Archive for the ‘The New York Times’ Category

Perfect Places to Hit the Hay in Germany
October 18, 2008

THE NEW YORK TIMES — October 19, 2008

n the hayloft at Herrenhaus Salderatzen, one of hundreds of so-called hay hotels throughout Germany.

In the hayloft at Herrenhaus Salderatzen, one of hundreds of so-called hay hotels throughout Germany.

WAKING up in a strange hotel can be disorienting. Now imagine staying down the hall from 60 cows, 2 goats and a baby rabbit. Oh, and you’re sleeping on a pile of hay.

Leave it to the Germans to combine livestock with lodging. In the last decade, hundreds of farms throughout Germany have transformed old barns and potato warehouses into heuhotels, or hay hotels, where guests spend the night on a bed of dried grass.

The eco-friendly hotels (no sheets to change) are cheap and appeal to the country’s many cyclists, nature lovers and outdoorsy families. Sleeping accommodations range from open lofts filled with bales of hay, to feed stalls furnished with wooden platforms. And while a few hotels have added more civilized amenities like privacy curtains and bottles of wine to take to bed, most still require that guests bring their own sleeping bag and towels. (more…)

Where Did All the Truckers Go?
March 16, 2008

THE NEW YORK TIMES — March 16, 2008

“They’re going to call Gowanus ‘West Park Slope’ or ‘East Carroll Gardens,’ ” a local potter said.

“They’re going to call Gowanus ‘West Park Slope’ or ‘East Carroll Gardens,’ ” a local potter said.

TEN years ago, when a Bay Ridge businessman named Emmanuel Maropakis bought a former metal fabrication factory on a desolate strip of Third Avenue at Sixth Street in Gowanus, he thought he could make a few dollars renting the place out for storage.

The immediate surroundings were not promising: Local commerce included the South Brooklyn Casket Company, a pasta factory and a fairly active drug trade.

“It was all empty, empty, empty, except for the prostitutes,” Mr. Maropakis recalled one day recently as he stood in his building and wiped his hands on his paint-spattered pants.

But when he heard last year that a luxury condominium and a boutique hotel were planned for this stretch of Third Avenue, he got a better idea.

Just before Christmas, he started transforming the old factory into a sprawling pizza and barbecue restaurant, with nearly 300 seats. Mr. Maropakis’s most recent addition is a brick oven he built, which can cook 1,000 pounds of meat at a time. (more…)

The Matzo Show on Rivington Street
January 6, 2008

THE NEW YORK TIMES — January 6, 2008

Richard Perry/The New York Times

Through the window of Streit’s matzo factory, some watch and others ask for free samples.

ALL day long, people ask Leonides Negron if he is Jewish.

Mr. Negron, a 46-year-old Puerto Rican, works at the venerable Streit’s matzo factory on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side, handling the stacks of steaming flat breads as they emerge from the 900-degree, 72-foot-long oven. While bearded rabbis upstairs bless the dough, Mr. Negron stands near the first-floor window, listening to merengue on the radio and moving matzo from a conveyor belt onto wire cooling racks.

The bakery has operated in the same four red brick tenements since 1925, and because its oven is on the first floor, passers-by often gaze through the barred windows to watch the action inside. Some ask what is being made; others request a taste. A man who strolls by every morning asks for a piece of matzo for his dog.

Mr. Negron is happy to chat.

“I tell them it’s Jewish bread,” he said of the matzo in the familiar red and blue box. “But to Spanish people, we just tell them it’s crackers.” (more…)

Practicing Different Religions (but United on the Issue of Pork)
November 16, 2007

THE NEW YORK TIMES —November 16, 2007

Sam Habib, a Muslim, and Cindy Gluck, who is Jewish, on the job.

Sam Habib, a Muslim, and Cindy Gluck, who is Jewish, on the job.

ON the morning in August 2005 when Sam Habib and Cindy Gluck opened their first Dunkin’ Donuts, they awoke at dawn to make sure that the glazed fritters and French crullers were out on the counter. Then Mr. Habib sneaked off to the neighboring mosque to pray, and Ms. Gluck, panicky about the prospects of their new venture, went to the back of the store to cry.

Mr. Habib, a bearish 47-year-old with a warm smile, is a Muslim immigrant from Egypt, and Ms. Gluck, 34, is a slim, petite Orthodox Jew from Borough Park, Brooklyn. Both had sunk their entire savings into buying the franchise, on a busy stretch of Church Avenue at East 17th Street in Flatbush.

It was a terrifying gamble. The two had known each other only a few months when Mr. Habib, who says he dreamed for decades of running a Dunkin’ Donuts, asked Ms. Gluck, a real estate broker he had met while looking for a location, to join him in business. He knew she was an Orthodox Jew but said he didn’t care.

Technically, Ms. Gluck is a silent partner, owner of just 49 percent of the business, but as Mr. Habib is quick to point out, there is nothing silent about her.

“I let him make all the decisions,” Ms. Gluck said.

“Really?” Mr. Habib replied, with raised eyebrows. (more…)