New & Noteworthy

This week, I add the long-awaited reopening of Pastis. I literally have not met anyone that has not missed and had kind words about this restaurant. Resy shows reservation times for breakfast, lunch and dinner though, of course, dinner times seem to be booked through month’s end.

Like many New Yorkers, I have my own Keith McNally and Pastis story. After waiting for hours to get into the new opening of Schiller’s, a man approached our group, apologized for the wait and asked if we would consider going to Balthazar or Pastis.  We said Pastis. The man gave us a name to ask for, and when we asked his, he said “Keith,“ we all followed it with “McNally?!“ When we got to Pastis, our table was ready as well as a glass of champagne for each of us.  The quote from McNally, “I’ve learned that if you give a customer a drink on the house once a year, he loves you” is true. The warm welcome stayed with me as I chose to patronize Pastis for work meetings, casual meals with friends, and family gatherings – all stemming from that one glass of champagne.

I also am adding two diners I neglected last week, Golden Diner from a Momofuku alum that I have been hankering to try in Chinatown and the Diner at the Mercado Little Spain.  

As I noted last week, this weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

New & Newsworthy (week of June 10)

Bar Pisellino Opened mid-May

Crown Shy Opened mid-March

Essex Market Opened mid-May

The Fulton Opened mid-May

Golden Diner Opened mid-March

HaSalon Opened mid-April

José Andrés’s Spanish Diner at Mercado Little Spain Opened mid-May

Kāwi Opened mid-March

Le Jardinier Opened late-May

Maison Yaki Opened late-April

Pastis (Opened early June)

Van Da Opened mid-March

Side Bar: The Best of the Worst

I just read Ryan Sutton’s review of Wild Ink at The Hudson Yards.  The full headline for the Eater piece is “Wild Ink Is an Overwrought Yet Underachieving Fusion Disaster at Hudson Yards:  London-based group Rhubarb’s New York City debut goes wrong at every turn with Frankenstein fusion.”  Ah, this was going to be a good read.

While amazing restaurant experiences are wonderful to read, the horrible ones allow critics to really showcase editorial color and prowess. They are really, really fun to read.  The Sutton piece got me reminiscing so I am now sharing some of my own favorite worst restaurant reviews.  Here are a few of the standouts with a few priceless lines pulled from each review. The one by Jay Rayner of Le Cinq is literary genius.   

Frank Bruni, New York Times review of Ninja (2005, restaurant closed)

  • Ninja New York deposits you in a kooky, dreary subterranean labyrinth that seems better suited to coal mining than to supping.
  • Each party of diners receives its own nook, which quickly takes on the aspect of a jail cell.
  • You are greeted there by servers in black costumes who ceaselessly bow, regularly yelp and ever so occasionally tumble, and you are asked to choose between two routes to your table.The first is described by a ninja escort as simple and direct. The second is “dark, dangerous and narrow,” involving a long tunnel and a drawbridge that descends only when your escort intones a special command, which he later implores you to keep secret. I recommend a third path: right back out the door.

Pete Wells, New York Times review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square (2012, restaurant closed)

  • Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?
  • Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?
  • Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?

Jay Rayner, The Guardian review of Le Cinq in Paris (2017, still has three Michelin stars)

  • The canapé we are instructed to eat first is a transparent ball on a spoon. It looks like a Barbie-sized silicone breast implant, and is a “spherification”, a gel globe using a technique perfected by Ferran Adrià at El Bulli about 20 years ago. This one pops in our mouth to release stale air with a tinge of ginger. My companion winces. “It’s like eating a condom that’s been left lying about in a dusty greengrocer’s,” she says. (ed: bold is is mine.I will never forget this line)
  • My lips purse, like a cat’s arse that’s brushed against nettles.
  • We’re told it has the flavour of French onion soup. It makes us yearn for a bowl of French onion soup. It is mostly black, like nightmares, and sticky, like the floor at a teenager’s party.
  • Pictures of plates are snapped. Mind you I also take pictures, but mine are shot in the manner of a scene of crime officer working methodically.

And finally, the review that got me waxing nostalgic about bad restaurant reviews, Ryan Suttons review of Wild Ink.  

  • I winced as I took a bite. Chefs infuse the meat with inhumane levels of sugar and salt  . . the pies are glazed in a creamy white-cheese sauce. It turns mealy and sticky quickly, causing the puffs to adhere to the plate like a gum on a shoe. . . In place of classic bulgogi, diners are treated to a veritable Frankenstein of a dish, an unholy triad recalling microwaveable Hot Pockets, airline Korean food, and hospital-quality Welsh rarebit.
  • General Tso’s sweetbreads, which are more akin to Heinz 57-flavored chewing gum than the Cantonese-American staple.

And the review starts and end with quotes from staff which is pretty incredible.  

  • My server suggested a few dishes on the Asian fusion menu, and then added, without prompting, that she could “not recommend the bulgogi puffs.” It was a curious statement. I hadn’t asked about the bulgogi puffs, nor was anyone nearby tempting me with their puffiness or bulgogi-ness. The waiter simply felt the need to warn me, preemptively, that a signature preparation was garbage.”
  • . . . let me end by paraphrasing the words of my honest bartender: I can’t recommend that you eat here.

And there you have it.  I never dined nor will dine at any of these restaurants but oh, the reviews were a complete joy to read.

Automation Bias in the Abstraction Age

As I dug into the meaning behind the term automation bias, I became more horrified. The benign definition is as follows: “Automation bias is the propensity for humans to favor suggestions from automated decision-making systems and to ignore contradictory information made without automation, even if it is correct.” (1)

Horror #1 because this implies we are now in an age where we trust the machine more than we trust instinct and fact. We ignore gut feelings and certainties because we think the machine knows better.  And as James Bridle most recently put it, “Automation bias means that technology doesn’t even have to malfunction for it to be a threat to our lives” (2)

Horror #2 because this concept is easily abstracted out of our day-to-day lives and its social impact.   I have written about the age of abstraction and the dangers of putting complex things in a black box. Black boxes are scary because the info they house are viewable to a select audience. (control)

Horror #3 because when you couple automation bias with black box abstraction, the path to the final source of truth is obfuscated. No single person has a full view. it’s unclear if we would understand everything even if we could see all the parts anyway (oh joy) — but being abstracted out of both logic and code erases all possibility. 

We need to be in the era of certainty and clarity not doubt and abstraction. 

New & Noteworthy

In a recent post, I grumbled about my satisfaction with new/hot lists for NYC restaurants.  As I was pondering about my ideal list, I recalled one that I used to refer to a lot was the “new“ list that used to be on the New York Magazine food area. It was simple: restaurant name and one-liner and if memory serves me, it was listed in order of recency.  Like a few spots on back-in-the-day, the feed or whatever was populating that list started to deprecate and over time, it was completely useless until it just disappeared.  But I liked it because was not overly editorially random nor injected with manufactured drama of up- and down-movements week over week.  

The prototype of my new weekly list will not be a subjective ranked list cloaked as “trendy” or “buzzy” but simply a short alphabetized list of new places.  The unsexy working name is “New & Noteworthy” and restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included. I realized that whenever I recommend a new place to a friend, I would always include the website and links to a few reviews, which is what I will do here as well.

New & Newsworthy (week of June 3)

Bar Pisellino Opened mid-May

Crown Shy Opened mid-March

Essex Market Opened mid-May

HaSalon Opened mid-April

Kāwi Opened mid-March

Le Jardinier Opened late-May

Maison Yaki Opened late-April

The Fulton Opened mid-May

Van Da Opened mid-March

Media Monday

Apple iTunes EOL.
Live broadcast today Apple WWDC19 –  10:00 a.m. PDT

The discontinuation of iTunes is good news.  iTunes was always a glorified spreadsheet never a solution. Glad to see it go, and welcome new media compartmentalization + specialization applications.  It sets the table for Apple to move properly into the TV media space.

National Broadcast

The New York Times new television series — The Weekly — debuted on Sunday

CBS News– CBS This Morning is now CTM. They blew up the talent pool and new anchor configurations are in place. The ratings up the first week of Gayle TV. Ratings for the program posted 3.1 million total viewers, up .1 from the normal 3M. I stopped watching and tune in to WPIX morning show – they took the emmy this year.

Youtube’s Algorithm

YouTube continues to fall far from any kind of meaningful curation or relevant discovery– failing hard and to the right.   This week attention to the profiting from racism and homophobia is just another in an endless list of examples. (new one from this morning – not kidding – it’s hard to keep up)

How hard would it be to follow all videos with a proper class of video content. Even if they just defaulted to PSA’s and educational programing they would be miles ahead of the hate discovery monetization algo in place now.

Link Round-up

Open Up vs Break UP – AVC
Jeff Bezos: Big Things Start Small : interview – fsblog
Twitter buys Fabula.AI – Fabula.AI
What Happens When the Copyright Pirate Is State Government? [hr]
From Verbs to War: In Conversation With Steven Pinker – MIT Press
Annie Lennox: ‘Now I Let You Go…’ Mass MOCA
A Photographer & the Complicated Legacy of ‘Heroin Chic – Guardian
The Artificial Intelligence-of-the-public-intellectual – Longreads
Jerry Saltz, New York’s Wonderfully Provocative Art Critic – Medium
Inequality Atlas – MIT

A design for living

Amazon’s Plan to Move in to Your Next Apartment Before You Do [wsj] Last November, Amazon announced its partnership with Zego, now a subsidiary of PayLease, one of the largest rent-payment ser- vices in the U.S. Zego has created a system that allows tenants to control their apartment’s thermo- stat and locks using Alexa technology and an app. —– The system is already in more than 30,000 apartments across the U.S. (Surveillance economy infected apartments-ED)

Have addressed this larger embed strategy previously. Be it the above example, or many others, location tracking, etc before society can reckon with their impact and legality. This trend of in apartment surveillance being acceptable for renters (Hudson Yards cameras for low income housing) You start to see a dangerous deployment trend move unchecked.

“There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy,” Facebook counsel Orin Snyder said during a pretrial hearing to dismiss a lawsuit stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Just remember that when you here Facbook CEO and employees talk about privacy.

iPhone Privacy Is Broken…and Apps Are to Blame [wsj] Sephora? Ten third-party trackers. The company said it uses the data to improve customer experiences through personalization. Meditation apps surprised me with an average of six trackers each.—And yes, The Wall Street Journal’s iPhone app had five trackers, including Facebook, Google, some analytics services and the market- ing firm AppsFlyer. (Good for them for calling out their own publication- ED)

Blockchain Settlement Was Slow, Costly in Trial, Weidmann Says [bloomberg] advocates of distributed ledger technology say it has the potential to be cheaper and faster than current settlement mechanisms, Jens Weidmann said the Bundesbank project did not bear those out.

Six lessons from my deepfake research at Stanford How should we journalists address the growing problem of synthetic

  • Are there any glitches and inconsistencies in the video or audio?
  • Do you trust the source?
  • Can you find corroborating footage?
  • How can journalists examine the geo-location and other meta-data?

Link Round up

Ethics: Art/Museum Salary Transparency 2019 – a crowdsourced google doc of #museum salaries
Tool: – Another list of Google alternatives
Art: PIPILOTTI RIST – Åbn min lysning (Open My Glade)
High Art: Richard Prince and the New Meaning of High Art
Read: New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future (now in paperback a perfect beach read)


Finn Wolfhard , Calpurnia frontman + Stranger Things actor looking a lot like Bob Dylan in this leather bike/varsity jacket combo in this Saint Laurent advert that ran full page in todays WSJ.

Manifest v3, Facebook + NSA, Age-gate, WPLJ Signs off.

Irish Supreme Court Dismisses Facebook’s Complaint on NSA Surveillance [pdf] Facebook’s application was denied in substance (copy of today’s judgment). While the Supreme Court found that it has the jurisdiction to intervene with a lower court’s reference, Facebook was unable to substantiate the application and the Supreme Court decided to not take the actions requested by Facebook.

What If Google’s `Knowledge Panels’ Insist You’re Dead? Or Married? Or French? [wsj] Google’s algorithm wraps up people, places and things into boxes the company calls “knowledge panels.” The panels gather information from Wikipedia and many other sources on the internet.

Brookings Discussion with CIA Privacy & Civil Liberties Officer
Benjamin Huebner
, the CIA’s privacy and civil liberties officer, spoke on the balance of transparency and secrecy at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

Behavioral Ad Targeting Not Paying Off for Publishers, Study Suggests – [wsj]  Publishers’ inability to benefit much from behavioral targeting could have implications for policy as lawmakers in Washington, D.C., debate the shape of national privacy legislation. The ad industry is pushing for new federal rules, partly to head off the risk of a state-by-state patchwork of privacy laws, following the passage of California’s own privacy regulations.

Tech and media companies reject UK ‘age-gate’ proposals [ft] A six-week consultation on the proposed rules will close on Friday, but companies and industry groups have loudly pushed back on the plans, cautioning that they could unintentionally quash start-ups and endanger people’s personal data. Google and Facebook are also expected to submit critical responses to the consultation.

As mentioned yesterday Google to Restrict Modern Ad Blocking Chrome Extensions to Enterprise Users [googledoc] This at the same time Firefox has deployed a build that allows users to block known cryptominers and fingerprinters in the Custom settings of their Content Blocking preferences. (<—click here now, modify yours)

NYC Broadcast notes: WPLJ 95.5 signs off today after a long run. If you lived in the tri-state area you listened to this station at some point in your life.  Also yesterday Diana Williams 40 years an anchor on Eyewitness News signed off on-air last night.

As one friend wrote on Twitter – “grew up with a radio and tape recorder next to my bed ready to hit record at any moment during PLJ’s core album rock phase. My teachers were Jim Kerr, Pat St. John, Jimmy Fink and Carol Miller. RIP WPLJ

Link round up….. coming up

Brainwash Dataset, UCCS

Colorado students unknowingly photographed for facial recognition study The Denver Post reported Monday that the images were posted online and were available to be downloaded from 2016 until April of this year. Professor Terrance Boult, who ran the project, and university officials defended the project to the Post.

Brainwash is a dataset of webcam images taken from the Brainwash Cafe in San Francisco  The Brainwash dataset includes 11,917 images of “everyday life of a busy downtown cafe” and is used for training head detection surveillance algorithms – The Brainwash dataset is unique because it uses images from a publicly available webcam that records people inside a privately owned business without any consent. No ordinary cafe customer would ever suspect that their image would end up in dataset used for surveillance research and development, but that is exactly what happened to customers at Brainwash cafe in San Francisco.

Police in Canada Are Tracking People’s ‘Negative’ Behavior in a ‘Risk’ Database [vice] That said, the results from our initial tournaments are promising. So far, we’ve found that when three radio networks share the spectrum, their predictions are much better than when four or five teams try to share the same amount. But we’re not done yet, and our teams are currently building even better systems. Perhaps, on 23 October 2019 at SC2’s live championship event at Mobile World Congress Americas, in Los Angeles, those systems will demonstrate, more successfully than ever before, that AI-operated radios can work together to create a new era of wireless communications.

DIY Facial Recognition for Porn Is a Dystopian Disaster In a Monday post on Weibo, the user, who says he’s based in Germany, claimed to have “successfully identified more than 100,000 young ladies” in the adult industry “on a global scale.”

Loro (Them)  Krzysztof Wodiczko, 2019  During the live performance, a swarm of customized drones carrying LED screens and amplified sound will implicate the public in a series of intimate debates led by immigrant Milanesi. The eyes and the voice of the airborne machines will belong to a cast of migrants ranging in immigration experience, national origin, and age.

Amazon defeated Rekognition revolt by a large margin [bbc] “My office has had nine meetings with representatives from Amazon. We ask questions of experts across the spectrum, and my concerns only grow day by day,” commented Democrat congressman Jimmy Gomez. “Shareholders did not not end up passing a ban of Rekognition… and you know what? That just means it’s more important Congress acts.” Republican congressman Jim Jordan added: “It is virtually unregulated but I think that frankly that needs to change.”

The Missing WireGuard Documentation:Setup, Usage, Configuration, and a full example for server-to-server VPN with roaming clients & public peers.


Waterfox – Browser
The Future of Augmented Reality []
How to set your Google account to delete itself after you die [cnbc]
The Sound of Data
Speech2Face: Learning the Face Behind a Voice
Arab Image foundation

Post Holiday Long Reads + Links

Can data ever know who we really are? [medium] Identities are fluid. Who I am at any given time depends on a confluence of factors, the context of the situation I’m in. Sometimes I might want to perform one element of my identity more than another. And that choice is, or should be, mine to decide — it changes based on who I’m with, what I want to project, what’s important to me at that time.

The Books of College Libraries Are Turning Into Wallpaper [theatlantic] The sharp decrease in the circulation of books also obviously coincides with the Great Recession and with the steady decline of humanities majors, as students have shifted from literature, philosophy, and history to STEM disciplines—from fields centered on the book to fields that emphasize the article.

It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?
[wapo] “This is your data. Why should it even leave your phone? Why should it be collected by someone when you don’t know what they’re going to do with it?” says Patrick Jackson, a former National Security Agency researcher who is chief technology officer for Disconnect. He hooked my iPhone into special software so we could examine the traffic. “I know the value of data, and I don’t want mine in any hands where it doesn’t need to be,” he told me.


The Need For Speed : 5G

Struggling to make a list of apps or utilities on my phone where 5G becomes a game changer.

Yes streaming could be better — but it’s not unusable, and with the collapse of net neutrality who knows what true though-put will happen if you are on a competitive network .

Does my email need to be faster? do texts or maps or any of the basic utilities? What exactly are the immersive experiences?

How essential is any of this past the need for better coverage and signal. Best I can tell for the first few years 5G will make your phone work like you expected it to.

At this point it’s unclear with 5G, one minute it’s a national threat– the next– a negotiation tactic. It’s not one but two attack vectors and it hasn’t been deployed. NYT: Russia is attacking 5G with health disinformation campaigns – Your 5G Phone Won’t Hurt You. But Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise.