06 February 2006

Bits and Pieces

I've heard some good news and some bad news over the past few days.

Good new: Russ & Daughters, the venerable of appetizing store on Houston Street near Allen recently bought its building, thus securing its future for the time being. They're into their fourth generation over there.

The bad news is hardly surprising, except in the respect that it comes on this late date: Western Union sent its final telegram on Friday, Feb. 3. Geez, didn't e-mail and cell phones kill this form of communication years ago? Awfully nice for old WU to hang on this long, given that the telegram was such a romantic, dramatic and tactile way to send an important message. The company posted this message on its website a while back. "Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage."

By close of business, Western Union charged a whopping $10 to send a wire. Given that, it's a wonder they still averaged 20,000 of them a year. Nothing compared to the 200 million they tapped out in 1929, but still.

01 February 2006

Some Tea With Your Condo?

The New York Post reported today that RTR Funding Group, the typically anonymously named development outfit that bought the defunct Russian Tea Room back in 2004, has plans for the famously opulent watering hole.

To bring the Tea Room back to life, you ask? Bite your tongue! No: to built a bunch of luxury apartments on top of it, of course. Because that's what Manhattan needs—more faceless condos for the city's richest one percent to dump their precious junk in.

Gerald Lieblich, the oligarch who is president of RTR (guess he's not one of the R's or the T), declined to comment on the project. But do these guys ever say anything to anybody? None of our business, right? Just our city.