Category: NYC

Photo from The Daily Beast

The Lion recently sat down with Dean Baquet, the first black Executive Editor of the New York Times. He studied English at Columbia from 1974 to 1978. In 1988, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting on the Chicago City Council. He sat down with us to talk about how he became a journalist, what a typical day at the New York Times office is like, and more.

In the past, you’ve said that journalism was an accident for you. Can you tell us a little more about that?

First, I went to Columbia accidentally. I went to high school in New Orleans and I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college. One of my best friends applied to Columbia; I had never even heard of Columbia to be honest but he encruraged me to apply. So we both applied and I got in.

When I got to Columbia, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I thought I wanted to be an English major. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a professor, but I had a vague sense that I might want to be a writer and it stayed that way for the first couple years.

The summer between junior and senior year, I got an internship at an afternoon paper in New Orleans, because I was looking for a job. It was easy to get internships then, because there were a lot more newspapers and I just fell in love with it.I just thought it was so much fun. That’s how I got into journalism. It was an accident, and part of it was that I missed home and wanted to spend a longer time in New Orleans, but it wasn’t because I set out to become a journalist.

I noticed that you really seem to target corruption as a topic when you were a reporter. What drew you to that topic?

I think that I’m one of those people who’s always a little skeptical of powerful people. One of the big roles of news organizations is to protect the powerless in the face of unbridled power. And if you’re a reporter in a big city, then those powerful institutions besides business are big government. That’s why I was drawn to investigating government and power.

You’ve said that you’re a reporter at heart. How do you bring that passion to your editing?

I’m happiest when I’m thinking about stories, when I’m thinking about chasing stories, and when I’m thinking about how to do big stories. That’s the reporter’s sensibility in me. And when I walk around here thinking about stories and talking to reporters about coverage and I think that’s the reporter in me coming out. That’s the part of me I like best professionally. It influences the way I think about the news, coverage, and how to run the newsroom because I’m drawn to the stories like the reporters are.Continue Reading..

kati-roll-entrance

RESTAURANT INFORMATION:

Locations: Garment District | West Village | Midtown East | London

Location Visited: Garment District

Rating: 4.5/5

Catering is available.

 

“Everything you are eating is made fresh daily. We make everything from scratch every morning. There is no frozen food.”

Anil Bathwal proclaims this matter-of-factly across the table from me. As the husband of Payal Saha, the founder and owner of The Kati Roll Company, I thought his boasting might contain bias.

Boy, I was wrong.

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Upon entering The Kati Roll Company | Photo by Justin Deal

Upon entering The Kati Roll Company on 49th W 39th Street, I was instantly struck by sensory overload—bright orange-painted brick walls (some exposed), distressed Bollywood movie posters, and top 40 pop/R&B blaring overhead. While it felt like too much at first, the ambiance came into focus when I looked down to see the hardwood floors and the minimal seating in the front with more seating in the back after one walks past the open kitchen. Overall, the mood straddled between New York City lazy chic and India street pop-culture.

Their menu is simple, and by “simple,” I mean it has focus and does not inhibit the customer’s ability to make a choice by giving you too many options. The caveat to this is that everything is delectable, so after your first try you may end up sweating over which Kati Roll to try next.

First, I tried the Aloo Masala Roll. I was impressed with the balance of flavors between their homemade paratha (lightly-fried, hand-rolled, layered bread) and the spicy and full-flavored fillings of hand-mashed, fried potatoes, tomatoes, and green peppers. “Spicy” describes their home-blend of over 25 distinct spices used on many of their rolls. This classic Indian street food creation was vegetarian heaven in roll form.

Next up was the Shami-Kabab Roll. Wow. The minced lamb and lentil croquettes inside the paratha provide both texture from the croquette shell and soft savoriness from the finely minced lamb mixture. I am a self-made connoisseur of lamb, and this hit the mark.

Three kati rolls | Photo by Justin Deal

Three kati rolls | Photo by Justin Deal

Lastly, the most famous roll—the Chicken Tikka Roll. Tender, juicy chicken, marinated in the house spice blend and yogurt…I could see why this was the most popular. The chicken is hormone and antibiotic-free halal chicken according to their website. It tasted so fresh! I realized Anil was not fibbing when he said everything was made from scratch daily. It shows in the quality of the food.

When asked about special dietary options, Anil said it is easy to accommodate such requests. If you are vegan, stay away from the paratha—it contains clarified butter. Instead, opt for the Roti flatbread. And make sure to choose one of the vegetarian rolls and simply request no cheese if it includes that (the Achari Paneer Roll appears to be the only one with this obstacle). Also, the Shami-Kabab Roll contains egg. The paratha is already gluten-free, so you’re ready to go! If that doesn’t work for you difficult ones (I joke I joke), there is an organic salad…

If you have a long break during the school day or want to travel downtown on the weekend, don’t miss out on The Kati Roll Company experience.

DIRECTIONS: Jump on the downtown 1 train and go to 42nd Street/Times Square. Get off and walk southeast for about six minutes to 49 W 39th Street. What’s great about the kati roll experience is that you can eat inside and enjoy a lager (the recommended alcoholic beverage to pair), soda, or a sweet yoghurt-based lassi to balance the spice of the rolls; or you can take it to go on your way to Bryant Park juggling class or to buy more (unnecessary) books from the New York Public Library’s gift shop (I opted for “Le Penseur” socks instead)! Anil says the kati roll is practical for hungry people on-the-go.

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How to Eat a Kati Roll | Photo Copyright by The Kati Roll Company

Also—the average price for a roll is $5.50! That’s cheaper than an Up Coffee Company salad-in-a-jar!

After I had finished stuffing my face and Anil taught me about the street fare of Kolkata, India (the source of inspiration), I started to wean away from the idea that the restaurant vibe oversaturated the senses. Instead, the restaurant’s humble liveliness embodies the spirit of the food, and that is something many of the imitation Kati Roll companies cannot live up to.

I will definitely go back.

The Chinese community has been cheesed off recently by the Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor, as the correspondent Jesse Watter came to Chinatown in Manhattan and asked stereotypical and racist questions. Social media exploded after the segment was broadcasted on national television, and Chinese protesters gathered demanding an apology. Yet, Bill O’Reilly remains standing by Jesse Watter and refers the outrage from the public as an “organized campaign.”

I watched this footage. I asked the same question as Ronny Chieng does on the Daily Show: how is this thing news? And among all the disrespectful things he did in Chinatown, what I find the most shameful is the moment when he questioned two old Chinese people who couldn’t understand English. He thought it was funny to show some awkward silence when talking to someone who didn’t understand the language, but what he actually did was challenge the most basic and fundamental respect and politeness this society values.

Language is important in shaping a community and identifying a community member. Common language is the basis for communicating, sharing opinions, collaborating and even debating. However, people are forgetting the fact that speaking is fundamentally an ability, just as walking or seeing. It should not be taken for granted that everyone in this country has enough language proficiency to express his or her opinions and utilize speaking as a way to defend his or her rights. As in O’Reilly Factor, when facing a man asking racist questions in a language they don’t know, the old Chinese people could not, even if they wanted to, retaliate the ridicule imposed on them. They could only respond to Jesse Watter with an awkward smile, half friendly and half puzzled.

And it is not them to blame. If we can respect people who can’t walk, if we can respect people who can’t see, why can’t we respect people who can’t speak? We have made great effort to make our facilities and infrastructures accessible to people who have special needs, yet it seems that we forget how to make our society accessible to those who have difficulties in speaking for their rights. We have emphasized making an environment comfortable enough for those who have physical disabilities, yet our community is shying away from those who can’t express their opinions properly.

The barrier of language may be more deep and severe than the barrier of race and identities, but there is less awareness of it, because the victims suffering from this do not have a voice and cannot confront the injustice they face, and so we may never hear their stories. It is difficult to protect their rights and keep them from bullying in terms of language. We can only count on our conscientiousness and our humanity. But for a civilized community, it is necessary.

Perspectives of a Math Major runs alternate Wednesdays. To contact the author to submit a piece of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com.

This past summer, being the existential early 20 year old I am, I decided that I should start a blog. Being that I was going abroad for the fall semester, I naturally came to the conclusion that “I should definitely write about the totally “eye awakening” experience of life in a foreign country”. Shortly after my epiphany, I popped my own bubble, remembering that I was in fact going to Denmark… a country arguably whiter than me. Plus, everyone and their mom blogs about their study abroad experiences, and I wanted to be different. So I sat and pondered for a bit, contemplating my interests. After first reaching the conclusion that I needed more hobbies, I realized that the two things I am most passionate about are “Sex and the City” and strategic stability. Two peas in a pod… right?!

As I began thinking about the two subjects, I began drawing more connections between the two. I explicitly remember sitting in Professor Zachary Shirkey’s “Topics in International Security” class, where he would give “real world” examples of complex theoretical models, such as crafting strategy to try and get to Brooklyn when the L train was down. The more classes I sat through, the more I often thought, “holy shit, avoiding war is almost as hard as finding a steady relationship in New York”. I continued my studies, interning with an Arms Control affiliated office, and continued to draw these parallels between international relations and life in the Big Apple with thoughts such as “Russia acts up more than the MTA”, and “I should have made stronger alliances my first year”.

So, ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to my series: “Sex and the City…. and Deterrence”. It is my aim with this column to make strategic stability and international relations sexy again—a Cosmo of Jervis and (Samantha) Jones, if you will. Hell, maybe I’ll even inspire other aspiring Louboutin-clad warmongers out there. Through multiple extended metaphors, drastic simplification of IR theory, a strict avoidance of dry texts, and a hint of humor, I hope to take you on a journey through the streets of New York and the complexities of foreign policy.

Alright, enough clichés. For my more doubtful readers, who are wondering just how exactly I plan to go about this, think of my series as a type of intelligence analysis.

In the Intelligence Community today, one of the most common approaches to understanding data is through a Synthesis Analysis Model. Essentially, it models relationships between two elements to better help the consumer of the data understand it. It requires that the analyst is first creative, simplifying the data and creating a model, and then analytical; pulling his or her own model apart to see if more elements can be made more precise.

That is exactly what I tend to do! I am going to create elaborate models through Carrie Bradshaw like rhetorical questions, using data such as Professor Jack Snyder’s Why Emerging Democracies Go to War, in order to better digest the material.

I cannot wait to begin this journey, and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

For an example of a common Synthesis Analysis Model, please visit the following link:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/apr/29/mcchrystal-afghanistan-powerpoint-slide

“Sex and the City… and Deterrence” runs alternate Fridays. To contact the writer or submit a piece of your own, email submissions@columbialion.com

Couldn’t snag a ticket to tonight’s talk with Shaun King? The Lion will be live blogging tonight’s talk. Check out updates as they happen here.
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