I have never seen such a sullen holiday season in New York. Prices are slashed 35%-50% all over town and still the stores are empty. People are in spending lockdown as the idle crain’s atop hulking abandoned high-rise condos attest to the deep impact of a recession that promises to be prolonged and painful. It seems almost obscene to shop this holiday season.
Alas, this being New York we could always eat our way to some measure of happiness. You may gain a few pounds but you stave off the recession malaise.
The Magnolia Bakery at Bleecker and W. 11th street, Greenwich Village, New York City is a major spot for tourists and impressionable locals to gorge on mediocre cupcakes, cakes, and pies and marginally acceptable coffee. The lines at Magnolia are always ridiculously long – I was not willing to waste an hour to get a cupcake (besides, real New Yorkers eschew such obviously touristy behavior).
Then something remarkable happened. In the middle of a nice Sunday, at the height of holiday shopping season, there was no line. I walked in unaccosted, picked out a couple of cupcakes, paid without waiting and was out in a couple of minutes. If people are cutting back on their cupcake¬†consumption we must really be heading for the skids.