I grew up in a very athletic family (especially my brother) and I spent a lot of times in gyms and swimming pools where I often ran into members of the police force training either before or after the kids’ sessions (I saw them swimming, weight lifting, even playing volleyball). I was stunned at how fit and strong they were, and I remember telling my Dad how proud I was that our policemen could jump high, swim fast, and run fast. My Dad responded, “Well, of course! How do you think they will be able to save you or anyone if they aren’t fast and fit?” I thought that made absolute sense and it made me trust our police force.

Fast forward to 2017, and things ain’t the same anymore. What I see now are overweight out of shape, lazy, and rude policemen and women who I’d probably have to help in a disastrous situation. All they have now is a uniform and a gun, plus a lot of ego and attitude and no desire to help. I may be generalizing here, but on my work commute, I pass a precinct station daily, and I see this all the time. Half the guys seem barely able to make it up the stairs.

The fix: No officer should graduate without a workout program, nutrition education, family history, and a mental evaluation check (this probably happens), as after their graduation, the fact of their uniform and being able to carry a weapon can give them strange powers… and I’ll stop right there. Also, all officers, no matter their ethnicity or rank, should spend at least 6-12 months serving a nonprofit sector such as the arts (music, dance, liberal arts, etc.), education and healthcare, senior centers, or children/junior centers to truly understand their reason for being police officers.

Last but not least, a travel allowance that requires a passport would probably be beneficial, unless they’re working with cartels… Of course, I didn’t say that 😮

After 20 years working in the branding, marketing, and advertising industry, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the question of why brands — legacy, startup, and everything in between — make the same mistakes over and over again. I’ve seen the same mistake in all corners of the world, and it boils down to internal ego issues, C level greed, and financial corruption. At the end of the day, there is an excess of damage control while no one seems to know what their North Star is, all of which causes confusion, frustration, envy, and hatred within the organization. So, where am I going with this? Well, internal ego issues and the covert and overt lack of attention to the brand’s value proposition, promise, and customer service will always lead to a slow death. In some cases, it can take decades but in others, it takes a mere few months. As we all know, you can’t smell your own shit, but others can! In this case, I mean customers and consumers won’t tolerate the smell: by the time you wipe your bottom, everyone has left.

The Fix: Hire a mixture of talents of all ages, from Millennials to Baby Boomers, and create teams that span the age gamut. Hire an ethnically diverse team and refrain from hiring your friends and former colleagues unless you’re 100% sure they can perform their duties in a proper and economic manner, bringing their know-how to the table while leaving their egos and pre-conceived notions behind.

The leadership team needs to understand and respect diversity and be open to new ideas and marketing efforts from both internal and external teams. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but make them as fast and as calculated as possible.

I went to the Met the other day to see the Irving Penn show, “Centennial,” before it closed. As a New Yorker, I know not to go to museums on Sundays unless it’s a “go or miss it” situation! So, my friend and I (who decided to join me at the last minute) braved and survived the mad crowd. Thank god we had pre-purchased tickets that got punched at the visitor’s desk. We raced straight to the southwest wing and were delightfully surprised by the well-curated show and the impressive body of work that Irving and his wife, Lisa, produced.

We walked down Madison Avenue as we discussed the amazing photos. My friend suggested we stop at the Met Breuer, designed by Marcel Breuer, as it’s one of our favorite modern architectural spaces in NYC. Of course, I agreed, and as soon as we arrived, the ceiling in the lobby area caught my attention — ceilings are among my favorite things to admire.

After enjoying the architectural beauty, my friend suggested that we grab a bite and a drink downstairs at the Fiore restaurant, but I was reluctant: the last time I’d eaten there, I’d spent way too much money on awful food and service.
Though he was reluctant as well, he suggested we try it once more. If it sucked, we’d vow never to return. I said okay!! We went downstairs, and to our surprise, the bar and dining area looked completely different. The interior design was refined, with an edge, and it recalled Irving Penn’s design sensibility, which we much appreciated. Now, onto the restaurant experience: after settling in at the bar of the dining section and perusing the menu, we realized this place was no longer called Untitled (which I’ve always thought a strange name for a restaurant), but rather, Fiore.
The bartender attended to our orders immediately, professionally pouring a very dry Grüener from Austria and a bottle of location-made sparkling water (basically, filtered water carbonated in a Soda Stream, which I’m totally fine with rather than shipping gassed water from Europe). Our food came out before we finished our drinks, which, in my books, shows that their staff is professional and coordinated, not waiting until you order a second drink to serve your food. All in all, I’m so pleased that Fiore has replaced Untitled in this amazing Marcel Breuer-designed space. He’d be so pleased!

The fix: Unfortunately, I think that Untitled might have tarnished the location with their bad and inconsistent service, sloppy food, and overrated reviews. It saddens me to think that I almost didn’t experience Fiore’s amazing food and wine. My suggestion is that everyone reading this should go to Fiore and forget about what was there before. Fiore will not disappoint you!

A few years back, a friend and I went on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay to see friends, get a taste of culture, and sample the cuisine. We mostly hung out in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires, in restaurants that locals only visit, sipping fine wines, nibbling on amazing food, and wandering from boutique to boutique finding interesting designer stores, jewelry ateliers, art galleries, and furniture stores. After a 3-day stay in BA, we took the high-speed ferry to Montevideo and spent some time with a friend who showed us around the city. Again, we discovered amazing wine, food, and architecture.

What an amazing trip! Unfortunately, it was tainted by our on-board American Airlines experience. It started with the greeting when we walked to our seats. First, we were “greeted” by elderly air hosts and hostesses who “looked unhealthy and not in the best physical shape.
There were no smiles or welcomes. It felt like walking into an old bar that smelled of urine, puke, and mothballs. Walking to my seat, I looked down and noticed that the floor covering was held together with duct tape! I considered turning around and getting off, but then just closed my eyes and sat. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared — especially knowing I’d be sitting in this flying weasel for 12 hours!

After takeoff, the flight attendant insisted on keeping the seat belt sign on for over 2 hours and didn’t offer us anything to drink — not even water! When dinner finally came, it was basically thrown in our laps without any drinks. When I asked the grumpy attendant if we could have a glass of red wine and a glass of water, she said, “We are out of both.” I asked if she had any white wine, and guess what? They were out of white wine, too! I really had to bite my tongue not to say anything nasty. But when the gentleman seated behind us asked for a glass of red wine, she paused, said, “I’ll be right back,” walked to the kitchen, and returned with a glass of red wine. I rang the bell and asked a different hostess if we could each have a glass of water and a glass of red wine. She went huffing and puffing to the galley and brought us one glass each!

What?!? On a 12 hour flight, you don’t stock the plane with water and drinks? Do you want your passengers to suffer from dehydration at 35,000 feet?! This happened not only on the way to Buenos Aires but also on the trip back to JFK. When we landed in JFK, my friend and I agreed: NO MORE AMERICAN AIRLINES! Sure enough, we haven’t flown this grumpy airline in over 5 years and we never will!!

The Fix: Clean your planes properly and stock them according to flight length. Get rid of any grumpy, old, overweight staff members who have no desire to help anyone on board. Make it mandatory that your staff stay fit so they can help passengers in emergency situations (some of these airline hostesses wouldn’t have fit through the emergency exits by the wing!). Train your staff to be attentive and to regularly walk up and down the aisle to make sure all passengers are comfortable (no matter what class they are seated in). Most of the flight crew sat in the galley, chatting and reading magazines (which I only know because I kept going back there for more water — which magically, suddenly, became available!).

Fantastic concept, brand look, and locations.
My experience at the Tribeca location was great overall, but here is where it broke down:

1. A sign tells visitors to be quiet and keep their voices down, but meanwhile, by the locker rooms, various staff members chatting so loudly that everyone in the entire spa area ecosystem can hear.

2. A spa employee comes to get you from the pool/jacuzzi for your massage, but doesn’t hand you a towel to dry off before leading you into a cold room and telling you to take your robe off and lay down on the massage bed totally soaked What?! I didn’t comply, and I took of my bathing suit in-front of the therapist who got all embarrassed to see my boobs and she literally threw the robe back on me. I find it rather peculiar that a massage therapist is embarrest to see a naked body! The massage itself was o.k. but I lay for an hour freezing cold and my muscles were so tense that I didn’t enjoy a minute of the therapy.

The Fix: Train your staff according to the rules you give to your guests. Tell them to leave their cell phones and their private lives in their locker rooms. Give your customers a dry towel before the massage, heat up the massage room, and give your client another dry robe before entering the massage room. Nothing is worse than a wet massage—except maybe the cold, wet robe you have to put on after the massage!