‘High Maintenance’ and the New TV Fantasy of New York

Isolation perfumes the show, and this is the thing about High Maintenance, with its obsessive verisimilitude, that actually feels the most accurate. It’s a truism that living around so many others can make you feel paradoxically lonely, yet there are entirely novel ways of being alone, together. There are new ones invented every day.

Published: Jan 30, 2020
Length: 15 minutes (3,918 words)

King of Pop

Tyshawn Jones made a name for himself in the skateboarding world by performing spectacular tricks on the chaotic streets of New York. At 20, he’s already opened a restaurant, founded his own hardware company, and was named Thrasher’s “Skater of the Year.”

Published: Aug 29, 2019
Length: 21 minutes (5,293 words)

Tupac Lane Welcomes You: The Street Names Of Las Vegas

How an era of rampant expansion—and sloppy spelling—led to the creation of strange or questionable street names in Las Vegas:

“With all this rapid expansion came strange civic issues. As Rothman notes in his book, police officers were given new maps of the city every week. Some of the streets on the map, he points out, had been misspelled—not on the map, but on the street sign itself. As a particular instance of this, he cites Jane Austin Avenue, in North Las Vegas—like the snout-nosed McMansions that call it home, Jane Austin Avenue is an ugly and misguided gesture at Old World luster. If you take a closer look at this particular subdivision, which has streets named for dead Europeans and luxury automobiles, you’ll notice Jane Austin isn’t the only spelling error around. We also have Alfa Romero [sic] Ave and De [sic] Vinci Ct. The developer’s carelessness is stunning. They’re not alone.”

Source: The Awl
Published: Jan 16, 2013
Length: 11 minutes (2,975 words)

A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage

Arbitrage is a risk-free way of making money by exploiting the difference between the price of a given good on two different markets—it’s the proverbial free lunch you were told doesn’t exist. In this equation, the undervalued good in question is hog meat, and McDonald’s exploits the value differential between pork’s cash price on the commodities market and in the Quick-Service Restaurant market. If you ignore the fact that this is, by definition, not arbitrage because the McRib is a value-added product, and that there is risk all over the place, this can lead to some interesting conclusions. (If you don’t want to do something so reckless, then stop here.)

Source: The Awl
Published: Nov 8, 2011
Length: 12 minutes (3,028 words)