Where are the employees?

There was a time when people worked for the same company their entire life. It was a safety net. They did their job, had healthcare, got an end-of-year bonus, were treated with respect, and had a community in their office. That world is over.

One of the reasons businesses can’t keep their employees or even hire people is there is no loyalty because there is no safety net. There is no protection. America supports businesses, not people, creating anxiety, stress, and fear.

Healthcare is absurdly expensive, and navigating the system is painful and frustrating. Guns are killing people, but we cannot pass strict gun laws, again backing companies vs. people. Policies favor the banks, not the people. Our public education system has been obliterated through non-teacher unions. American laws do not support their citizens but corporations.

This is causing a more significant divide every single day. It is also causing a toll on the culture of our country. The voice at the table is not the citizen.

People can’t make enough money to support themselves and their families without worrying that some tragedy will befall them that they can’t afford. There is no loyalty to the workplace when the workplace does not commit to the employee.

I have thought a lot about this. This is one of the many reasons at Gotham, we will be giving healthcare to every employee, and they do not have to pay a portion of their paychecks towards that. Everyone will share in the profits, so we operate as a unit. I want people to be excited to come to work every day, knowing we have their backs.

We need to make Americans safe and feel safe. We need to ensure that people can afford a roof over their heads based on their salary, and healthcare is just expected, not a gift. We need to protect our citizens from guns with strict laws. Employees aren’t committed to the workplace because the workplace isn’t committed to them. Something has to change.

Jupiter comes from King

I had dinner this past week at Jupiter, the new spot from the fantastic women at King, located in Rockefeller Center. I admit I got a bit turned around, looking for 2 W. 50th. The address should be “downstairs Rock Center.” I eventually figured it out.

All the new spots that have risen from downtown restaurants, the new kids, have been given space and capital to create the next generation of Rockefeller Center restaurants. The Sea Grill is gone, although it lasted several decades, and is being replaced with the next generation of restaurants.

I hope all these spots find themselves giving new light to midtown. Most of them are only open during the week. Many people work in that area, but the question remains: how many days a week are people coming into the office anywhere?

Dinner at Jupiter is delicious. The fried artichokes were perfect—delicate, soft hearts with crisp edges. The pasta with bottarga has a hint of heat. The simplicity of the entree is what makes King and Jupiter so good. The flavors aren’t complicated, yet they burst in your mouth. The big win was the fish. A grilled dorado stuffed with lemons and rosemary topped with melted anchovies and cooked to perfection. The side order of braised wild greens might be the best I have ever had.

Granted, Rockefeller Center is not a spot I find myself in often, but I am dreaming about returning to Jupiter, only a quick jaunt from the west village.

Our Relationship with Corporate America Must Change

I do not think I have the time or energy to name every corporation in America that needs to decentralize. Regulation is supposed to come from the Government, but many corporations in America are so substantial that competition is minimal. The frustration for the consumer is god-awful.

There is value in multiple businesses in the same space. Each customer can find what works for them; it causes price competition and forces most companies to behave. When you are the only king, it is hard to care about much except perhaps making your shareholders money.

Ski season is upon us, and Fred sent an article to our ski buddies about how Vail owns 70% of the ski mountains in the US. Not shocking that they own ten world-class mountains in the states. They are terrible operators. They do not care about the clientele, the instructors, or the companies that operate at their resorts. Yet their profits are through the roof.

Everything evolves, but nothing changes. When we look back at the beginnings of America, we were decentralized. There were always multiple stores, cheesemongers, shoemakers, dry cleaners, etc.; in the last few decades, behemoth companies have taken over many of them. It leaves no room for creativity.

We are entering a new era; for those in the tech world, it is called Web 3.0. People have lost faith in corporations, including Government. Our Government supports corporations over people, which is the core of all our problems, from housing to healthcare. The next cycle will decentralize; it has to.

Smitten Kitchen

Since she began, I have watched Deb Perelman, the woman behind Smitten Kitchen. Like everyone else in 2006, it started with a blog. I was watching the food industry change. Then in 2009, I invested in Food 52, and they would have an annual best food blog event. I don’t recall who won, but I remember Deb Perelman being there. She was a self-taught cook, and probably a bit overwhelmed and enamored to be at this event. Being in her kitchen seemed to be her comfort zone. She created an impressive business around herself. Watching her evolve over the years has been noted. She just launched a third cookbook, and her website is a source of knowledge and commerce. How she built her audience up to today is a cultural phenomenon. She is a business. One woman way ahead of the curve.

How many others grew as unique independent businesses in different verticals out of Web 2.0? The data around who has succeeded like Deb with social technology is worthy. I am not talking about influencers because that is a category I am still grappling with. I am talking about next-gen Mom and Pop businesses that have used the tools of Web 2.0 to build something significant.

Technology has changed the workplace and careers. Has anyone else noticed the empty offices? Yes, some companies still have offices but remember, many were tied into a long-term lease during Covid. People are not going in five days a week. How we want to live is how we live, and technology allows that.

It was not that long ago that all these changes started. Technology is just picking up speed. The changes from Web 1.0, beginning in 1996 and onward, should be explored. I hope it is. There is plenty to learn from those early days and to see what has stuck.

As we enter Web 3.0, I hope that this decentralized and open web will be more relevant to how we want to live, how we want to engage with the community, and how everyone will play some role in the community. Only time will tell.

Thanksgiving 2022…and a job opportunity

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It is about giving thanks, hanging out with friends and family, eating the updated version of the same meal that has been served for generations, and, of course, the morning/afternoon prep.

This year we were in Los Angeles, the only thing different was the weather. I got up and did the stuffing. Others came, and we all worked to make the meal happen. It is fun to navigate meal-making together.

We will spend more time in NYC this winter, business calls, and it might work better for me. I am so excited about the months ahead as I build Gotham. This idea has been percolating in my head for so long I was forced to truly process all aspects before plunging in.

We have a killer team that will continue to grow. We are looking for a few more hires.

We are looking to hire. Please send them our way.

  • CFO
  • Botanical Specialist and Buyer
  • Director of Social Media
  • Dispensary Assistant Manager
  • Inventory Supervisor

Gotham is a female-focused cannabis concept store committed to curating and sharing one-of-a-kind products, art, and experiences that reflect New York’s rich history and cultural influence. In addition to creating a one-of-a-kind cannabis retail experience that is uniquely New York, we also are unwaveringly committed to social justice. Gotham is pleased to offer the following benefits and perks for employees:

  • Fully covered healthcare
  • Profit sharing for all employees

Humans who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, disabled, parents, queer, trans, non-binary, are/have been system-impacted, are immigrants, and anyone who has experienced systemic oppression are encouraged to apply.

The Waking of the Youth

Today’s high school and college-age students grew up in a highly connected technological world. They might live in Iran or China, where they have not had as much access as kids in the US or France, but they all know just enough about each other’s worlds.

People are living to be older. They keep those jobs that are making decisions for a different generation. There will always be conservatives, racists, and hate, but I believe that technology has shifted our economies in ways that the hold that these people have is waning.

Look at the past election and the destruction of the Republican party. The youth see it for what it is. They grew up with product placements in movies from an early age. Look at what is happening in China. It is scary how that will be put down before it rises or not. Look at what is happening in Iran. Look at Russia.

I read a book years ago called the Making of a Chef by Mark Ruhlman. I had a book on my shelf for the next read after finishing this book; it was called When China Wakes. I decided not to take it on, but the title has stuck with me as we watch China and other areas around the world wake.

There is a shift in the next generation that is beginning to wake. This generation comes in many sizes, shapes, colors, and desires, and they are unhappy with how things are. They have truly woken up everyone to bad behavior, systemic racism, and inequality, and many are not going to sit back.

Perhaps this is the post-Covid reckoning. Whatever it is, it makes me happy to see the youth say enough is enough. I happen to agree.

The Bail Project, Three Years Later, Robin Steinberg, Podcast # 178

Robin Steinberg is an American lawyer and social justice advocate with over 30 years of experience as a public defender. Robin also is the founder and CEO of the Bail Project. Robin is also a friend of the podcast, having been one of the early guests on Positively Gotham Gal three years ago. For this second episode with Robin, we will focus on how the Bail Project has evolved over the past three years after a change in presidency, a pandemic, and a moment of national reckoning for systemic racism.

You can also listen on iTunes and Soundcloud.

You can visit their website here to learn and support the Bail Project.

Our next guest on PGG will be Natasha Halesworth, the founder of The Consistency Project, a new women-led sustainable fashion and lifestyle studio focusing on secondhand and reworked vintage.

Bright Moments

We were in Mexico City to participate in the launch of Bright Moments. I was at the first one in Venice and the second one in New York City, but I missed out on London and Berlin. Tokyo is coming up this spring.

I like many things about Bright Moments, but the most are how they are creating an NFT art community around the globe. The one in Mexico City had educational events during the day, minting parties, and such at night.

Many people have come to each event collecting NFTs from the various artists that join the party as momentum has grown. Some of the work is super cool.

This particular venue is incredible. I couldn’t take enough photos. Extremely inspiring.

Multiple communities are being created in Web 3.0. Each has its mission, but each has an economic value from its currencies. Will the future exchange of various currencies be based on what the market bears and what the currencies are connected to?

As the next generation grows up, their disdain for Government is quite apparent, and I don’t blame them. They are pushing us to evolve as a flat world. What that will look like is up for grabs and Bright Moments is part of it. The Government should only provide a safe haven in the private sector for those currencies in places like Coinbase.

It was game-changing if you go back to the mid-90s when people started finding each other on the web through shared interests. It could be anything from a game to a favorite band. No currencies or communities were forging together to create something that was part of the economy, but we are evolving with technology.

Something is happening, and that still seems unclear, but it does feel very timely.

The Highlights of Mexico City

We woke up the following day feeling relatively full, but we ushered on. The first stop was Mari Gold. A beautiful long narrow restaurant that opens up to a lit atrium with a table for the lucky patron. Another insanely good meal.

We all shared breakfast, but the killer was the chilaquiles. It might be the best chilaquiles we all had ever had. The papaya over yogurt, a bit of granola, and lots of lime juice we reordered three times, and the Kathi roll stuffed with lettuce, eggs, tamarind, and a green sauce is a close second to the chilaquiles.

Next on the agenda was a walk through the neighborhood, seeing galleries and shops. We returned to one of my favorite galleries in Mexico City, Gallerie de Arte Mexicano. It is the oldest gallery in the city. Two women opened the gallery in 1935 during a tumultuous time, and they needed to work. Great story. I love this piece. It is a female artist, and the shoes are made of broken beer glass. She says that beer bottles are like women; if you treat them right, it all goes well, but if you don’t, they break. The writing on the piece says essentially fuck the patriarchy.

One thing I would recommend if you are going to Mexico City is to hire a driver. Uber takes 15-20 minutes to show up and often cancels. It made our life much more accessible and allowed us to see more. Later in the day, we went out to Casa Pedregal. This house is so modern even though it was built in the early 1940s. You can not go to Mexico City without seeing some Luis Barragan. What a genius architect.

The strong move is to go to Tetetlan for lunch, located next door.

The evening activity was going to mint coins at Bright Moments, but later on, we were hankering a taco, so we stopped in at Tacos Onirico. After all, when in Mexico.

The following day we went to my other favorite gallery in Mexico City, Proyectos Monclova. We have bought some work there over the year, and their artist roster is fantastic.

My friend told me to check out AGO projects, great advice. They had a variety of artists, from furniture to ceramics—a very cool spot.

Lunch had to be at Entremar, the sister to Contramar, and just as good. Nobody makes this fish as the chef does.

We did a few other galleries and stores, and Rosetta and Lardo for pastries each morning, and they do have delicious coffee. We also went to San Angel Bazaar, which is only open on Saturday. A worthy journey; we all came back with bags of goodies.

All and all, a great jaunt, and we will continue to do the Mexico City jaunt again and again and again.

Returning to Mexico City

I feel like we are wandering Jews, although it does feel good to travel again. There is nothing better than going somewhere to be inspired.

We came down to Mexico City with a few friends to see the opening of Bright Moments, which has been opening in cities around the globe. More on that later. We ate, drank, shopped, and explored. There is such a great vibe in this town, and always something else to see and certainly eat.

On our first night, we had dinner at Maximo Bistro Local. The restaurant is beautiful. As you walk in, there is an open glassed kitchen before getting to the large open room that feels gritty, old, new, and alive.

We began with a few appetizers. Everything here is delicious and unique. Poached asparagus with a pistachio vinegarette was so incredible that we tossed it in, thinking we needed some veggies, but it was one of the best asparagus dishes I have ever had.

The cactus leaves and stone crab stew on top of a tostada over soft melt in your mouth beans with a dried chili salsa is such an explosion of flavors and textures. The sea bass sashimi with olive oil and a soy-ginger vinaigrettte killed it too.

The uni toast is fit for a king, and we ordered a second one. Sea urchin just perfectly placed over a challah toast.

This lamb birria dripped down our fingers as we licked our lips.

Even the baby roasted corn with a hollondaise and esplette chili powder over the top is creative taking a street corn dish to a sophisticated level.

It was the right stop to kick off the days ahead.