(big) apple meets banana (republic)

Perhaps not surprising in a city where the top 1% take home 44% of earned income, but still eye-opening – from the NY Times review of Masa:

Take one bite of expertly diced, top-grade fatty bluefin tuna tartare cloaked in an equal measure of osetra caviar and discover a central truth: Masa, owned and operated by the chef Masayoshi Takayama, is one of New York’s peak culinary indulgences.

That bite comes at some cost. Seven years ago, Masa had a base price of $300 a person, excluding tax, tip and upgrades like something to drink. Now it is $450 for the same fandango, an increase of 50 percent. A meal for two at the restaurant can easily run to $1,500 — an amount that is a little more than 35 percent of the Census Bureau’s most recent calculation of the median monthly household income in the United States.

This is for a restaurant that seats 26, in a large space in a building which must surely have some of Manhattan’s highest commercial rents.

As for the rest of the city, a study by the Food Action Research Center of food vulnerability found that roughly one in 6 respondents (15.7%) in the New York City metro area met the following criteria in 2010:

Food hardship is defined as answering ‘yes’ to the question posed by the Gallup organization to hundreds of thousands of people: ‘Have there been times the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?’
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