24 June 2009

Sign of Our Times

Grub Street uncovered that the late, great SoHo bakery, Vesuvio, is now living a spectral life as part of a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney ad:

The scene you see here (of a fictional employee walking in with a bundle of baguettes that he then puts in the window) is part of a montage accompanied by a voice-over saying, “Where will you find the stability and resources to keep you ahead in this rapidly evolving world?” Ironic.

To say the least.

I can't think of a more bitterly pointed illustration of wronged priorities of the New York we now live in. Independent businesses of long standing—businesses which truly contribute to their neighborhoods, and the cultural fabric of the City—tumble one after another, and no one in power lifts a finger or sounds the alarm. Meanwhile large, rapacious economy-despoiling money machines like Morgan Stanley prop up the corpses of the same indy shops to push forward further confidence schemes, trading on the integrity and purity of stores like Vesuvio—an integrity a Wall Street brokerage couldn't begin to approach.

Cynical. Hypocritical. Ugly.


Ken Mac said...

ugly, and sickening.

Unknown said...

Everything Brooks said. Also, color me confused as to why the bakery employee is carrying bread *into* the bakery. Did he buy those baguettes to the bakery around the corner? Is that why they needed a loan? Or is it just another example of how out-of-touch the money industry is with the actual production of goods?

Mr. Excitement said...

Couldn't agree more. It's absolutely disgusting the way the big banks and real estate developers have been throwing their weight around in this town for the last ... um, what, 300 years or so? Like it or not, this sort of behavior is part of what makes New York, New York, and your pining for halcyon days in which this wasn't the case (and when was that, exactly?) makes you sound like a fool.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

You're the fool, Mr. Excitement, if you actually think there aren't differences between the way things are being done now, and the way they were done before Bloomberg and Giuliani. There's throwing your weight around (developers and real estate people will always do that), and enjoying total, lawless control of the city.

You know what was cool? Back in the 1800s, when developers were putting up all those seven-story, walk-up tenements without proper ventilation or windows. That was great. And those people who complained that the buildings weren't suited for decent life and should be regulated! Boy, weren't they fools! Didn't they know that it's always been done that way in New York? What putzes.

Mr. Excitement said...


Total, lawless control of the city? You must be joking. How about trying to live in Tehran for a spell? Or maybe Haiti? Or somewhere else where people have real crap to complain about? Give me a break.

You're making my point for me by bringing up old tenements. You're the nostalgist here, the one for whom there was some golden era in New York City in which everything was just dandy. So, when was that, exactly? If there was a time before Giuliani when banks and real estate developers didn't have a major grip on how this city was run (and there wasn't), it was only because nobody wanted to live here (and thus, build big projects here) because the city was such a crime-ridden, job-shedding cesspool. Have you forgotten that nearly a million people bailed out on this city between 1970 and 1980? And even in the '60s and '70s, when things by your calculations (I'm assuming) were better, who was buying the bonds that were keeping the city (temporarily) afloat? Big banks. Were they doing this as an act of charity? Please.

OK, you win, Brooks. Bitching about some stupid Morgan Stanley ad makes you Al Smith, Frances Perkins, Norman Thomas, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. all rolled into one. Oh, wait, those people actually did something. You just type about it. Sorry, my error.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Yeah, Mr. E., and you typed about what I typed. Only I'm trying to change things, in my little way, with what I write. (Or trying, anyway. Hoping.) You're fine with the status quo.

Mr. Excitement said...

I never said I'm fine with the status quo. I'm not fine with the status quo. But I also understand that these issues are rarely as simple as you make them out to be. And I think you do a disservice to the issues you write about, and the people in this city who are working to effect positive change on these issues, by making them out to be so very black-and-white. George W. Bush tried splitting the world into good and evil, and we all know how well that worked out.