Madison Is A Great Small City, Unless You’re Black

Madison won’t tell you how many hundreds of people touched my hair in the twenty-three years I lived there without asking first and called it “neat.”

Our Vanilla-and-Guilt-Flavored Real Estate Fantasies

Fantasies and gratitude for reality aren’t mutually exclusive! Or maybe fantasies distract from gratitude. I don’t know! It’s not greedy! Or is it?

Why SF is So Crazy Expensive & DC/NY Are Better

As we’ve established and you already knew deep in your bones, the same house will be more expensive in Greenwich, CT, than in Fargo, ND. What you may not have known, though, is that the difference in price is not merely reflective of the difference of costs, specifically land and material costs in CT vs ND. There’s an X factor too, or, as the experts call it, a “shadow price,” that makes San Francisco so absurdly unaffordable it might as well be Mars.

The price of a house or apartment, the authors argued, is more than just the value of the land plus the value of the building. There’s a third, shadow price, which represents how difficult it is to get something built given local regulations. In highly restrictive places like San Francisco, regulations impede the supply of new buildings, and so raise the price of housing.

So, like, for example, materials and land cost 2x the national average in SF, and yet a house costs 3.6x the national average. The difference can be attributed to regulations. You know, bureaucracy, red tape, all that nonsense. The Economist flatly states, “the [Bay Area] is one of the most difficult places to build in the country. Prices are therefore soaring and neighbourhoods are changing, touching off some occasionally nasty social conflicts.”

DC apartments, though nutsy, remain more reasonable than SF’s, in part because, after our nation’s capital went through crisis after crisis between 1969 and 2001, it decided to get back on its feet by investing in tons of new housing — for DINKs. If you build it, DC figured, they will come, “they” being single, sexy, spendy types, which represent more short-term gain for an urban area. And lo, the city was right

My Life as a Magnolia Bakery Cupcake Bouncer

I was the first line of defense. Me. I was the gatekeeper and I was the key master.

The Cost of Things: Staying Sane By Riding Horses In NYC

Horses connect me to my personal and collective past and I think without them I would die a sad, slow, urban death.

Quitting in a Blaze of Glory, NYC Waitress Edition

A waitress’s open letter to the oh-so-seductive customer who manhandled her has gone viral. I should excerpt it but the whole thing is so fantastic, I’m reprinting it here in full:

Dear Brian, You came into the restaurant where I work and ordered a Stoli on the rocks. When I asked you and your companion if you’d be eating, or needing anything else from me, you put your hand – ever so gently – ON MY ASS and asked if you could take me “to go”. When I immediately stepped away and said “Sorry, what?” you probably gathered that I was and am not receptive of such advances from customers. We were in a family-friendly restaurant, around 6:30pm, and I was wearing a loose-fitting, long sleeve shirt, jeans, and no makeup…so I’m not sure where the confusion arose as to what kind of service you were being provided. You left soon after, leaving a signed credit card slip and a two dollar tip (see picture included!). Your name is Brian Lederman. I found you, instantly, via a quick Google search online. I looked at your face on Linked In, the World’s Largest Professional Network. You work at Swiss Performance Management and Truehand AG, in Investment Management. Of course you do. 

I work as a bartender, and have for more than five years now. I graduated NYU with honors, and have at some point held down every conceivable part time type job including but not limited to food service, administration, and even temp work at firms such as yours. So far, bartending allows me the most flexibility to pursue my artistic career, while comfortably covering my basic living expenses, including my outrageously high student loan payments. I have a good job that I’m grateful for. The environment is low key, I have incredibly supportive coworkers and managers, and – in general – the clientele is nice. But I still hate being a bartender. 

1 Source Of Income: Good. 12 Sources: Better!

I paid two months of COBRA premiums with my winnings from Cash Cab, since I no longer had a job and was able to do things like be on a game show at two in the afternoon on a Monday.

“The Cost of ‘Daddy I Want a Pony’” as Experienced by Josh

"So when children ask for a pony, what are parents to do?"

Moving 15 Blocks To My Own Place Cost $2550+ I am THRILLED

+ Portable charger to keep my phone alive during viewings, $35. + Bottles of water grabbed between viewings, $3. + Emergency granola bar to keep from fainting one day in the August heat, $1.50.

How To End Up With Oscar, “the Uber of Health Insurance”

STEP 1: Read something about a new approach to health insurance by and mostly for young people / millennials.

STEP 2: Retain a vague, positive impression of the company, which has a striking, unusual name, even if you can’t recall precisely what it is. Forget all relevant details.

STEP 3: Embark on a health insurance odyssey for your family. Your goal is to cover the three of you — two adults, one baby — for $850.

STEP 3.5: Think longingly of martinis. Shopping for health care is tedious and yet terrifying; a martini would probably help, but you’re a pitiful lightweight who barely drinks. Eat dark chocolate instead and try to focus on the task at hand.

STEP 4: Encounter, as an Obamacare option, Oscar. Think: Oscar? Oh yeah, I read about you! You’re the new kid on the block, right?

STEP 5: Read more press.

Under all its plans, Oscar allows its members unlimited free calls with physicians. The doctors are supposed to call back within an hour, but on average, calls are returned within seven minutes of being placed, says Mr. Nazemi. (Of course, many primary care physicians already provide this type of service to their existing patients.) These calls can provide a quick diagnosis and a prescription sent directly to a pharmacy for common ailments like pink eye and urinary tract infections. Oscar pays the physicians $40 a call, which is significantly less than it would reimburse for an office visit.