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  • So far, our columnist writes, the Whole Foods/Amazon fusion has not borne too much worthwhile fruit. Photo: Phillip Pessar, via flckr



EAST SIDE OBSERVER

BY ARLENE KAYATT

Off menu — Waiting at the local bus stop on Second Ave between 87th/88th, you can’t help but notice the bright, orange-colored basement trapdoor in front of Oaxaca Taqueria, a recent arrival to the UES. It’s a self-serve take-out with counter seating and two window front tables for hurry-up and eat. Perfectly in sync with the many Mexican fast-food stops throughout Manhattan. The taqueria also has a Brooklyn location, in Park Slope no less, the heart and home of our mayor — which probably explains why the wall, which can be seen from the street, bears this yuge reddish-orange political poster emblazoned with Bill de Blasio’s name and the tag line, “This Is Your City.” Hmm, wonder what happened to his tale of two cities. Apparently the restaurant owners couldn’t care less about the sentiments of Upper East Siders as they promote the candidacy of Brooklyn’s favorite son. The mayor has made it known that he is indifferent to his UES neighbors and the sentiment was reciprocated when the UES favored de Blasio’s Republican opponent in the last mayoral election. Oaxaca Taqueria’s Brooklyn incarnation is close to the mayor’s Park Slope house. Not sure about his gym. If all politics is local, these guys are doing business in the wrong neighborhood. With de Blasio sure to win reelection, the hope is Oaxaca Taqueria will limit their political proclivities to their Park Slope patrons.

Baiting by Bezos — Amazon has arrived on the UES having signed on with Whole Foods. After just a week — make that a day — at the Third Ave and 87th Street location, high hopes for lower prices were dashed. First day, those $7.99/$8.99 rotisserie chickens were reduced to $4.99, which meant no more trudging over to Key Food on 92nd Street and Second for a $5.99 rotisserie. And those $6.49 packaged sandwiches — tuna salad, chicken salad, turkey — were two for $10. I mean how could you not. Not to worry. Unless you took the bargain on THAT first day, you can forget about it. The next day they were back to $6.49. And no more two sammys for $10. And the promise of cheaper chickens was further dashed when signs appeared on the open-faced heater where the chickens are displayed saying that whole birds were $7.99 (again) — but that a HALF chicken was $4.99. Seems like a little sleight of something in Bezosland. If Mr. Bezos runs his new investment this way, it can’t be too long before President Trump will be inspired to label the new Whole Foods/Amazon as “Fake Foods,” a corollary to Trump’s sentiments about Bezos’s Washington Post. Not a step up from Whole Paycheck.

Spacious.com — Landlords with empty storefronts have found some salvation by renting to pop-ups on a short-term basis. The advantage for pop-up businesses is that they get to test the waters without making a long-term commitment. It can be salvation for a start-up or a small business that’s not ready for prime time. Now restaurateurs have joined the ranks of the innovative by leasing out their venue in off-hours. Those establishments that serve only dinner from Monday to Friday and open at let’s say 5 p.m. can rent out their space mornings and afternoons. That’s where spacious.com steps in. They reach out to the Wi-Fi/Apple generation who spend their days in coffee shops and other locations plugged in to their laptop and invite them to pay a $95 monthly fee for access to restaurants where they can make their calls, network and ingest all the coffee and tea they can, gratis. One location is right here in Yorkville — The Writing Room on Second Ave between 87th/88th. There are several other such establishments in Midtown, Hell’s Kitchen, Tribeca. You’re not limited to one and have access to all without needing a reservation. Truth to tell, whether it was a corner office with a great view or a cramped, comfortable cubicle, I always found myself getting the job done in a restaurant, pen to paper, amid the white noise. Welcome to millennial work world.


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