Hey, you there. You look pretty smart—you’re reading The Observer, after all. What would you say if I told you there are ordinary New Yorkers out there making more money in a year than you’ll make in a decade? I’m not talking about bankers and movie stars. Heck, I used to be a waiter for 20 years—now look at me. You must have noticed how shiny my shoes are. Want to work for yourself? Go on vacation every month? Retire at the age of 29, then retire your mother? You didn’t wake up this morning planning to start a new life, but opportunity just knocked—you don’t want it to move to the next door. Did I mention you get a free BMW? Read More
By Adrianne Jeffries 6/06/12 11:53am
All along, the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York has been comprised mostly of white kids. Not to say the movement is or was all white kids, but despite the existence of a committee for people of color, there are and were a lot of white kids occupying Wall Street. But Occupy Wall Street won’t tolerate divisions based on race, class or gender at Occupy Wall Street. There will be a meeting.
“Race, Class, Gender, Privilege and Power at Occupy Wall Street (A Real Discussion and Plan to root it out and EVOLVE from it!)!)” is one of the events listed in today’s edition of the email newsletter sent out sporadically by the Occupy Wall Street group New York City General Assembly. ”Almost no one will deny that racism in our society exists, but what’s not so clear is the depth of its presence within the Occupy Wall Street Movement,” reads the description. Read More
By Adrianne Jeffries 4/25/12 11:29am
On Saturday, the 28-year-old fashion designer Divya Anantharaman struck a coy pose in the doorway of her kitchen. “I’m going to take the bird out of the fridge so it gets to room temperature,” she breathed, as if the “bird” were perhaps a roasted turkey, and not a pair of dead finches in a Zip-loc bag.
When she’s not traveling for her day job as a shoe designer for women and tweens, Ms. Anantharaman spends her weekends doing taxidermy. She answered the door in high-waisted black shorts, oversize glasses studded with rhinestones, sparkly green stick-on fingernails and bare feet—a bit of Brooklyn, where she lives, meets Miami, where she grew up. Ms. Anantharaman, who is dark-skinned, curvy and full-lipped, is gorgeous enough to pull this garish combination off—even as she clears a model of a human skeleton from the dining room table. “Last night I had some friends over and we were going to do taxidermy stuff, but we ended up just playing with my anatomy model,” she apologized.
Ms. Anantharaman has stuffed about 50 animals, and collected many more off eBay and from friends, who know that animal remains make an ideal house gift. The young fashionista tried to stuff her first mouse about four years ago on a whim, an experiment that evolved into an obsession with the rite of animal preservation. She’s using her winnings from Lifetime’s 24 Hour Catwalk, a grand prize of $10,000, to create a new line of taxidermy-themed footwear: high-heeled bunny slippers with real bunny heads, pumps covered in white mouse skin, that kind of thing. She has yet to name the collection. “Probably either ‘Ampoule’ or ‘Friends Forever,’” she said. Read More
By Adrianne Jeffries 4/10 5:39pm
Iowa native Ashton Kutcher returned to the homeland today to officially announce an investment in Dwolla, one of the hottest investments of the moment, and appear with Dwolla founder Ben Milne for a special episode of Silicon Prairie News's PrairieCast. The A-list actor has invested in A-list startups from Skype to Twitter Read More
By Adrianne Jeffries 3/28/12 9:00am
Angela is a 34-year-old single woman from Alabama. She’s a Leo. According to her online dating profile, she is 5’8” with blue eyes and dark brown hair. “I am a creative, witty, intelligent girl looking for someone to shower with all my love and affection!” she declares, appending a smiley face.
Angela was included in a 1,000-pack of allegedly single, supposedly American women, which Betabeat purchased for $35. Her profile is one of a purported 14.9 million for sale on SaleDatingProfiles.com, where the inventory also includes 10,000 U.K. profiles for $200; 15,000 Russians for $240, and 70,000 Australians for $95. A pack of 2,500 lesbian profiles goes for $120, or 4.8 cents apiece; gay men are .003 cents each and are sold in a pack of 410,000. “High quality Gays adult dating profiles for sale with multiplay photos located in USA, United Kingdom, Canada and other countries,” the offer states. At the time of writing, SaleDatingProfiles was having a 75-percent-off spring sale.
Angela, who asked that her last name be withheld, has been dating online for years. But she never imagined her profile was for sale on the open market, or that it now appears on MeetGirlsGuys.com, which she never signed up for. “I have never even heard of that site!” she said, adding that she lives in Texas, not Alabama, and the photo is at least seven years old.
Online dating is a fast-growing industry, with current revenues estimated to run between $1.5 and $3 billion a year. But every new dating site faces the same problem: finding souls to mate. Recruiting new customers is expensive; industry experts put the customer acquisition price at $1 to $5 per person.
SaleDatingProfiles and its competitors BuyProfiles.com and DatingProfilesSale.com offer a shortcut. They sell bulk packages of profiles that seem to include a fair number of actual singles alongside somewhat more questionable Russian beauties, Nigerian bankers and half-empty profiles, which sometimes sell for less than a dime a dozen. Read More
By Adrianne Jeffries 1/26/12 12:40pm
What's cooler than real-time? New York-based Visual Revenue is building technology that purports to predict web traffic in advance. We first wrote about the startup just over a year ago when it officially launched. At the time, founder and CEO Dennis Mortensen wrote a blog post about how the company was aiming to replace the "front page editor" position that has become a staple of new media newsrooms. At the time, the New York Daily News and eight other publishers were testing Visual Revenue's claims that it can predict how well a story will do on the front page 15 minutes in advance. Read More
By Adrianne Jeffries 1/03/12 8:07pm
Back in February, Josiah Boatswain, a 26-year-old from Flatbush, Brooklyn, and a few friends were pampering themselves at Fontainbleau: a $600-per-night resort that bills itself as the most luxurious hotel on the strip, promising high-end shopping, celebrities at every table, “24-7 glamour,” and an “expansive poolscape” on the stretch of Miami Beach known as Millionaire’s Row. Mr. Boatswain spent his vacation sipping Champagne, nibbling tiny chocolate cakes, and buying armfuls of couture, which he arranged in tableaux in his hotel room and photographed for his Facebook page. Read More
By Adrianne Jeffries 12/21/11 12:21pm
So far the art workers and their supporters have tried pranks, picket lines, an Occupy Wall Street alliance, a legal appeal to the National Labor Relations Board, and traditional negotiations, all to no avail. But perhaps a Christmas card will do the trick.
Sotheby’s has yet to let its locked-out workers back in after more than four months off the job due to disagreements over their union contract. So now the workers of the Local 814, the Teamsters union that includes art handlers at Sotheby’s high-end auctionhouse, have launched an email campaign comparing Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht to Scrooge and claiming the Teamsters have no money to care for their Tiny Tims. The catalyst? The locked-out workers are on the verge of losing their health insurance. Read More
By Adrianne Jeffries 12/14/11 9:29am
Let’s take a trip with the Ghost of Christmas Future. The year is 2016, and George Bailey, a former banker, now a part-time consultant, is looking for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for a co-op in the super-hot neighborhood of Bedford Falls (BeFa). He has never missed a loan payment and has zero credit card debt. He submits his information to the online-only PotterBank.com, but halfway through the application process, the website asks for his Facebook login. Then his Twitter. Then LinkedIn. The cartoon loan officer avatar begins to frown as the algorithm discovers Mr. Bailey’s taxi-driving buddy Ernie was once turned down by PotterBank for a loan; then it starts browsing his daughter Zuzu’s photo album, “Saturday Nite!” And what was this tweet from a few years back: “FML, about to jump off a goddamn bridge”? Read More
By Adrianne Jeffries 12/08/11 11:59am
Undergraduate tuition at New York University is around $41,000, but parents can be assured their bright young things are still getting The People’s Education, reports the student newspaper The Washington Square News. NYU plans to offer not one, but two classes on the burgeoning social movement known as Occupy Wall Street, so that the 1 percent may study the 99 at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Read More