The New York Post has a rather alarming (and alarmist) article on a potential happy hour ban in the city. They cite a lot of mysterious Department of Health sources, so it's difficult to confirm any of this — but when anyone suggests a serious threat to cheap drinking, panic is the appropriate response.
Hope all you smokers enjoyed the (temporary, unofficial) lifting of the city's smoking ban while it lasted. A couple of weeks after the front page of the Times' Sunday Styles section pointed out that the city wasn't doing much to enforce the law, and now the Health Department is taking action. It's now moving to shut down five clubs—The Box, M2, Lit Lounge, Southside, and the Imperial—after an "undercover sting" revealed repeated violations. And it says it's planning to crack down on other clubs and bars in the coming weeks. [NYDN]
The city is inviting New Yorkers to submit their designs for a "special, limited-edition" NYC-branded condom wrapper that will be unveiled next fall. Perhaps you're looking for something constructive to do over the holidays? Just be sure to avoid using images or text that could be considered "sexually explicit," please. [NYT]
• The Guggenheim is planning to open a restaurant named The Wright inside the museum. [NYT]
• Le Cirque is now morphing into a club on Friday nights. Just don't actually call it a club, though. [GS]
• Former Tailor chef Sam Mason has a new cooking show on Independent Film Channel and reports he may open something new in Brooklyn. [NYT]
• Má Pêche (aka Momofuku Midtown) is serving cocktails. [F&W]
• Is the Department of Health waging a war on pizza? It seems so. [Slice, GS]
• Starbucks is rolling out more of its brand-less coffeehouses. [NYT]
• If you haven't had a chance to get to know Vadim Ponorovsky, the owner of Paradou, please do so. He's a delight, both in print and on the phone. [Gawker]
Daniel and Isabella were the most popular baby names in New York City in 2007, according to an insanely exhaustive, 81-page report issued today by the city's Department of Health. (So that's what they do when they're not checking restaurants for mice and roaches.) More interesting is the second most-popular name for boys: It's Jayden, which one baby name "expert" attributes to—you guessed it—the "Britney effect." She also adds that the "entire '-aiden' phenomenon has been a huge naming force" over the past year, and she's been seeing an increasing number of parents name their kids Hayden, Caiden, Raiden, and Zaydon. "I'm even hearing Graydon," she says. Consider yourself warned, Mr. Carter! [City Room]
As if the calorie-counts that chain restaurants now have to display weren't scary enough (at least McDonalds has the sense to put the numbers in a size barely visible to the naked eye), the city's Health Department is now ambushing you on the subway with reminders that your diet sucks and you're never going to shift those stubborn extra pounds. As part of a three-month campaign that started Monday, posters will tell commuters how many calories are in particular snacks and meals (a giant apple bran muffin, 470 calories!) and point out that adults should eat only 2000 calories a day—which we're sure you don't need us to tell you is used up simply by looking at the frosting on cupcakes.
Let the lamb and rice platters flow! Street vendor Tony Dragonas, whose militantly-beloved cart at 62nd and Madison has been sating Upper East Siders for 25 years, is not getting put out of business by the city. The neighborhood icon has settled a lawsuit with the Department of Health, putting to bed the 19 $1,000-a-pop health code violations that threatened to sink him. Area residents who normally don't display an iota of concern for the woes of the working-class mounted a vigorous defense of Tony, signing a "Save Tony Petition" in droves; a dozen diehards even showed up at his trial in the financial district yesterday to testify on his behalf. A heartwarming victory for the little guy, greasy chicken, and even greasier (but supposedly delicious) hamburgers.