A Mission Statement is defined as “a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual”. Any company, organization or individual worth their weight in shit has a Mission Statement. It’s often a good indicator of the direction and professionalism of an organization. Take a look at Warby Parker’s: To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses. Isn’t that nice? I’d definitely give Warby Parker my business. In fact, the bespectacled goblin who’s typing these words is seeing the world through a pair of Warby Parker frames. Another satisfied customer.
As someone who is almost entirely rudderless, I admire an organization with the plums to make a formal proclamation of values and direction. The problem with these grand statements is that they often over promise and under deliver. Warby Parker fancies itself as a “socially-conscious” business, but pays full-time workers in NYC minimum wage. Their “revolutionary prices” are a product of poor labor standards, not of their good-hearted corporate values, and their frames are made from deliberately undisclosed Chinese factories. What you’re left with is just another feel-good company that doesn’t live up to the standard it sets for itself.
Even with this, I’m a loyal customer because the competition is worse. Luxotica, the Italian cartel that owns huge brands like Ray-Ban and LensCrafters, controls 80% of the eyewear market and is more focused on resource extraction than anything resembling customer service, though they do have objectively better frames, albeit at a MUCH higher price.
Warby offers something safe and familiar, though ultimately unfulfilling. LensCrafters sits in Newport mall nestled between the Sprint store and a Cheesecake Factory like one of many hyper-capitalist Alien eggs waiting to projectile inseminate my subconscious with consumption motives. In this consumerist Prisoner’s Dilemma, Warby is the best worst option and my own silent protest.
This lighthearted parable is a summation of how I feel about the current state of culinary offerings in Jersey City. I shouldn’t have to choose between Warby Parker and LensCrafters – I should have more options. If 61% of humans wear prescription lenses at some point in their life, the consumer should have more leverage and flex its influence on the market.
Jersey City craves quality food and drink, and even though we are a
huge sizable market we don’t leverage that by setting some type of standard of quality. We shouldn’t have to settle for another red sauce joint. No more fucking Edison bulbs. No more speakeasy’s. But, we’re so thirsty for good culinary experiences that we deep-throat any new restaurant serving the same tired food, with the same tired concept, or criminally over-pay for average food. That’s how South House gets away with serving the slop they call “dinner” and how HookedJC can charge $15 for Porgy, arguably one of the cheapest fish in the ocean.
Propagating this sub-par culture is a lack of real-talk about the food and drink served in this city. Overly glowing advertorials of hot trash masquerading as restaurant reviews. Novelty dishes shilled like a duplicative drug a pharma rep hawks for kick backs. Speculative real estate blogs who abstractly reference restaurants as some way to diversify their investments. Or worse, Yelp.
But Yelp is dead, anything involving real estate turns the stomach of most, if not all renters in JC, and I’ll go to my deathbed squatting on the take that not one person actually enjoys ChicPea. What I’d like to bring to the table is an aggressively inarticulate series of reviews and opinions that give an honest look at what we’re being served, without the subterfuge of sponsored content.
Here’s what you can expect
Grammatically Inconsistent Prose. I’ll use an oxford comma, then not use an oxford comma, then use a hyphen. If you have an opinion on this and don’t teach English Comp to at-risk youth, you’re a fucking boner.
Foul Language. fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck
Very Strong Opinions. The “cons” will be long and plentiful.
Chilltown. I’ll never use these two words in succession.
Hypocritical Opinions. If nothing else, I am an unreliable narrator. You should be prepared for this. I believe what I’m saying right now, but will vacillate frequently. While that may seem disingenuous, I think its a positive. I’m not going to be married to a bad opinion. I want to be convinced to think something different. Everyone gets a second, third, or tenth chance.
Low Quality Pictures. I’m not Ansel fucking Adams. I don’t know what to tell you.
Great Recommendations. If I say its good, its probably really good.
I created Nice Things because I want us to have nice things. So if all this sounds good to you, share it with your friends. If it doesn’t then go read something else. I’m not great at self-promotion, so the fact that this is the literary equivalent of shouting into a dark room is not lost on me. Spread the word.