Kosher Cocktails: Man-O-Manischewitz

The New York Times: “At the Upper East Side branch of the Second Avenue Deli, they have matzo ball soup for what ails you. If that doesn’t do the trick, soon you can walk upstairs for something stronger. On Nov. 27, the brothers Jeremy and Josh Lebewohl … plan to open 2nd Floor, a cocktail lounge just above the restaurant, with a separate entrance on East 75th Street. This is fairly uncharted territory for Jewish delicatessens. In 1997, the owners of Ratner’s, the famous kosher dairy restaurant on Delancey Street that is now closed, opened a speakeasy in the back called Lansky Lounge. But delis are usually not associated with sophisticated drinking.”

“The bar will be unusual in that the liquid menu is certified kosher. Also, some ingredients are not ones you’re likely to find at any other cocktail bar in town. Man-O-Manischewitz, a riff on the gin cocktail called the Bramble, uses a syrup made from Manischewitz wine rather than the traditional crème de mûre. The Upper Eastsider, a long drink that can be made with gin or vodka, has Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda as a component. A drink called the Shofar, similar to a Jack Rose, is made up of ingredients whose flavors are associated with Rosh Hashana, including apple brandy, pomegranate (in the form of grenadine) and honey.”

“The space, which seats roughly 100, is designed to look as if it’s been there for years, with wooden floors, club chairs and an old tin ceiling. In the bathroom area, there are framed photos and posters of old Yiddish theater stars, a nod to the deli’s original location in the heart of the now-vanished Yiddish theater district.”

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Saks Save Me & Wardrobe Malfunctions

The Wall Street Journal: “Sure, online shopping is convenient. But physical stores are banking on offering a human touch and personal service that not even their own online stores can replicate. Increasingly, brick-and-mortar stores are providing more personalized services, including those once reserved for VIPs, hoping to further endear themselves to shoppers.”

Brooks Brothers “typically opens locations in metro business districts earlier than 10 a.m. so people can make pit stops on their way to work. Staffs are trained to be prepared for clothing-accident victims, such as asking basic questions or swiftly assessing or measuring sizes, while keeping the person calm. Stores keep steamers close, ready to get wrinkles out of a freshly unfolded purchase. They are stocked with replacement items such as shirts, blazers and ties, especially around mid-morning breaks and lunch.”

“Saks Fifth Avenue’s women’s and men’s stores in Brookfield Place are the only Saks in the U.S. with a hotline, called Saks Save Me, that customers can email with fashion emergencies before the store’s 10 a.m. opening … J. Crew opens its doors before Brookfield Place’s 10 a.m. open three to five times a week to accommodate everything from the customer who spilled coffee on her blouse on the subway to one who ripped his button-down shirt getting into a cab … Ann Taylor stores see women needing an interview suit on the fly … Its city stores will open earlier than usual, sometimes on request.”

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Hermes Windows & The Art of Retail

The New York Times: “Hermès has turned window shopping for handbags and saddles and suitcases into high art. On Nov. 8, the luxury design house opened a free exhibition at the Grand Palais museum to celebrate the pastime of looking at — but not buying — goods in store windows. The exhibition consists of eight fantasy shop window displays created by Leïla Menchari, the Tunisian-born queen of design who reigned over the picture windows at the Hermès flagship on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré from 1978 to 2013.”

“The Hermès pieces in the exhibit are one-of-a-kind works of art and not for sale. (The same was true when Ms. Menchari was creating her windows: Most of the pieces that Hermès artisans were assigned to make for them were never available for purchase.) Each display in the exhibition is constructed like an intimate, open stage, on a larger scale than an actual Hermès window, but without a barrier of glass that would have created distance from the viewer.”

“One display, based on a window in 2011, features a horse sculpture of stainless steel and tawny brown leather pieces by the French sculptor Christian Renonciat; it is flanked by matching silver and brown leather-trimmed suitcases … The exhibition coincides with the release of “Leïla Menchari, Queen of Enchantment” … Illustrated with 137 window displays, it traces Ms. Menchari’s life and work, from her birth approximately 90 years ago into a family of wealthy landowners to her fine arts studies in Tunis and Paris, her arrival as a window display assistant at Hermès in 1961 and the extraordinary career that followed.”

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Tiny Houses: New Media for Big Brands

The New York Times: “The tiny house … is catching the attention of corporate America and entrepreneurs nationwide. Businesses are piggybacking off the trend, wooing customers and solidifying their brands … In December, the developer of Mountainside at Northstar in Lake Tahoe, Calif., unveiled Rendezvous Cabins, a set of three 400-square-foot homes … prospective buyers of homes in the development can spend a night in a tiny house or model home to experience the neighborhood. The plan seems to be working: About 90 percent of the visitors become buyers after experiencing a weekend there.”

“Tiny houses are also used to help companies bolster their presence on social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. This summer, Hormel, the maker of Spam, sponsored a Tiny House of Sizzle Tour with an ornate unit painted in blue and yellow. The home on wheels made stops at festivals, malls and ballparks, where company representatives handed out samples as people took pictures inside and marveled at the Spam souvenirs.”

“Untuckit, a New York apparel retailer that specializes in untucked shirts, hauled a tiny house that resembled one of its stores throughout the East Coast in 2016, stopping at universities and in small towns. The aim was to expose Untuckit to more consumers and determine where to open locations, said the company’s chief executive and co-founder, Chris Riccobono. ‘If we sold shirts, that was a bonus,’ he said.”

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Three Traits of Successful Leaders

Adam Bryant: “After almost a decade of writing the Corner Office column, this will be my final one — and from all the interviews, and the five million words of transcripts from those conversations, I have learned valuable leadership lessons and heard some great stories … Are there some qualities — beyond the obvious, like hard work and perseverance — that explain why these people ultimately got the top jobs? I’ve noticed three recurring themes.”

“First, they share a habit of mind that is best described as “applied curiosity.” They tend to question everything. They want to know how things work, and wonder how they can be made to work better. They’re curious about people and their back stories. And rather than wondering if they are on the right career path, they make the most of whatever path they’re on, wringing lessons from all their experiences.”

“Second, C.E.O.s seem to love a challenge. Discomfort is their comfort zone. The third theme is how they managed their own careers on their way to the top. They focus on doing their current job well, and that earns them promotions. That may sound obvious. But many people can seem more concerned about the job they want than the job they’re doing.”

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Couch Ouch: The High Price of Free Delivery

The New York Times: “Most major furniture retailers will charge at least $130 to deliver a couch. But Wayfair will ship or deliver any purchases costing $49 or more for free, bringing large pieces of furniture into the entrance of your home. (Taking the item to a specific room or assembling it costs extra.) And if the order is damaged or if the customer simply doesn’t like the color, Wayfair says, it will take the item back.”

“To help customers wade through its virtual bazaar, Wayfair has some of its 1,000 software engineers constantly developing new features for its app. One allows consumers to snap a photo of an item, a couch or chair, that Wayfair then matches with products on its website. Another recently released feature produces a 3-D image of the Wayfair product, allowing consumers to see how a piece looks in a room and, perhaps more important, whether it will fit the room’s dimensions.”

“But the big question hovering over Wayfair is whether the company can ever make money by delivering bulk furniture virtually for free. The company is expected to lose nearly $200 million this year and has been a favorite of short sellers, betting that the company’s stock price will fall … Wayfair argues that the margins of its competitors, like Restoration Hardware or Williams-Sonoma, are higher because they are building extra profit into their pricing. A sofa from another company may start at $1,000, but Wayfair sells its sofas at an average price of $600, a spokeswoman said.”

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Terminal C: This Restaurant is Classified

The Wall Street Journal: “You’re a top-dollar flier. Would you fly an airline more if it secreted you into a speakeasy-like restaurant hidden in a back corner of the airport—and handed you the bill? United Airlines is betting you might. United and airport concessionaire OTG Experience have opened an invitation-only restaurant inside Newark Liberty International. To pump up the air of exclusivity, there are no signs for Classified: It’s behind an unmarked blue door in the back of another restaurant in Terminal C.”

“Classified can entice premium passengers to fly out of Newark rather than Kennedy or LaGuardia, says Praveen Sharma, United’s vice president of loyalty, merchandising and digital channels … The airline won’t say how it decides which customers get invitations. It’s not all about frequent-flier status or fare paid. Long layovers may increase your chances. CEOs and celebrities get invites. United officials can walk-in VIPs or even angry customers left stranded by flight problems … Try as it might to be swank, Classified remains an airport restaurant. The knives are plastic, per TSA regulations … Comments are mixed on frequent-flier forums like FlyerTalk. Some road warriors like it. Others find the food overpriced and the seemingly random invitations annoying.”

“United isn’t the only U.S. airline trying to make downtime at the airport more memorable. American now has Flagship First white-tablecloth restaurants open only to people who buy first-class tickets for international or New York-Los Angeles and New York-San Francisco flights.” Kurt Stache, American’s senior vice president for marketing, loyalty and sales, comments: “It’s for that small, small percentage of customers that generates a disproportionate amount of revenue.”

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Studio C: Stone Cold Comedy

The Wall Street Journal: “Studio C, a sketch comedy show out of Brigham Young University … has achieved sizable popularity on the internet, despite—or perhaps because of—its super-scrubbed brand of clean humor, such as a skit about a soccer goalie named Scott Sterling who accidentally, and agonizingly, blocks shots with his face. Working blue is out of the question for this comedy troupe. BYU, run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has ranked as the nation’s most ‘Stone Cold Sober’ place of higher learning for 20 straight years, according to the Princeton Review.”

“Writers at Studio C, which launched in 2012 and began its new season this month, must avoid innuendo, cursing, politics—even the word ‘gosh,’ because it sounds too much like “God.” Flatulence jokes don’t stand a prayer of getting past the BYU television censors. The result: a burgeoning pop-culture phenomenon that has racked up more than 1 billion views on YouTube—about a third of the number of Saturday Night Live.”

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Disney Magic: Smells like … Johnny Depp?

Fast Company: “Disneyland’s Imagineers–the creative force behind Walt Disney Parks and Resorts–rely on a scent-emitting machine known as the Smellitzer (patented by Imagineer Bob McCarthy), which produces specific sweet, savory, or mundane smells to accompany various park attractions. Imagineers understand that smell is hardwired to our brain, specifically the area that handles emotions … So whether you’re shopping for a stuffed Donald Duck or clutching your safety bar on Space Mountain, you’ll get a whiff of whatever the Smellitzer crafted to make your experience complete. Even the wafts of popcorn along Main Street U.S.A. are by design.”

“For the 1983 park opening, the food and beverage team picked Japanese staples they thought would appeal to park-goers: rice, fish, and other items that required chopsticks. But after slow sales, the team realized it was the exact opposite: The Japanese didn’t come to the Happiest Place on Earth for what they could get at a local sushi shop. They sought the ultimate American experience. They wanted hot dogs, French fries, greasy finger foods, and sugary soda. They wanted sticky hands and food comas.”

“The French, they discovered, were not like the Japanese; Europeans had no interest in partaking of the “American experience.” So they stepped out of the park to eat more traditional French dishes (perhaps with a glass of wine), then returned to jump on the rides. Disney went on to restructure the Euro food offerings with street fare like sausages baked into French bread in lieu of hot dogs and brioche filled with Nutella instead of churros.”

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