Archive for the ‘AGINY Good Value’ Category.

“The Real Value of $100 in Each State”

Prices for the same goods are often much cheaper in states like Missouri or Ohio than they are in states like New York or California. As a result, the same amount of cash can buy you comparatively more in a low-price state than in a high-price state.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has been measuring this phenomenon for two years now; it recently published its data for prices in 2014. Using this data, we have adjusted the value of $100 to show how much it buys you in each state.

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For example, Ohio is a low-price state. There, $100 will buy you stuff that would cost $111.98 in a state at the national average price level. You could think of this as meaning that Ohioans are, for the purposes of day-to-day living, 11 percent richer than their incomes suggest.

The states where $100 is worth the most are Mississippi ($115.34), Arkansas ($114.29), Alabama ($113.90), South Dakota ($113.64), and West Virginia ($112.49). In contrast, $100 is effectively worth the least in the District of Columbia ($84.67), Hawaii ($85.62), New York ($86.43), New Jersey ($87.34), and California ($88.97).

The Real Value of $100 in Each State

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Prepaid Medical Care in NYC

Bonus video featuring Teddy the Porcupine, from zooniversity.org:

A few days ago I predicted that people in the private economy would quickly get to work to find ways around the Obamacare debacle. I came up with a few ways they might do that, from family re-definition to buying black market insurance from Canada. But of course, the big idea is something I didn’t think of, yet spotted on a tv commercial a couple of days ago. This idea is prepaid care from a large medical group. It’s not “insurance” from an “insurance company,” so it looks like Obamacare does not apply. (In fact, the pre-paid care model is how the Blue Cross plans got started back in the 1920s.) A group in this area called AMG is now offering unlimited doctor visits for a flat pre-paid fee of $79 per month [Ed. the cheapest plan is $89 per month], below even the cheapest Obamacare subsidized plans for people making as little as about $30,000. OK there’s no pediatric dental coverage, and no maternity care for young men. More importantly, it doesn’t cover hospitals, but your risk of needing hospital care is small and if you have the big accident they have to treat you and you can just not pay the bill. Not perfect, but clearly a far better solution for many many young people than the Obamacare ripoff.

Obamacare And Its Marks

NYC: AMG Medical Group, with 6 locations in NYC

A few other prepaid plans (Prepaid Group Practice Plan, prepaid doctor):
St. Paul, MN: Parkway Family Physicians

Bakersfield, CA: The Practice

Beverly Hills, CA: Brian Flyer

WV: Primary Care One

From 2007:
To Cure Insurance Woes, Doctors Try Prepaid Plans

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AGINY Best Use of Tax Dollars in 2012 Award

This wins the AGINY Best Use of Tax Dollars in 2012 Award.

Congratulations NASA!

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“Why American Food Used to Be So Bad and Other Lessons From Tyler Cowen”

For the past four years, I’ve been ordering the most unappatizing sounding item on the menu when I eat at nice restaurants. This counterintuitive advice from Tyler Cowen’s 2007 book Discover Your Inner Economist has worked surprisingly well. Cowen’s newest book, An Economist Gets Lunch, is a combination of practical eating advice like this, and also a history, economics, and science book about food. If there is one overarching lesson it is that looking at food through the framework of supply and demand can help you both understand our food system better, and also help you be a smarter consumer and get more out of every meal.

An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies

But Cowen is not an apologist, and he doesn’t argue that we can just deregulate our way to a better food system. In fact he has many words of support for policies and values often supported by progressives. To help improve both the long-term budget gap and the growing environmental problem, he advocates ending subsidies for big agriculture, and argues for a carbon tax. In addition, he believes that meat should be “taxed” for environmental reasons, and that one easy way to do this is to enforce more strict animal welfare laws.

Why American Food Used to Be So Bad and Other Lessons From Tyler Cowen,” by Adam Ozimek, The Atlantic, April 12, 2012

Recommended

More at Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide.

Semi-related:

In 2008 I got a book advance of $200,000, of which my agent took 15% and the IRS took approximately one-fourth. Still, that’s a lot of money, even paid out in quarters over the course of several years, and for a few months after I got that initial check–for the first time in my adult life–I mistakenly assumed that I didn’t have to keep track of how much money I was spending. Because surely this good fortune was the beginning of more good fortune to come!

There would be foreign rights sales, audio rights sales, fat old-school magazine payments for first serial rights when the book came out, maybe a film or TV option — not to mention all the paid teaching and speaking opportunities that having written the kind of book that a publisher would pay a six-figure advance for would undoubtedly bring my way. And then, too, there would be another payment of the same amount or more money for another book, a book I couldn’t quite imagine and hadn’t even started writing, but would definitely be able to write in a year or less after the first book came out because what was I, lazy? No, I was quick, quick like a blogger!

Without whining or belaboring, I will just say briefly that precisely zero of these rosy fantasies came to fruition.

It Was Here And Then It Was Gone: More Than $1K Worth of Clothes I’ll Never Wear Again,” by Emily Gould, The Billfold, April 10, 2012

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Fuleen Seafood Restaurant

Recently I shepherded a group of 7 amigos to the Fuleen Seafood Restaurant … Classic Cantonese cuisine with nice service and a very good value. Another great place to bring a group of hungry amigos for a delicious Cantonese dinner in Chinatown. The dishes I ordered … perriwinkles in black-bean sauce, flour-coated fried oysters, prawns with walnuts, garlic-scented sauteed chicken, garlic sauteed pea-shoots, fermented bean-curd sauteed water spinach, chow-mein with prawns. Fresh cut Florida oranges for desert. The total bill was $125.00. We were allowed to bring our own red wine … come soon for a very frugal Manhattan-Yankee dinner in Chinatown …
Fuleen Seafood Restaurant, 11 Division Street, New York, 212-941-6888 [MenuPages | NYT | NY Mag | Yelp | Citysearch]

Jose Fish Market

Last Spring, disembarking at La Guardia airport, I decided to ride the Q33 bus to Jackson Heights before transferring to the subway to Manhattan. I walked around the area to find an interesting place to eat and decided on Jose Fish Market from the looks. This is a Korean-Peruvian fish eatery, I surveyed the offerings and they looked very fresh and well-prepared. So I ordered the fried whiting fish, scallops and shrimps combination with french fries for $5.00. The order came with two wedges of fresh lime. I noticed that every order came with two wedges of fresh lime. This is a very good sign because it is not normal in NY to get two wedges of fresh lime. I sat at the community table and enjoyed my fries, fish, scallops and shrimps. The next best thing was the flat-screen TV showing the Andrea Bocelli concert. I was very impressed with the total package. A very clean place and music to enjoy the meal.
I have been back twice, traveling to Jackson Heights just to eat at Jose Fish Market, wow!
The last time, besides the fried fish platter, I ordered the fish soup and I think that it is very good. Next time, I must order the whole fish and rice for $6.00 and they have a dozen freshly shucked oysters for $10.00. I am going to bring a bottle of Spanish cava and have a good time … I saw a customer purchase a ripe avocado from the fruit store, next door, and enjoyed the sliced avocado with his fish and fries … I am going to do the same, next time …
Definitely worth the detour (as they would say in the Michelin guide) … every time, the fried fish was very fresh and crunchy, not salty … a large flow of customers keep the products fresh off the frying oil … the last time, I ordered the rice instead of the French fries and they are good with onions and squash in the broth, 50 cents extra charge … and the pint of fish soup ($2.50) is very delicious with the two wedges of lime … I hesitated to write after the first visit but I am convinced that it is the best fried fish eatery in New York
From Manhattan, the E or the F subway line will get you there express and catch the Q32 for a free ride back to the City …
Jose Fish Market, 81-04 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, Queens, NY, 718-478-0232‎ … on the take-out menu “the chef wakes up at 3 am daily to buy the fresh fish…”
This is an AGINY Good Value!
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Subway info (new window opens): MTA map | schedules | HopStop | Interactive Transit Map

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Beijing duck … Erin-go-brah

Dear EL: Yes, definitely the NICE Restaurant in Chinatown for Beijing duck … $36 for two courses … get the 2nd stir-fried with the duck meat and green snow peas or Chinese celery … a bottle of Cote du Rhone will do very nice or a 12 year old Irish whiskey “Old Bushmill” … great appetite …
other highly recommended dishes are the boneless squab served with green lettuce … Beijing pork chops … beef with scallions … salt & pepper squid … prawns with Chinese kai-lan (broccoli) … bring along an ice-cream cake … to clean the palate … Erin-go-brah

Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of the Great Public Works, Part I – 3/19/2007 – 7/8/2007

We do not normally reproduce press releases on AGINY, but the subway is so integral to NYC, and the design impacts so many people every day, that we are reproducing this press release, and encouraging our friends and readers to stop by the Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex in Grand Central Station and see these exhibitions, opening March 19, 2007.

Chandelier from City Hall Station Station opened 1904. Material: Bronze. Image credit: New York Transit Museum
Chandelier from City Hall Station Station opened 1904. Material: Bronze. Image credit: New York Transit Museum

Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of Great Public Works, Part I (3/19/2007 – 7/8/2007) and Architects of the NYC Subway, Squire Vickers and the Subway’s Modern Age, Part II, (7/30/2007 – 10/28/2007)

Be sure not to miss two new exciting – consecutive – free exhibits at the New York Transit Museum entitled, Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of Great Public Works, Part I (3/19/2007 – 7/8/2007) and Architects of the NYC Subway, Squire Vickers and the Subway’s Modern Age, Part II, (7/30/2007 – 10/28/2007). Culled from the extensive collections of the New York Transit Museum, The New York Historical Society, the
Episcopal Diocese of New York, The Bronx Zoo / Wildlife Conservancy Center, and private collectors, more than sixty historic artifacts, architectural drawings, and photographs will display, the vision of the subway’s first architects, John L. Heins and Christopher G. LaFarge and the subsequent work of Squire J. Vickers at the Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex in mid-town Manhattan.

From 1901 to 1908, John L. Heins and Christopher G. LaFarge not only designed the first subway stations, but also the control houses, power substations and ornamental kiosks, in the popular Beaux-Arts style, evoking classical architecture using ceramics, metal, and wood. Because Heins & LaFarge began working more than a year after
subway construction began, their primary duty was to decorate and make beautiful the stark
utilitarian spaces built by engineers achieved by using ceramics, terra cotta relief’s and unique
station plaques to identify and adorn each station. Says Roxanne Robertson, Director of Special Projects,

“The crown jewel of the subway is the old City Hall Station which was designed by Heins and LaFarge. Visitors are still inspired by the arched tile ceilings, skylights, and brass chandeliers. This station still has the feeling of entering a grand cathedral and remains the NYC subway’s most spectacular space.”

Elements adorning the subway also included ceramic tiles, mosaics, terra cotta reliefs, sconces, iron railings and circular air vent covers. Examples of brass ticket booth grilles and metal exit signs in the exhibition are graceful, with their function masked by the beauty of design and materials. Design drawings of Manhattan’s control houses for 72nd, 103rd Streets and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue show three similar structures with decorative arches, glass, metal, and terra cotta. Architects of the NYC Subway… also presents a dozen pieces of these original station ceramics. Because an immense amount of ceramics had to be designed, fabricated, and installed in less than three
years, numerous companies were hired to produce these pieces. The work of the noted ceramics firms Grueby Faience Company of Boston, Atlantic Terra Cotta of Staten Island and New Jersey, and Rookwood Pottery Company of Cincinnati, are also represented in the
exhibition.

Architects John L. Heins, Christopher Grant LaFarge, and Squire J. Vickers determined the aesthetics of New York’s subway system. These men created the decorative motifs that adorned the subways, allowing each station to be unique while contributing to its overall style. In 1907, Heins died of meningitis. Though he would work as an architect until his death in 1938, LaFarge worked on the subway only until 1908. Architect, Squire J. Vickers, was then hired and become the architect responsible for New York’s subway station’s design elements for the next four decades.

In addition to being business partners, John L.
Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge were friends, classmates, and brothers-in-law. The two met as architecture students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying a curriculum based on the French school of Beaux-Arts classical approach to architecture, but also stressing logical planning and design. They graduated in 1882, and in 1886, formed their own New York City firm. Heins & LaFarge specialized in ecclesiastical and residential buildings.

Today they are best remembered as the original architects for the Cathedral of Saint John theDivine. They began the cathedral project in the 1890s and would continue with it for two decades. During this time, Heins would also be appointed the State Architect of New York, responsible foroverseeing the design and construction of all state buildings.

In the first years of the new century, Heins & LaFarge continued with the Cathedral, but also designed the New York City subway stations and the Astor Court Buildings of the Bronx Zoo. Though these important civic projects might seem, at first, to be disparate, Heins & LaFarge used similar architectural elements and fabricators for each project. The Guastivino Fireproof Construction Company fabricated magnificent arches for the grand City Hall subway station, the Belmont Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, and the Elephant House of the Bronx Zoo. The Atlantic Terra Cotta Company produced ceramics for numerous subway stations and the Lion House at the Zoo. Pieces of these Zoo and subway ceramics, including examples taken from the 33rd Street, 110th Street, and 116th Street subway stations, are featured in the exhibitions. An architectural drawing for the Zoo’s Monkey House shows a frieze with classical design elements that can also be seen in subway station ceramics.

Architects of the NYC Subway, Heins & LaFarge: The Tradition of the Great Public Works, Part I, at the New York Transit Museum, 212-878-0106, March 19, 2007 – July 8, 2007, at the New York Transit Museum’s Gallery Annex at Grand Central, Monday-Friday, 8 am – 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 6 pm. Admission is Free. These exhibitions are made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support: Major sponsors: ARUP, Daniel Frankfurt, P.C., and Parsons Brinkerhoff. Supporting Sponsor: STV. Sponsors: FXFOWLE ARCHITECTS, PC, and Domingo Gonzalez Associates.
New York Transit Museum

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Dao-miu and Chinese barbers

Last Tuesday afternoon, I was in Chinatown to visit my dentist for a “deep cleaning” procedure. While there, I purchased from the vegetable vendor on East Broadway and Catherine Street a pound of “dao-miu” (a leafy green vegetable) for home cooking for $2.50 … I made a delcious risotto with jasmine brown rice and left-over Cantonese roast duck. A pound of “dao-miu” can make four portions of vegetable serving. A very good tasty and economic means to enjoy good food.
Also made a new discovery walking north on Eldridge Street – a brand new Chinatown of barber shops where you can get a hair-cut for $5-$6 … a pastry shop for egg tarts, almond cookies, spoonge cakes, coffee and tea for $0.50 each … numerous fresh noodle eateries from the province of Fukien … very good Beijing fried dumplings, fried sesame bread, hot-sour soup, boiled pork-chive dumplings, etc. eatery. (Eldridge Street runs between Canal and Division Streets in Lower Manhattan. Eldridge is a one-way street that runs north. It is three blocks east of Bowery and one block west of Allen Street (First Avenue below Houston Street)
Also see The Eldridge Street Project
AGINY Good Value

Noon music at Rockefeller University

The Rockefeller University hosts a recital series called the Tri-Institutional Noon Recitals. Held on Fridays at noon from September through June, this series brings outstanding musical talent to NYC.
For example, on December 15, 2006, pianist Soyeon Lee gave a great perfomance. She played with much expression and enthusiasm. What a joy!

Soyeon Lee

Tri-Institutional Noon Recitals, Caspary Auditorium, The Rockefeller University, 66th Street and York Avenue (#2 on this campus map – pdf), Recitals Hotline: 212-327-7007, ext. 1
Post by Peter