CBS New York/AP:
New York City will be celebrating the Lunar New Year with a five-day festival early next month.
“The Year of the Monkey Celebration” runs from Feb. 6 through Feb. 10.
The festival, presented by the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, is hosting a myriad of events, including the “The Fantastic Art China” exhibition at the Javits Center, where traditional and contemporary Chinese artworks will be showcased.
Environmental conservation efforts for monkeys in China also will be highlighted.
A Hudson River fireworks display set to the music of Oscar and Grammy Award winner Tan Dun is scheduled for Feb. 6.
The Empire State Building is also planning a light display for Feb. 6 and Feb. 8. And the New York Philharmonic’s 5th Annual Chinese New Year Concert will be held at Lincoln Center on Feb. 9.
Last June, Mayor Bill de Blasio made the Lunar New Year an official public school holiday. An estimated 15 percent of New York City school children celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Next Shark (Laura Dang):
A new, glitzy Chinese restaurant has opened its doors in the renowned Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, New York, and the food looks fantastic. The restaurant, La Chine, is in the running to be one of New York’s finest Chinese restaurants, according to Luxury Travel Magazine.
La Chine was a collaborative effort of Waldorf’s culinary director, David Garcelon, and executive chef, Kong Khai Meng.
Garcelon hand-selected a team of international chefs including famed Chinese culinary master Jereme Leung. The culinary director said:
“It was our primary focus to develop La Chine as a must-visit destination for high-end foodies, experientialists, New York City locals and international visitors alike.”
New York City will now face a new rule when it comes to serving raw fish. The New York Times reports, regardless of how fresh the fish is, restaurants must freeze it for an extended period of time in order to prevent bacteria and parasites.
While most places are already doing this as a precaution, the process is now law. Outbreaks of salmonella have caused major concerns in the past few years. The new rule will put those fears to ease among consumers who enjoy eating raw fish.
Starting in August, fish must be kept frozen anywhere from 15 hours to an entire week depending on the restaurants’ freezer temperature. Certain seafoods like shellfish and farm-raised fish, however, are exempt from the freezing laws.
The claws came out when Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty got into a fight in Times Square Thursday, police said. The costumed characters came to blows over tips in the middle of the Crossroads of the World around 3:30 p.m., police said.
Sandra Mocha, 34, of Queens, and Giovanna Melendez, 40, of New Jersey, were cuffed at the scene and charged with assault, cops said.
“This is another reason why we need regulations to address the growing problems in Times Square,” Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said about the brawl.
New York Times:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered emergency measures on Sunday to combat the wage theft and health hazards faced by the thousands of people who work in New York State’s nail salon industry.
Effective immediately, he said in a statement, a new, multiagency task force will conduct salon-by-salon investigations, institute new rules that salons must follow to protect manicurists from the potentially dangerous chemicals found in nail products, and begin a six-language education campaign to inform them of their rights.
Nail salons that do not comply with orders to pay workers back wages, or are unlicensed, will be shut down. The new rules come in response to a New York Times investigation of nail salons — first published online last week — that detailed the widespread exploitation of manicurists, many of whom have illnesses that some scientists and health advocates say are caused by the chemicals with which they work.
“New York State has a long history of confronting wage theft and unfair labor practices head on, and today, with the formation of this new Enforcement Task Force, we are aggressively following in that tradition,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “We will not stand idly by as workers are deprived of their hard-earned wages and robbed of their most basic rights.”
The swiftly assembled plans, while still taking shape, are the start of an effort to reshape an industry that has been a major entry point for immigrants into the city’s economy, but in which exploiting the people who toil over hands and feet appears to be, in many instances, simply the way business is done.
Salons will be required to publicly post signs that inform workers of their rights, including the fact that it is illegal to work without wages or to pay money for a job — a common practice in the nail salon industry, according to workers and owners. The signs will be in half a dozen languages, including those most spoken in the industry — Korean, Chinese and Spanish.
The emergency measures announced on Sunday will become permanent in the coming months, the governor’s office said.
Under new rules, manicurists must wear gloves to reduce the risks of contracting skin conditions, such as fungal infections and warts, and developing burns from handling chemicals.
The plan currently will also require masks, though occupational health experts say the hospital-style masks that manicurists sometimes wear give only the appearance of safety. Such masks do almost nothing to prevent exposure to chemicals, such as dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde, that are used in nail products and have been linked to leukemia and fetal defects. And salons will be required to be ventilated, to reduce the chemical fumes.
The state’s Health Department, one of the agencies in the task force, will conduct a study of the most effective safety practices, and the eventual rules put in place may change in scope depending upon the findings.
Salons will now be required to be bonded — which is intended to ensure, through a contract with a bonding agency, that workers can eventually be paid if salon owners are found to have underpaid the workers. The move is an attempt to counteract the phenomenon of salon owners’ hiding assets when they are found guilty of wage theft.
Many workers are undocumented and fear exposing themselves to the authorities, so they rarely speak up. The agencies involved in the task force do not inquire about workers’ immigration status as part of their investigations, the governor’s office said. An education campaign will also be introduced through community groups to inform workers they have the right be compensated fully, regardless of their immigration status, and encourage them to report mistreatment.
The framework for the emergency measures began to take shape shortly after the first article was published on Thursday, according to Alphonso B. David, counsel for the governor. Staff members from several agencies reacted strongly, and began to call one another upon reading the findings, convening on Friday for hours of brainstorming sessions to hash out the plan. A decision was made to take emergency measures rather than go through the usual route by which policies are updated, which involve time-consuming steps like periods of public comment, Mr. David said.
“The article highlighted a significant problem in New York State,” Mr. David said. “We cannot wait to address the problem.”
More than 6,000 employees of Tiens Group — a Chinese conglomerate — were given the VIP treatment on an all expenses paid trip to France to celebrate the company’s 20th birthday.
The tour group — the largest to visit the country — was given a private tour of the Louvre museum and a private shopping session at luxury department store Galeries Lafayette during their four-day trip, reported French news agency Agence France-Presse.
After two days in Paris, the group headed down to the southern resort town of Nice on Friday, where they also broke a Guinness World Record for forming the largest human sentence.
All staff members lined up on the waterfront, Promenade des Anglais, to spell out the phrase “Tiens’ dream is nice in the Côte d’Azur” that was visible from above.
According to local media, the company booked 4,760 rooms in 79 hotels between Cannes and Monaco, and 146 tour buses.
“We have mobilized public services as well as tourism professionals, hotels, restaurants, shops and designer brands,” Christian Mantel, head of the French tourism development agency told AFP.
It’s estimated that the group will spend $15 million during their visit added Mantel, and France is seen to reap up to $20 million in total economic benefits.
Chinese tourists, who are known to be the world’s biggest holiday spenders, are said to spend an average of $7,200 when they go overseas.
It’s not the first time a Chinese company has arranged for massive tours overseas. Last year, a group of 7,000 made a trip to the U.S. to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Sino-U.S. diplomatic ties.
Tiens Group operates in a diverse range of business interests, including biotechnology, tourism and trade.
The sushi counter at 15 East
Bloomberg (by Tejal Rao):
15 East is a quiet little Japanese restaurant just off Union Square, where I find the mood is always quite civilized and serious. That was the case on a recent evening, until a junior sushi chef started playing with two massive prawns, whirling them together on the cutting board as if they were ballroom dancing. Another sushi chef grinned widely, then politely told him to stop that.
The restaurant opened in 2006 and it’s a consistently good spot for sushi (along with dishes like poached octopus, and delicate soba noodles with duck and scallions). The newest menu item, a “local fish flight” ($55 for 10 pieces), was introduced a couple of weeks ago and features fish from Long Island and its environs. Earlier this week, that meant lightly smoked mackerel, and a piece of fluke wrapped in a shiso leaf, each presented as nigiri on long, slender clusters of warm rice.
Owner Marco Moreira is a big fan of the local squid from Long Island, served raw. “It’s just gorgeous,” he told me over the phone. “It’s unbelievable with a little citrus zest and sea salt, but unfortunately we don’t always have it in house.”
The kitchen purchases fish from all over the world—Japan, Spain, Portugal—but Moreira explained that he wanted to introduce a new option that would celebrate local scallops, and a couple varieties of whitefish, as well. A tuna from North Carolina, which Moreira admits is only relatively local, may occasionally make an appearance.
If the kitchen runs out of the local stuff before you get to your tenth piece of nigiri, you’ll have the option to try other fish at the counter. You may find yourself with a wide slice of crunchy sea clam, a sweet raw shrimp, or a couple of oysters marinated in olive oil and rosemary (works!). With tiny wedges of the pickled ginger Shimizu makes in house in between each bite, it all makes for a lovely, light, clean-living kind of dinner.
This flight isn’t the most luxurious one in town, but it doesn’t bill itself as that, and in many ways that’s part of its appeal. The experience is straightforward and inexpensive, and so is the seafood. This is everyday sushi done well—if you’re looking for something more deluxe, go with the excellent $110 omakase, which roams farther and wider.
15 East Restaurant is at 15 E 15th Street (Flatiron); +1 212 647-0015 or 15eastrestaurant.com
Smoked mackerel nigiri, from 15 East’s new local fish flight
Dover Street Market New York received a huge revamp this weekend for its biannual “New Beginning,” signaling the change into the spring/summer season. The brainchild of COMME des GARCONS, the genre-defying mammoth retail space occupies seven floors and incorporates pop-up shops among art installations. The store was closed for three business days — a sizable investment sacrificing $120,000 in business — in the name of the long-run image for Dover Street.
Offerings include contemporary streetwear, skate-wear, heritage workwear, high-end luxury, and of course, every label in the CDG family. New additions include Idea Books’ first retail space in the U.S., shoe brands Arielle de Pinto and Gianvito Rossi, jewelry from RaphaeleCanot and Sardo, and a huge Prada mural.
If you’re in the area, make sure to check out DSMNY and its new look.