Opening a New Joint, Sunglasses at Night

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The restaurant at 146 Orchard Street, though long overdue, was just green lit and my firm Lewis and Dizon will deliver it. Permit problems and all those pesky pre-opening issues, like with so many new spots around town, delayed this spot for many months. The good news is Camille Becerra of Paloma, the Greenpoint joint that shuttered after a fire and of Top Chef fame will still be on board. The restaurant, which has never been given a name amidst all the drama, will feature locally grown fare and Camille’s savoir flare.

There are many reasons why new restaurants and bars don’t make it to their grand opening. Since the crane that collapsed and killed seven people was found to be poorly inspected, the Department of Buildings is under siege. In the aftermath, poorly trained inspectors, building codes that were under par and inspection bribes have been targeted. As a result, the process to begin construction on a new place is very slow and meticulous. This a very good thing since public safety should not be rushed. Designers and architects start with safety, move on to functionality and then to charisma and beauty. I wish I practiced that succession with my dating.

Sometimes when I look at the work of another designer I am awed by his vision and execution. I have never felt jealousy, I have never felt that others were jealous of my design when I do something that works. We in the hospitality design business are keenly aware of how difficult it is to find a vision and carry it through to an opening night. There are so many things that can go wrong. Loss of funding, permitting issues or internal strife amongst partners all can waylay a project. I am so happy to be back in construction mode and hopefully open this restaurant in a couple of months. I’ve been ready for a year.

While cruising Yahoo for all my worldly news and information, I came across this article called “Darkness Begets Dishonesty, Study Finds.” The article seems to prove what we in the biz have known all along. “Dim lights can make it seem as if no one is watching, triggering moral transgressions in many people.” It goes on to ask “what about times when we’re not actually anonymous – people can see us – yet we feel like we’re hidden?” The researchers of the new study describe it as the adult version of hide-and-seek, kids often believe no one can see them when they cover their eyes even though they are hiding in plain sight. Turns out, a dark room can have a similar psychological effect on adults. Basically, dimly lit rooms or wearing sunglasses makes a person noticeably less accountable than those hanging out in a bright room. So, no matter how bright the lounge is, do everything you can to avoid those dudes wearing sunglasses at night! Most of us know that already.