🐤 Reach for the sky

Plans for a long-awaiting Manhattan skyscraper just received a major facelift.

Monday | March 6th, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Monday, chirpers! It might not be everybody’s favorite day of the week, but here’s hoping yours is getting off to a sweet start.

If not, why not stop by your favorite ice cream shop to get a scoop (or two) of your favorite flavor? And if you prefer a little savory with your sweet, Baskin Robbins has you covered with its new chicken and waffles flavor.

Still not adventurous enough? You could always travel to Germany for some of this cricket-flavored ice cream!

-Chris Agee

$226.03 (1.97%)
Dow Jones
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S&P 500
$64.29 (1.61%)
$0.00 (0.00%)
$79.84 (0.36%)
FuelCell Energy
$0.20 (6.10%)
*Market data for this issue is from March 5th, 2023 at 3:25pm EST

🏦 Markets: Friday marked a much-needed good day on Wall Street, but it’s anybody’s guess whether the rally will last.

A ton of economic data is set to drop this week, which will have a big impact on whether stock values will escalate or plummet in the near term.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will be offering congressional testimony on Tuesday and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will provide some insight the following day. Some of the companies expected to release earnings reports this week include Campbell Soup, Dole, Squarespace, and Grindr.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

🕰️ It’s about time: When I moved from Arizona last year, one of the biggest disappointments was the realization that I’d be losing an hour of sleep one day each year. That state is one of the few places in the U.S. that doesn’t engage in the twice-a-year clock change — but there’s a growing movement to eradicate the practice nationwide. This week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a bill that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent, and the proposal has attracted support from both sides of the aisle. The Florida Republican declared that the “ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid,” offering his hope that the current Congress can eliminate it once and for all. The practice dates back more than a century when leaders sought to conserve energy during World War I. Since then, evidence shows that there are productivity and health concerns related to interrupting the sleep cycle twice a year. A recent poll found that more than 6 in 10 Americans want to adopt a plan that ditches the ritual.

🥊 Heavyweight champ: Well, that didn’t take long. The recent UFC heavyweight championship bout between Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane didn’t make it past the first round. Jones forced his opponent into submission with a guillotine choke hold that earned him his first heavyweight title. Of course, he’s been an intimidating figure in other weight classes throughout his career, earning wins and accolades within the UFC and MMA circuits. After training for three years to fight at the heavyweight level, however, fans and analysts were shocked by his dominating show of strength. “At first I thought it’d be really easy,” he said of his move to the bulkier class. “I thought I could do it in a few months. And as I got more into it, as I got more into the culture, I realized that if I wanted to do it right, I would have to really commit my life to it.”

🎤 Hitting back: It’s been about a year since the slap heard ‘round the world — and stand-up comedian Chris Rock offered a lengthy monologue about his experience with Will Smith at last year’s Academy Awards during a live special that aired on Netflix this weekend. The general tone of “Selective Outrage” was criticism of the current culture in which people are too sensitive to words, but he ended with the type of content everyone was waiting to hear. “It still hurts,” Rock said of Smith’s slap. “I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears.” He went on to note that Smith is much bigger than he is, poking a bit of fun at himself in the process, joking: “This guy does movies with his shirt off. You will never see me do a movie with my shirt off. If I’m in a movie getting open-heart surgery, I got on a sweater.” This year’s Academy Awards are set to air next week, and organizers have reportedly beefed up their plan to respond to any possible interruption.

🥪 Selling Subway: It might be one of the world’s biggest restaurant chains, but Subway’s business has seen better days. Now, the struggling brand is up for sale with owners hoping it’ll fetch $10 billion. Investment banking firm Goldman Sachs has emerged as a possible buyer. Last month, the company confirmed reports that it was exploring the possibility of selling the brand but noted that it wouldn’t make any further comment until there was a deal in the works. In addition to Goldman Sachs, other firms said to be expressing interest in the major purchase include Bain Capital, TPG, TSG Consumer Partners, and TDR Capital. In terms of locations, the 21,000 Subway shops across the United States are second to none, taking the crown from McDonald’s years ago.

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This Major Big Apple Redesign Is Already Drawing Mixed Reviews

Construction of this Manhattan skyscraper has been on hold for years.

This Major Big Apple Redesign Is Already Drawing Mixed Reviews Twitter: @yimbytweets

There are many iconic locations across New York City, but every so often a major developer comes in with a new idea. That’s what happened with 45 Broad Street, which is situated in a historically significant part of Manhattan’s Financial District.

So what’s the deal?

The project has been on hold for a while after initial plans called for a residential building that would tower 1,115 feet. That design came from the firm CetraRuddy and drew positive feedback after it was released.

Now, a new company — Handel Architects — hopes of breathing new life into the project. It’s got a more modest concept in mind, however, and is calling for a 52-story building that would provide just over 300 residential units.

When developers at Gemdale Properties released a mockup, some people were excited to see the changes. It’s got columns, lots of glass, and some greenery on display with a height that doesn’t dwarf nearby skyscrapers.

Not everyone agrees

Several fans of the previous design say the Art Deco design cues would have fit well with the rest of the community and believe its narrower proportions were a more natural accentuation of the skyscrapers that already populate the area.

There’s also a lot less that makes the redesign unique, which critics describe as a missed opportunity.

Judging from the reader comments left in response to this article about the new building, there’s a lot to dislike about 45 Broad Street. Here’s a sampling:

  • “If they could at least do a little more visual flare with the crown, then maybe it could be less ugly over the skyline.”
  • “The old design was like a Cadillac. The new design a Chevy. I guess that financial issues forced this.”
  • What a sad downgrade. It went from very interesting to blah.”
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Southwest Is Trying To Get You In Your Seat Quicker — Here’s How

The airline is still reeling from some major missteps last year.

Southwest Is Trying To Get You In Your Seat Quicker — Here’s How Giphy

It’s safe to say that Southwest Airlines had a less-than-stellar 2022 from a customer service perspective. Although the entire industry saw major delays, staff shortages, and canceled flights, Southwest was by far the biggest contributor to this major problem.

Now, the carrier is trying to refine its boarding process with a focus on getting you and your stuff on the plane as fast and efficiently as possible. While it won’t fix all of the company’s problems, executives are hopeful that the customers who didn’t abandon the airline last year will start to remember why they liked flying Southwest in the first place.

Welcome to the “innovation zone”

While some of these changes are sure to be implemented at all of the airports that Southwest serves, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been selected as the testing ground. The airline is calling this destination in Georgia its “innovation zone” and customers will encounter a few significant concepts that will help it reach its goal of shaving five minutes from every flight’s boarding process.

Some of the changes aim to get passengers moving faster — from playing upbeat music to utilizing flashing lights in the boarding zone.

Other concepts, like a new group chat system, seek to streamline communication between employees on the ground and aboard jets.

A unique approach to boarding

Southwest has gained a lot of fans by ditching assigned seats. The approach also prioritizes allowing families to sit together. But it comes at the cost of speed, with some flights taking as long as 50 minutes to board on average.

By using self-serve kiosks and providing relevant information on conspicuous displays near the gate, Southwest hopes that it’ll be able to maintain its current boarding system while making the process less hectic for everyone involved.

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What You Can Learn From The Simple World Of ‘Peanuts’

Charles Schulz left behind a complex and inspiring legacy.

What You Can Learn From The Simple World Of ‘Peanuts’ Giphy

As someone who has been drawing comics for a while now (the latest one is at the bottom of this newsletter), there are few people I admire more than “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz.

With recent news focused on the cancelation of “Dilbert” over racist comments by its creator, we’d all be a lot better off remembering the example that Schulz left behind.

A reflection of himself

The most authentic and believable type of writing is always rooted in some type of personal truth being expressed by the author. And that includes comic strips.

Schulz’s widow, Jean, said that “Peanuts” wasn’t just a fictionalized version of his own childhood, but it was a daily diary for more than 50 years.

He drew because he had to do it,” she said, noting that she only realized long after his death in 2000 how hard he actually worked to bring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang to life each day.

Schulz created a protagonist who was more vulnerable and transparent than anything the funny pages had ever seen.

“Pearls Before Swine” creator Stephan Pastis explained: “This was something saying, ‘Hey, I’m not happy. I wonder if you’re not happy. I’m feeling lonely. I’m feeling anxious. I’m heartbroken.’ ‘Peanuts’ had all of that.”

A force for change

Whereas Scott Adams brought about his comic’s downfall for endorsing segregation, Schulz almost lost his livelihood for opposing it during a tumultuous time in the nation’s history.

In 1968, he introduced the Black character Franklin even though some publishers objected to depicting him in class with the rest of the cast.

He did not back down, not one bit,” asserted Charles M. Schulz Museum curator Benjamin Clark, noting that he told newspapers: “You print it the way I draw it.”

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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