Friday, June 26, 2009

Maya Maya - Guru

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ulrich Schnauss - Stars

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cozy Coffee Shops in New York City

I have been visiting and exploring some independent coffee shops in New York City that are cozy and independent.Here are the list of places I recommend you if you're a big coffee addict like me and who does not compromise on his/her daily cup of Joe!

Roasting Plant Coffee Company in L.E.S

Joe - The Art of Coffee

Subtle Tea - 121 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Paradiso Cafe - for a good Italian coffee & Bruschetta

105 Avenue B # 1
New York, NY 10009-6281
(212) 777-0234‎

The Hungarian Pastry Shop

Just spotted this place oday and ordered a cold Hungarian coffee with whipped cream and cinnamon!

One word that can describe this drink - RE.FRESH.ING!

1030 Amsterdam Avenue
(between West 110th and 111th streets)
New York, NY 10025

Located in the Columbia University neighborhood just across the street from the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, The Hungarian Pastry Shop serves croissants, danish, tarts, turnovers, pastries, cookies and cakes. It offers a large selection of coffees and teas – both hot and cold. Soft lighting, original artwork, and wood tables and chairs make the Pastry Shop particularly conducive to reading, relaxing, chatting or studying. On sunny days, patrons take advantage of sidewalk chairs and tables. The Hungarian Pastry Shop has been the setting of a scene in several movies including Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives. In existence for more than 35 years, it is a favorite spot for Columbia University students and intelligentsia as well as tourists coming to visit the magnificent Cathedral.

Note: Here is something interesting that I read in this coffee shop

"In case of Fire
Stay Calm
Pay the Bill
Then Run"

SilverMoon Bakery

Had a Lavazza coffee with a so called Brioche - chocolate chip & southwestern spicy flavored. However, one looked like a muffin whereas the other looked like a panini. Not sure if its the best in town but give it try. Don't order the lunch here, their soup prices start from 6 bucks!

more on:

Puerto Rico Importing Co.
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
201 Bleecker St
(between Avenue Of The Americas & Downing St)
New York, NY 10012

Not a coffee shop but a good place to buy your coffee beans. They have a good variety of coffee from south america and elsewhere. They have weekly sales as well. I bought a half pound of Frecnh Mocha Java for just $3.50.

Esperanto Cafe

114 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012

Interesting meaning 'esperanto' - is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language in the world. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto, the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887. The word esperanto means "one who hopes" in the language itself. Zamenhof's goal was to create an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding

Macaron Cafe

The name says it all! I tried their coconut macaron, there were several other colorful ones too in different flavors. It is a very small place but really colorful with a good taste in art. Good place to meet people for lunch & macarons!

Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Cafe

Among Ireland’s gifts to New York, add chocolates. Lily O’Briens Chocolate Cafe, selling bonbons made in Ireland, has opened on Bryant Park.

The company was founded in 1992 by Mary Ann O’Brien, who had been in marketing. A baby, Lily, kept her at home, so she started making chocolates. She now imports chocolate from around the globe and has a plant in County Kildare that churns out 60 tons of chocolates a week.

Two-bite cups in either milk, white or dark chocolate, with fillings like lemon meringue, sticky toffee and crème brûlée, are $14 and up for 20 pieces. Bars, notably the honeycomb crisp variety, are $2.50 and up; small sacks are $4 to $9; and boxed assortments are $16 to $45. Sold by the piece, the chocolates are 60 cents to $1.25.

As far as their coffee is concerned, I tried their cappuccino which was pretty reasonable since they used illy coffee. Don't forget to ask for a free chocolate with your coffee!

The cafe also serves hot chocolate made from Belgian chocolate, $4.25 to $5.25

36 W 40th St, New York - (212) 575-0631


Sunday, June 21, 2009

100% off on all Air India aircrafts... any buyers?

Source: Times of India

Why a strike will benefit AI and everyone
Kingshuk Nag Sunday June 21, 2009

Air India's losses have mounted over the last week. Now it is making a loss of Rs 15 crore per day, up from the earlier Rs 11 crore. This would translate into an annual loss of Rs 5,100 crore. Faced with the situation, Air India chairman Arvind Jadhav is lobbying the powers-that-be in New Delhi with a begging bowl. He wants soft loans and equity infusion into Air India from the government.

He tried to defer the salary payments of staffers by 15 days and suggested that senior staffers skip the salary for June. This because the national carrier has no money at all. But his initiative has been met with a strike threat. The "bada babus" of the government have promised all they can for the national carrier, although they know they can't do anything because the goverment is strapped for funds. Anyway, infusing money into Air India will be like sending good money to chase bad money.

It is clear that emergency measures should be taken to stem the rot in the present phase as the aviation sector all over the world is passing through an acute slowdow. Trying to sell Air India in the short run will be like a distress sale that will fetch publicity but little money. There will be no serious bidders for the airline, not even for its famed building at Nariman Point in Mumbai.

What should be done immediately is to bring about a paradigm shift and start operating Air India like an entity of the present times.

The airline is being run on the paradigms prevalent in the 1970s. Thus cabin crew recruited before 2004 work on average between 50 and 55 hours per week, though the international norm is 70 hours weekly. In fact DGCA rules now permit cabin crew to work up to 70 hours per week. Pilots flying on the international sector are paid in dollars and make up to Rs 7 lakh per month and stay in five-star hotels when on duty. They get an incentive allowance that is not linked to the national carrier's productivity. So they make more money, though the airline can be making more losses. Compare this with Singapore Airlines, where pilots have agreed to take pay cuts and non-paid leaves, just because the net profits are down by half (it is still making profits). Engineers in Air India with 15 years of experience make more than Rs 2 lakh per month, though their productivity is estimated to be 40 per cent of the international norms. They can't keep up on time performance and despatch norms, yet they are not penalized.

About unions, the less said the better. In what is a paradox 100 employees who are union bearers of the cabin crew and ground staff union are officially exempt from doing work. Air India pays them their salaries and, what is more, even their flying allowances. The airline also pays for maintenance and upkeep of their union offices. As if Air India is a charitable trust!

Actually if the union wants to go on strike it may be encouraged to do so. If Air India does not operate at least, there will be a saving on the operating costs of the airline: fuel costs, landing charges, etc. The passenger won't be inconvenienced because Air India holds just 17.4% of the domestic market and 23.5% of the international market, that is, flights going out of India and coming in. With all airlines suffering from overcapacity, other airlines will pick up the passengers of Air India and without a hitch. Many Air India routes are inherently loss-making but the babu-neta combine has forced the airline to fly on these routes for other considerations. A good example is the recently introduced Srinagar-Dubai flight that carries on average 20-30 passengers on a 180-seat aircraft. If the government wants the airline to take such routes it must compensate the airline for it. But the government does not.

As Air India is a 100% GOI-owned company, all its losses are being funded by the tax payers' money. That is your and my money. This must immediately stop.
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