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Big Money in Restaurants

From the Editor: Everything you missed in food news last week

Hudson Yards [Official Photo]

This post originally appeared on August 10, 2019, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

Hey everyone,

Yesterday, major developer, restaurant investor, political donor, and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross threw a fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in his Hamptons estate. Considering he’s given generously to Republican campaigns in the past and is, you know, a billionaire who profits from Trumpian tax cuts and the president’s vested interest in the real estate industry and who banned his football team from kneeling during the National Anthem, this is ... not a surprise?

But outraged fans of the businesses he invests in, including Equinox, SoulCycle, Momofuku, Milk Bar, and Bluestone Lane, called for a boycott. Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi released a statement distancing herself from Ross’s politics. Dave Chang promised to double-down on progressive efforts and, along with José Andrés, implored Ross to cancel the event.

It is indefensible to support a candidate who has done so much irreparable damage to our democracy and to the lives of so many thousands of people (and children) in our country and around the world. But my main thought is we should have canceled Ross long ago. Remember he is the mastermind behind Hudson Yards, a once-in-a-generation urban development opportunity wasted:

- His Related Group, alongside Oxford Properties Group, turned the opportunity of a lifetime into a boring, soulless, playground for the rich.

- He built a mall and filled it with duplicates of expensive restaurants and new projects from (mostly) wealthy white men.

- Instead of art, there’s a stairway to nowhere, “casting egregious shadows over what passes for public open space, ruinously manspreading.”

- Oh an he funneled $1.2 billion in public funds away from impoverished neighborhoods to finance the venture, and relied on lucrative tax breaks and the publicly-funded extension of a subway line to lure tenants.

It’s easy to raise the alarm about the big Trump headline, but the daily way big money influences our restaurants and our culture is what we should be more attuned to.

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