simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Time Machine
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Monday, 14 January 2008

Time Machine

If you have read the Time Machine by H.G. Wells or seen the movie adaptation, you may recall a recurring part of the story - George watching the change of women's fashion on a mannequin in the window of a dress shop across the street as he travels through time. He finds the whimsy of change and cycles of fashion amusing. Living in NYC is just like this. In the 1980s, we had numerous small indoor roller skating rinks during the height of disco. There was a gelati craze for a brief time with the opening of numerous gelateria. Many of these were beautifully designed and the product in the places I visited was excellent. Yet they have all closed. We also saw Steve's ice cream known for their customized mix-ins - customers enjoyed the theater of the mixing. One of the best ice creams I have had was Custard Beach with locations in the Village and World Financial Center; now closed.
Now we have a frozen yogurt/desert revival with Pinkberry and Red Mango across the street from each other on Bleecker Street and Yolato around the corner.
Pinkberry, based in Los Angeles, was started in 2005 by South Koreans Hyekyung (Shelly) Hwang and partner Young Lee. It is already a roaring success with a cult following and tales of parking conjestion at the original West Hollywood store - read the story here. The product is an upscale, healthy frozen desert in just two flavors (original and green tea) - it is low cal, low sugar and non-fat with a distinct tang. Fresh cut fruit toppings are available.
Pinkberry's interior appears to be part of a trend towards an Asian styled, clinical, futuristic store design. Partner Young Lee has appointed the stores with Philippe Starck furniture and Le Klint plastic hanging lamps from Design Within Reach. I expect to see Teletubbies in the line. There is controversy surrounding Pinkberry and how it closely resembles Red Mango, a Korean frozen yogurt chain with 150 stores. And of course the phenomenon has spawned competitors: BerryLine, Yo Berry, Kiwiberri, Snowberry, Roseberry, Berri Good, Limelite etc. Only a time machine will tell the future of this craze ...


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