been there, sitting right off the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge, since the early 1940s, when it was a Jewish-owned diner. During its early days, the diner was surrounded by immigrant-owned businesses and has had three groups of owners since then. What sets The Cup & Saucer apart and makes New Yorkers even sadder to see it leave, is that it has maintained some of its original furnishings and decor, including its bar stools and the cup and saucer on the floor.

The closing of The Cup & Saucer is part of the larger trend of closing diners in New York City due to rising rents, and their subsequent replacement with higher-end eateries. That’s a big reason why The Cup and Saucer will be missed—in a neighborhood increasingly filled with trendy eateries, the diner was a humble place where everyone could come together, feel comfortable, and enjoy hearty meals at decent prices.

Next, read 10 of the Last Stand-Alone Diners in NYC and Vintage Photos: NYC Diners in the 1990s

 Chinatown, Lower East Side

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July 17, 2017 at 04:37PM

Introducing The New Yorker Movie Club, on Facebook

Introducing The New Yorker Movie Club, on Facebook

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Seeing “Breathless” for the first time, in college in the
nineteen-seventies, was like having all my molecules rearranged. It was
a conversion experience that confirmed for good my devotion to the art
of movies, and it launched me toward the discovery of the Hollywood
classics that inspired Godard’s film as well as ahead, into the
modernity of the art that “Breathless,” in turn, inspired. At that time,
the art of movies was one that was celebrated mainly in public, in
theatres: movies were, above all, a social experience. But, digging
around in childhood memories, a far more solitary, even furtive, kind of
viewing emerges as the prehistory, the image-inoculation—afternoons
spent alone watching grade-Z science-fiction movies on after-school
television. That strange silent solitude, which seemed so odd at the
time, is now the norm: despite the popularity of theatrical viewings of
a handful of new wide-release films each year, most of the watching that
gets done now, thanks to streaming on a laptop computer, is as private
and intimate as reading a book. This is fine for the art itself, but it
leaves the social side of the experience, the urge to discuss and share
the movies one loves (or to get to the bottom of movies one doesn’t
love), dangling.

That’s where life online comes in—all the more so when readers get in
touch and turn the traditional one-way street of criticism into a
permanent floating café table—and that’s the kind of casually
enthusiastic discussion that I hope we’ll spark here on Facebook.

The New Yorker Movie Club, our new Facebook group, is a place for people
who love films to gather with like-minded people—it’s like an online
book club for films. We will be sharing weekly movie recommendations and
having discussions about films. Some of the conversations will be led by
me, and my New Yorker colleagues, but we also invite you to jump in
and start discussions around the world of movies.

To participate, click here (make sure you’re logged into Facebook) and click on “Join Group,” in the top-right corner. Your request will be
approved by one of the moderators.

There are a few ground rules:

• Let’s stay on topic: films!

• Be nice: name-calling and personal attacks will not be tolerated.

• Absolutely no spam, partisan attacks, or political campaigning.

That’s it! Enjoy.

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July 17, 2017 at 04:01PM

Found: Dozens of Naturally Shrunken Brains in a Mass Grave

Found: Dozens of Naturally Shrunken Brains in a Mass Grave

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One of the preserved brains found in the grave.One of the preserved brains found in the grave. Serrulla et al.

In 1936, between July and November, the forces of General Franco tracked down Spanish revolutionaries in northern Spain, brought them to a site outside of Burgos, executed and buried them. Teams of scientists are now working to excavate mass graves like these, and in this one, they found a rarity—45 preserved brains.

This particular mass grave was dug into “watertight clay soil with high acid content,” reports El País, and that year, the ground would have been cold and wet. The scientists believed the water flood the dead men’s skulls, keeping microbes out, and this combination of factors preserved the brains. Over time, the fatty tissue were saponified—turned into soap—and the brains shrunk, to about one-sixth of their original size. According to El País, they are now the size of about “half an apple.”

The scientists collected these preserved brains and is now keeping them in a refrigerated facility. This is now the “biggest and best preserved collection of saponified brains in the world,” reports El País. There are only about 100 cases of brains being preserved by natural causes, reports Reuters.

The team also found one preserved heart. The scientists are working to identify the men buried in this grave—104 in all—and give their families some measure of closure.

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July 17, 2017 at 03:01PM

Three things hoteliers need to know about machine learning

Three things hoteliers need to know about machine learning

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When it comes to hospitality analytics, it’s hard to ignore the recent airtime devoted to and levels of interest in the topic of machine learning. The industry has been humming with how machine learning, specifically, helps hoteliers streamline much of their current time-constrained, manual processes – freeing up valuable time to focus on their revenue strategy in the process.

NB This is a viewpoint by Alex Dietz, advisory product manager for IDeaS Revenue Solutions.

And help hotels it does. Today’s analytics are using data mining, machine learning and statistics to deliver the most optimal pricing and inventory decisions for hotels.

One thing, however, is certain: just don’t call the rise of machine learning a comeback. While machine learning has been making waves in recent discussions, its methodologies have actually been used in the field of predictive analytics for many years.

Its more recent revival, on the other hand, is in large part reinforced by breakthroughs in the ability to automatically apply complex mathematical calculations to today’s large volumes of big data.

So what exactly do hoteliers need to understand about machine learning in revenue technology? Here are three things today’s hotels need to know about the role machine learning plays in revenue management analytics:

Machine learning can refer to many different types of applications, in many different industries

Machine learning has many different examples in today’s world and it can be applied to many different types of scenarios. Some of the more popular examples of machine learning throughout various industries include personalized Netflix recommendations, Malware detection programs, and proactive product suggestions from the likes of Amazon.

In revenue technology, machine learning is often used in conjunction with statistical methods to produce cutting-edge forecasting and decision optimization. High-performance technology can use machine-learning processes to better understand the relationship between price and demand, and generate rates that adapt and anticipate market fluctuations.

The combination of such powerful and proprietary analytics gives hotels valuable business insights, intuition and understanding of their data – and the opportunities it presents them with.

Machine learning is just one piece of the analytics puzzle

Within the realm of predictive analytics, machine learning is a method that can be applied to different types of scenarios to quickly evaluate, predict and optimize outcomes. Common scenarios for its application involve those lacking human expertise, or a way to describe or organize the experience, such as facial recognition software.

However, there are also scenarios in which a business problem is not an ideal candidate for machine-learning processes. An example of this is when a theoretical model already exists, and there’s a clear understanding of how certain factors impact the solution.

Consider the models used to forecast demand or optimize revenue for hotels. Revenue managers often ask “why is my forecast so high?” or “why was this rate selected?” The ability to quickly assess and answer these types of questions comes from knowing exactly what data these models use, and how they use that data.

In the case of machine learning, these questions would be difficult to answer and could literally change from one hotel to another. For situations where we need to understand why one resolution is better than another, machine learning is not going to be the ideal approach.

Machine learning – and revenue technology in general – still needs human interaction

Machine learning technology organizes and analyzes data in seconds, and more sophisticated revenue systems automatically deploy business decisions based on this type of analysis. But one of the critical components for hoteliers using these advanced solutions is recognizing that even though predictive analytics streamline and automate processes, there is still a need for human interaction. Hoteliers will still need to validate actions and alert the technology to things it cannot anticipate.

SC JAN17 IDS logo 400w

NB1 This is a viewpoint by Alex Dietz, advisory product manager for IDeaS Revenue Solutions. It appears here as part of Tnooz’s sponsored content initiative.

NB2: Image by BigStock

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July 17, 2017 at 01:42PM

Why Do You Want to be on the Board So Bad?

Why Do You Want to be on the Board So Bad?

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July 17, 2017 at 01:15PM

Playlists: World Travel Awards Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2017

Playlists: World Travel Awards Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2017

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World Travel Awards hosted the Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony 2017 at Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, situated on the heavenly South Nilandhe Atoll in the Maldives. Here Breaking Travel News chats with the winners at the event as the collect their prestigious trophies.

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July 17, 2017 at 01:07PM

News: UNESCO identifies two new World Heritage sites in Croatia

News: UNESCO identifies two new World Heritage sites in Croatia

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One of the most famous sights in Sibenik, St. Nicholas Fortress, and Zadar’s fortified city walls and gates have been confirmed as UNESCO protected World Heritage sites, contributing to eight UNESCO sites in Croatia.

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July 17, 2017 at 12:28PM

The Strange Defense of Martin Shkreli

The Strange Defense of Martin Shkreli

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On Wednesday, June 28th, the criminal-defense attorney Benjamin Brafman
stood in front of a Brooklyn jury and presented an unusual argument. In
white-collar trials, which this was, defense lawyers often do their best
to portray their clients—typically wealthy executives from companies or
industries that may not be known for high ethical standards—as generous
folk who go to church and coach children’s soccer leagues,
gentle-hearted people who happen to drive Porsches. In this case,
though, Brafman was representing Martin Shkreli, the notorious
hedge-fund manager and drug-company entrepreneur, and such an argument
wasn’t an option. Instead, Brafman tried to build a case around
Shkreli’s greatest potential liability, one that Shkreli has highlighted
livestreaming himself and in interviews—his behavior. “Is he strange?
Yes,” Brafman said, of his client, during his opening argument. “Will
you find him weird? Yes.” He said that Shkreli had been compared to
“Rain Man” for his eccentricity, and finally added, “As Lady Gaga would
say, he was born this way.”

Shkreli became the target of public scorn when he was the C.E.O. of
Turing Pharmaceuticals, a company he founded. Turing acquired a drug
called Daraprim, which treats a rare but potentially deadly parasitic
infection often suffered by H.I.V./AIDS patients, and then raised the
price from $13.50 to seven hundred and fifty dollars per pill. In the
politically charged environment of 2015, he proved an irresistible
target of outrage. Presidential candidates excoriated him, and members
of Congress chastised him at a public hearing. All the while, Shkreli
refused to play the role of the contrite capitalist. “I think it should
be as high as possible,” he told me, of the price of Daraprim and other
rare-disease drugs, when we met a few months ago. “These are people
doing God’s work. How could you ever want the company making the cure
for your dying kid to not be flush with cash? I meet moms all the time
who say, ‘I want you to be the richest man in the world.’ ”

The controversy surrounding drug-price increases isn’t the reason
Shkreli is on trial. At the time of the Daraprim scandal, Shkreli was
already under federal investigation for entirely different reasons. In
late 2015, he was arrested and charged with misappropriating assets from
Retrophin, a publicly traded drug company that he was running, and using
those assets to conceal investor losses in separate entities, his hedge
funds, MSMB Capital L.P. and MSMB Healthcare L.P. Announcing the
charges, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York,
Robert Capers, said, “Shkreli essentially ran his companies like a Ponzi
scheme.” Brafman’s defense seems to be that Shkreli’s investors
ultimately ended up making money on their investments, and this should
excuse whatever lines he crossed in the process. (In the government’s
view, those lines included misleading his investors and taking assets
from Retrophin that didn’t belong to him.) During the trial, which
continues this week, prosecutors have put one MSMB Capital investor
after another on the stand to testify that Shkreli told them things that
weren’t true: exaggerating the size of his fund and the returns it was
generating, and, eventually, going to extremes to conceal the fact that
it had lost most of its value.

According to the testimony of some of his investors, Shkreli finally
told them that he was shutting MSMB down and offered them shares in
Retrophin, the drug company he was running that had no relationship with
MSMB, rather than cash to redeem their shares. Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald,
one of those investors, testified that “my choice was the cash”; he
never got the cash, though. Instead, Rosenwald said, he and Shkreli
reached a settlement in which Rosenwald received eighty thousand shares
of Retrophin. In a pattern mirrored by other investors, Rosenwald
testified that he came out ahead, financially, in the end, and was able
to sell the Retrophin shares for between four hundred thousand and six
hundred thousand dollars, a huge increase over his initial
hundred-thousand-dollar investment.

This outcome appears to be at the heart of Brafman’s spirited defense
of his client, and during cross-examination, he has asked every investor
whether they made money or not; many of them have acknowledged that they did.
Legally speaking, the argument is absurd; fraud is never justified just
because nobody lost money in the end. But whatever the law, if just one
juror decides to fixate on the fact that no one was hurt financially,
Shkreli could go free. If that unlikely scenario were to occur, it would
be a major embarrassment for the government, which is already under
intense criticism for its inability, or unwillingness, to prosecute
high-level financial crime, let alone the easier-pickings type that the
Shkreli case represents. (For more on this, see Jesse Eisinger’s new
book, “The Chickenshit Club.”)

Shkreli behaved bizarrely during the early days of the trial, at one
point bursting into the overflow courtroom where reporters were watching
the proceedings on closed-circuit TV. He insulted the prosecutors,
calling them “the junior varsity,” and complained that he was being
blamed for all the ills of capitalism. In the evenings, he’s been
live-broadcasting himself on Facebook. It appeared as if he was
intentionally trying to sabotage his trial, and since then, the judge
has forbidden him from talking to the press in the environs of the
courthouse. Now, the thirty-four-year-old Shkreli can be seen sitting
quietly at the defense table, as pale and thin as a boy, as his former
investors testify against him.

When I spoke to him a few months back, Shkreli seemed to be in denial
about the legal peril he faced—if convicted, his potential sentence is
estimated to be up to twenty years. He was anxious about his prospects,
but he also expressed unwavering optimism that he would be acquitted. He
told the story of his parents, immigrants from Albania and Croatia who
lived in a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn and toiled in low-wage
jobs. He talked about how hard they worked just to pay their bills and
give their children the opportunity to become successful, and how, in
light of all he had achieved professionally, he was the pride of his
family. “America’s the land of opportunity,” Shkreli told me. “You know,
part of being American is that brash, money-making thing.” He went on,
“I think people sign up for a Lotto when they come to America. They say,
‘I’m from a shitbird country and I’ll come here, and my dream is that
one of us becomes rich, and one of us gets to stick it to the man. One
of us is gonna kill it in this country.’ ”

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July 17, 2017 at 12:20PM