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This guy analyzed a year's worth of texts to his mom — and the results are touching


inside out mom riley

Sometimes a simple breakdown of the words we use, and their frequency, can tell us a lot about our own character, or about our relationship to another. And with the almost-infinite records that seem to be kept on our smartphones and in the cloud, analyzing that has become easier than ever.

Dadaviz's Ian T. Sommers has turned this microscope to his relationship with his mom, analyzing a year's worth of text messages they sent to each other between September 2014 and August 2015. The results highlight both their similarities and differences. 

One of the most touching insights, which made me reevaluate my own texts with my mom, was each of their most-used words. His mom used the word "call" most often, while some of his favorite words were "okay," "yeah," and "sure." Of course this is only the anecdotal experience of one man, with a relatively small sample size of words, but the results still ring true — at least to my experience. 

Read on for his full analysis:


SEE ALSO: These world maps show how the most popular web browsers have battled for dominance since 2008

The farther away he was, the more he texted mom.

They used "love" the most around someone's birthday.

He used the word "sorry" more than "love."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The 7 most beautiful religious buildings in the world right now


Ribbon Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Co. Ltd 04

Every year, the World Architecture Festival creates a shortlist of the most awe-striking buildings on the planet.

From that list, the "building of the year" is determined.  

The 2015 festival features 338 finalists, but we're looking at the seven in the religious category, which is especially noteworthy since last year's big award went to a simple community chapel.  

The festival and awards announcement will take place in November at the luxurious Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore.

From a ribbon-like chapel in Japan to a spectacular outdoor church nestled in the mountains of El Salvador, here are seven sacred spaces that could be 2015's best building of the year. 


SEE ALSO: 15 rare photographs of Iran's stunning palaces, mosques, and baths

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Cardedeu by EMC Arquitectura (Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador)

Light of Life Church by Shinslab Architecture (Gapyeong, South Korea)

Mahabodhi Monastery by Multiply Architects LLP (Lorong Kilat, Singapore)

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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50 Cent once sat in this home — which he can no longer afford — and told Oprah he would never go broke

Here's why you should reuse your hotel towels


Hotel Janitor

Anyone who has stayed at a hotel before is familiar with the small signs in the bathroom that ask hotel guests to consider reusing their towels in an effort to help the environment.

While it's easy to write the signs off and assume that reusing a towel won't make much of a difference in the long run anyway, that assumption is actually wrong.

According to National Geographic, an estimate from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that hotels and lodgings use 15% of the total amount of water that's used by commercial and institutional facilities in the country.

And those facilities take 17% — close to one fifth — of the water that is available from America's public water systems.

Even more surprising is how much of a hotel's water supply is used for laundry. Besides bathrooms — which account for 30% of hotels' water usage — laundry uses up the most amount of water (16%), the EPA reports.

Swimming pools, in comparison, account for less than 1% of hotels' water use.

So yes, reducing the amount of laundry a hotel has to do definitely makes a difference when it comes to reducing our environmental footprint. And if every guest in every hotel keeps their towel for as long as possible, that translates to a lot of water conservation.

Hotel managers agree that reusing towels does have an impact. And according to Michael O'Shaughnessy, manager of the New Hampshire Marriott property Wentworth By The Sea Hotel and Spa, encouraging guests to keep their towels has little to do with cutting costs for the hotel.

"You might save us a little bit of money, but at the end of the day not too much," O'Shaughnessy says. "For us it's more important to be able to give the guest a choice because there are a lot more guests now that are pretty conscious of that nowadays."

Plus, the prospect of using a new towel everyday is just not that exciting when you really think about it. Sure, a fresh towel may smell and feel slightly nicer than an already-used towel, but that's pretty much the only difference.

And if a new towel a day is what you're really looking forward to on your vacation, you may want to reevaluate your priorities to focus a little more on the destination you're visiting.

SEE ALSO: How to get a hotel upgrade

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Business Insider is hiring a paid transportation intern for the fall


flight plane

Business Insider is looking for a paid intern to join our transportation team.

If you love cars, planes, trains, boats, bikes and everything else that moves us around, this is a great opportunity. If companies like Tesla and Google (with its self-driving car) thrill you, then you could make a contribution to the fastest-growing business website online.

There's no fetching coffee during this internship! Instead, there will be plenty of chances to dive into the inner-workings of everyone from General Motors to Ferrari and to do some truly innovative digital journalism, using all the tools at our disposals: charts, graphs, photos, GIFs, video.

The ideal candidate should be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, possess excellent communication skills, and be excited about expanding Business Insider's transportation coverage. A background in journalism is a huge plus, as is an interest in social media.

APPLY HEREwith your resume and cover letter if interested.

Please note that this internship requires that you work in our Manhattan office. The internship term runs for approximately six months, with some flexibility on start and end dates.

SEE ALSO: The 14 Best Tech Companies To Work For

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The 21 best trips for foodies around the world


Bourbon barrelFood is undoubtedly a huge part of any trip.

But for some people, food is the only reason for the trip. 

From a Puerto Rican highway famous for its pork to an Italian forest filled with white truffles, we've found some of the most epic foodie trails and destinations around the world.








SEE ALSO: The 25 best cities for foodies around the world

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Spain's jamón is the stuff of legend — it wasn't even available in the US until 2007. The iconic cured ham, the most expensive ham in the world, is cut from an Iberian pig's hind leg and also known as pata negra, black hoof. According to Spain's food laws, jamón ibérico must be made from black Iberian pigs, though pigs may be crossbred as long as they're at least half ibérico. The ham will then be labeled according to the percentage of the pigs' Iberian heritage. These special pigs live mostly in western and southwestern Spain, and some parts of Portugal, and are in many cases fed a pretty strict diet of acorns to ensure the best flavor. This jamón is the primary export of the Andalusian village of Jabugo (its main square is even called La plaza del Jamón), and is said to be be the world's best, making Jabugo the Holy Grail of ham.

La Ruta del Lechón in Puerto Rico is literally a highway lined with strip mall-like shacks. While not exactly scenic, it just might be hog heaven. Pork Highway, as it's known, is a stretch of road around 45 minutes from San Juan, packed with lechoneras selling the island's unofficial national dish: Lechón asado, crispy skinned, spit-roasted whole suckling pig. Nowhere does it better than Route 184 to Guavate, in the Sierra de Cayey mountains, where you can essentially pick the exact piece you want simply by pointing at the roasting pork. Eaten with other local dishes like arroz, pasteles, and morcilla, and to the tunes of local bands, eating here is as much a culinary experience as it is a cultural one.

Tokyo's Tsukiji market just might be world's most famous fish market. It's certainly the world's busiest, as around 2,000 tons of fish change hands here daily. It's worth a trip simply to see enormous fish thrown around like footballs, as well as the famous 5am tuna trade. Afterwards, grab a bite to eat at the onsite market, which has hundreds of food stalls and restaurants. For a sushi-for-breakfast adventure, visit Sushi Dai, which is right near the market and thus serves some of the freshest rolls in town. Or, you could head to Sukiyabashi Jiro, the three Michelin-starred sushi joint of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame, said to be one of the best sushi restaurants in the world.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Hugh Hefner's son reveals what it was like growing up in the Playboy Mansion


While most people associate the Playboy Mansion with scantily clad playmates and sex-fueled debauchery, it served as the childhood home for Hugh Hefner's sons. 

Now 23, Hefner's youngest son, Cooper, recounts his childhood spent in what many consider to be a sort of adult fantasyland. For Cooper, it was quite the opposite: a child's wonderland fueled by Indiana Jones-inspired adventures in the Grotto, a zoo full of exotic animals, and epic games of hide-and-seek played in the mansion's private forest of redwood trees.

Cooper shared his experiences growing up inside the mansion, and invited Business Insider along on a private tour of the grounds.

Produced by Graham Flanagan. Additional Camera by Ryan Larkin.

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8-year-olds perfectly describe the dangerous ways fashion ads depict women


Kids reacting to fashion

Yolanda Dominguez is a visual artist from Madrid, Spain, who focuses on creating social situations and inviting viewers to be part of it.

Dominguez's work aims to bring more awareness to social issues, particularly with regard to women's rights and inequality. 

Her most recent project exposes the vastly different ways that men and women are portrayed in high fashion photography. 

The images she chose for the project show female models in their typical high fashion scenarios, and male models in theirs. As you'll notice, the difference is drastic. 

Instead asking adults to respond to the photos, she recorded a group of 8-year-olds reacting to images from Prada, Louis Vuitton, and other fashion powerhouses.

Keep scrolling for their blunt but astute commentary. 

SEE ALSO: Men are facing a huge double standard in the fashion industry

The premise of Dominguez's experiment is simple: children are shown a fashion editorial image and asked to describe what they see. This woman struck them as "scared," "poor," "drunk," "in need of a first aid kit," or "sick." Said one child, "I'd ask my mom how we could help her so she could be in a shelter for a while and not out in the streets."

These two boys said they'd try and help the Vogue magazine models pictured get to a doctor.

Here's how two girls described the inset photo here: the woman on the right has been crying; all of them have been fighting; and the woman on the bottom left has passed out.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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14 photos that show the full and awesome scope of Instagram's new feature


Instagram New Feature

Instagram just announced a new, long awaited feature that is definitely worth Instagramming about.

The popular app for photography is now allowing users to post full horizontal and vertical images. Previously, only square-formatted images were permitted. This game-changing update has several of the app's talented photographers already posting big, bold, and beautiful images.

Keep scrolling to see some of our favorite finds.

SEE ALSO: A Tibetan monk is communicating with the world through his stunning Instagram feed

So excited about the new feature on @instagram. I'm now able to share the full image without missing the Autoras!

A photo posted by Daniel Taipale (@dansmoe) on

A fantastic update means we can now post portrait & landscape! @instagram You little beauties! Here's a latergram from Kerala that didn't really work as a square.

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀MATT PIKE (@mattpike) on

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Here's why adults — including actor Daniel Craig — are buying this children's drink like never before


daniel craigUnlike his onscreen alter ego, James Bond, Daniel Craig doesn't always order his vodka martini "shaken, not stirred."

But when he does choose to drink, he definitely has a go-to hangover cure.

In a recent interview with DuJour, Craig shared the trick he uses to help him back to set after a night of drinking: Pedialyte.

"If you wake up in the morning and you’ve got one of those on standby and you down the whole lot ... you can carry on drinking," Craig said in the interview.

He isn’t the first grown-up to be turning to the children’s drink for hangover help.

According to a report on Marketplace.org, adult consumption of Pedialyte has grown by 57% since 2012. 

"Today we know that more than a third of our sales actually come from that adult use," Michelle Zendah, a spokeswoman for Pedialyte manufacturer Abbott Laboratories, said to Marketplace.org

Craig said that he's been told that fellow actor Mark Wahlberg "swears by" the stuff. 

Pedialyte even has a powdered version of its solution that makes it that much easier to just pour, stir, and drink.

The company has run ads that allude to its use as a hangover cure, with images of adults who can barely make it to the fridge to cure their groggy blues.

pedialyte hangover cureMen’s Health magazine has said that electrolyte beverages like Pedialyte and Gatorade don't relieve hangovers any better than water does.

SEE ALSO: I tried a service that promises to fix your hangover with an IV drip — here's what it was like

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The Bernie Madoff movie is getting closer to happening


Robert De Niro Bernie Madoff

HBO Films has found a cast and director for its movie about Bernie Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme, according to Deadline's Nellie Andreeva.  

"Wizard of Lies," which has been in development since 2011, will star Robert DeNiro as Bernie Madoff and Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife, Ruth Madoff.

Alessandro Nivola will play the role of Mark Madoff, Bernie's eldest son. 

Barry Levinson has been tapped to direct the film.

Bernie Madoff is currently serving the sixth year of his 150-year sentence.

The casting news follows the release of a trailer for hedge Fund drama, "Billions" which is co-written by Brian Koppelman, David Levien, and CNBC Squawk Box's Andrew Ross Sorkin. The series debuts January 17, 2016.

ABC has also fast tracked a miniseries called "Madoff," featuring Blythe Danner and Richard Dreyfuss as Ruth and Bernie Madoff. A release is expected early 2016.

Read the full Deadline article here.


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Eye-opening photos show how New Orleans is still struggling 10 years after the costliest natural disaster in US history



Saturday will mark the 10th anniversary of one of the worst natural disasters in American history.

On August 29, 2005, Katrina made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, devastating towns along its path, but particularly crippling New Orleans.

A decade later, the "Crescent City" has made some extraordinary comebacks, though some parts are still feeling the effects of a botched emergency response.

Here's what the city looks like now: a mix of new levees and abandoned houses along a retreating coastline.

CHECK OUT: A photographer returned to New Orleans a decade after Hurricane Katrina to see what's changed

RELATED: Devastating photos of California show how bad the drought really is

New Orleans sits at an average between 1-2 feet below sea level next to marsh wetlands like the one pictured here. When Katrina blew through, this put the city's water removal system to the test.

New Orleans is protected by a series of flood walls and levees — structures that have for centuries been able to keep the city from going underwater. But Katrina was too much for the under-maintained levees, and they quickly broke from the force of incoming water, destroying houses like this one in the city's Lower Ninth Ward.

At its worst, about 80% of New Orleans, seen here from an aerial view, was submerged in water that had breached the levees.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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A startup launches next month that delivers grilled cheese straight to your door — and I got to try every flavor concoction


cheese posties

Cheese Posties is a London-based startup that claims to be the "world's first grilled cheese subscription." The company offers dozens of different combinations of gourmet cheese toasties — like mascarpone and biscuit butter, Gruyere and caramelized onion, and goat cheese and pesto — to chomp on each week.

For £3.99 (around $6) a pop, Cheese Posties sends all the cheese, bread, condiments, and other ingredients to your door in a package that snugly fits through the letterbox. Inside each package is a surprise toastie — based on preferences you type in at your registration (whether you have any allergies, or prefer sweet to savory, for example.)

All you need to do when your delivery arrives is butter the bread, pop your creation into the provided toastie bag, and then cook it in your toaster.

Cheese Posties' Kickstarter campaign was supported by 308 backers, raising £3,809 ($5,862) — way over the company's original £2,000 ($3,077) crowdfunding target.

Cofounders Dave Rotheroe and Danny Jennings plan to send out the first Cheese Posties from their factory in Essex to customers anywhere in the UK next month. But before they could get the show on the road, they needed to test their cheesy concoctions out with volunteers.

I valiantly stepped forward to give them a hand.

SEE ALSO: ManServants lets you rent a man for $125 an hour to wait on you hand and foot — here's what it's like to use

The brains behind Cheese Posties are Brits Danny Jennings, left, and Dave Rotheroe. Jennings has a background in logistics, while Rotheroe was an IT contractor who left his day job earlier this year to form another subscription food company.

Rotheroe launched "Lick My Dip," a subscription hot-sauce startup back in March. It's a similar deal to Cheese Posties: For £12.49 ($19) a month, the company delivers a box of spicy treats, such as pepper sauces, rubs, and piri piri biltong.

While the idea of delivery snack boxes and cook-at-home meal boxes is nothing new, sending grilled cheese is a surprisingly difficult logistical feat. Jennings says: "It's easier to coordinate the movement of oil rigs around the world than it is to master sending a cheese sandwich in the post."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Take a tour of a villa where Beyonce and Jay Z have vacationed, which you can buy for $19.5 million


Casa de Campo estate

Nestled in an exclusive enclave on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, this 35,000-square-foot estate with a history of celebrity guests has hit the market for $19.5 million.

According to realtors at Casa de Campo Real Estate, the seven-bedroom villa's guest list has included everyone from Drake and the Kardashians to regular Dominican Republic visitors Beyonce and Jay Z.

The villa offers stunning Caribbean views, rooms that overlook reflecting pools, and even a private beach. 

SEE ALSO: Take a tour of Cristiano Ronaldo's $18.5 million apartment in Trump Tower

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The stunning villa sits near the bay, where the waters are consistently calm and peaceful enough for swimming.

Views of the Caribbean Sea can be seen from nearly every angle of the property, including its open-air salon.

With 20-foot ceilings made of tropical coral, the salon offers a light and airy space for relaxation.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The 12 most beautifully designed hotels in the world


Yacht Club de Monaco by Foster + Partners

Each year, the World Architecture Festival honors the most beautifully designed buildings around the globe. 

This year's 338 nominees include designs in a number of categories, including Hotel and Leisure. 

The hotels under consideration are all incredibly unique, from an African safari lodge that resembles a luxurious wigwam to a Turkish resort and spa with stunning waterfront rooms.

The winner of 2015's Building of the Year award will be announced at the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore in November. 

Keep scrolling to check out the nominated hotels while you daydream about your next vacation.

SEE ALSO: 27 of the coolest new buildings on the planet

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Edison Residence by KANVA (Montreal, Canada)

G Kelawai Hotel by K2LD Architects Pte. Ltd. and Architect T.Y. Au (Penang, Malaysia)

Lanserhof Lake Tegern by Ingenhoven Architects (Marienstein, Germany)

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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There's an underground grotto in the UK that's covered with millions of seashells — and no one knows who made it


The Shell Grotto, located in Margate, Kent, in the UK, is a stunning underground grotto elaborately decorated with 4.6 million seashells.

Shell grotto wallOnce you enter the subterranean world, you’ll be able to wander through 70 feet of winding passages that lead to a large rectangular chamber while gazing at the breathtaking mosaics of shells that line the walls.

Shell Grotto tunnelsDiscovered more than 200 years ago, the Shell Grotto is surrounded in mystery as no one knows who made it or why it was built.

Shell Grotto blue wallsThe legend goes that in 1835, a man named James Newlove happened to be digging with his son when a hole appeared. He lowered his son into the hole and when the boy emerged, he spoke of the elaborate tunnels.

Shell Grotto detailA number of stories are told regarding its origin, with some saying it was once an ancient temple and others believing it was a secret meeting place for private sects.Shell Grotto ceilingThe Grotto officially opened its doors to the public in 1838, with hundreds coming to the site to marvel at a location that had never been marked on any map, had never been discussed in tales, and had no sign of construction around the town.

Shell Grotto shell detailsThe Shell Grotto is open to the public daily until November, and during weekends in the winter (Nov. to Feb.).  Tickets cost about $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for children.

SEE ALSO: Eerie photos of the Australian mining town where thousands of people live underground

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How much it costs for a single person to live in 24 major US cities


new york city

Even if you're living on your own, expenses can add up — especially in a big city.

Single people residing in the New York City metro area, for example, might want to allocate $3,627 for monthly expenses, which amounts to over $40,000 a year.

That's according to the Economic Policy Institute's (EPI) 2015 Family Budget Calculator, which measures the annual cost of necessities for one adult to live a secure, yet modest, lifestyle by estimating the costs of housing, food, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes.

(Read the EPI's full methodology for the budget calculator.)

The EPI gathered data in 618 metro areas throughout the the US for several different family types. Here, we've highlighted the cost of living for a single person (one adult, zero children) in 24 major US cities.

Consider these monthly and annual costs if you're looking to start a city life, and remember, these estimates do not include savings or discretionary spending: 

BI_Graphics_Cost of single person in 24 cities

SEE ALSO: Here's how much it costs for a family to live in 20 major US cities

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NYC power dining has been transformed, and an ex-Merrill Lynch exec is the mastermind



There are two eras in modern New York City dining and nightlife — BC (before crisis), and AC (after crisis).

The "crisis," naturally, refers to the financial crisis. The one that sucked money and life from the city just as it did the entire world.

Before the crisis, Wall Street enjoyed itself brashly and boldly, unapologetically spending more on a bottle of liquor than a layman might spend on a month's rent. This was normal. So were lavish dinners at loud restaurants with 20-foot Buddha statues in the center. It was all normal.

But now it's not.

In the after-crisis era, Wall Street has become more conscious of how it is viewed by the outside world. After-crisis era dinners are quieter. There is less flash, less performance, less bottle service, and less everything.

That isn't to say that Wall Street no longer entertains luxuriously. It's just that the type of luxury has changed.

In the era of relative understatement, one group of restaurants coowned by a celebrity chef and former master of the universe has become to go-to for Wall Street's elite: Altamarea Group.

On any given day for lunch or dinner at Altamarea's flagship Italian restaurant on Central Park South, Marea, hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb will entertain guests in the private room.

Pershing Square's Bill Ackman will avoid billionaire frenemy Carl Icahn of Icahn Associates. Film- and music-industry mogul David Geffen will have his corner table.

There will be deal closings, and client meetings, and birthday celebrations. There will be Goldman Sachs' COO Gary Cohn and CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

None of it will appear in the New York Post's gossip column.

This arrangement was put together, in part, by a man who walked away from Wall Street just before it was brought to its knees.

Ahmass Fakahany was the president of Merrill Lynch until February 2007, just before the world was about to implode. He, along with chef Michael White, own all of Altamarea Group — a rare situation in an industry where dozens of investors can own slivers of this place and that.

They started it right when everything was burning down too. Marea opened in 2009.

"I thought, you do something clean and honest and not too pretentious, and it will work," Fakahany told Business Insider over lunch at another Altamarea property, Ai Fiori in the Langham Hotel.

It was, he said, "a gut-wrenching" gamble.

"It was a bet on New Yorkers."

Ante Up

ahmas fakahanyThis fall, Fakahany and White will take on their biggest bet yet.

They're opening their biggest restaurant yet, Vaucluse, on Friday, August 28, to friends and family. It's in the Upper East Side space once occupied by Park Avenue Summer (or Winter, or Fall, or Spring). The hard open is on Wednesday, September 2.

It is the first opening of New York City's busy fall restaurant-opening season, and it has set the city's restaurant scene abuzz.

Here's why: If you've never heard of Park Avenue, you should know that it was largely dependent on excellent theater.

Every season the menu, interior, and exterior of what came to be something of an iconic restaurant would change. It was an expensive, high-drama concept from a bygone (BC) era.

What Fakahany and White are creating in the space promises to be something very different. It that reflects New York's after-crisis period of elegant, simple dining with special attention on each and every client.

Before crisis

Ahmass Fakahany was born in Egypt, raised in London and Switzerland, and worked at Merrill Lynch offices all over the world. Throughout that time, though, he always wanted to be in the hospitality business. He never shook that.

Fakahany was the man who started the Merrill Lynch wine collection. He was the one who set the standard for entertaining, dining, and drinking at the bank's board meetings and client dinners. This is an important role. On Wall Street, cues about everything — dressing, dining, and even speaking — are given from on high.

chef michael whiteFakahany met his soon-to-be business partner Chef Michael White over a decade ago at Fiamma, a Soho restaurant inside a three-story townhouse that is now occupied by Altamarea's steakhouse, Costata.

During the BC era, Wall Street banks and hedge funds would entertain clients in the private room on the third floor. It is there that Fakahany realized Michael White was the kind of man he wanted to go into business with.

"He is a business junkie. He just wanted to know about the markets," Fakahany said of White.

So when White said he wanted to start a restaurant in New Jersey, and that he had collected a group of investors to make his dream a reality, Fakahany said he would contribute on the condition that White return the money he had raised. Fakahany didn't want partners.

And, after a while, he didn't want to be a master of the universe either.

"You're never bored on Wall Street, but when you make it to the very top you become everyone's therapist," Fakahany said.

During the tumultuous time before the crisis, Fakahany was known for being a sounding board — the kind of person who got along with everyone. He had always been a mentor to junior bankers, and what was about to happen to Wall Street was enough to make everyone feel small.

So he left.

steakc ostata

Ahmass' Army

Altamarea Group now includes 16 restaurants across the world. Some are high end like Costata, the sumptuous steakhouse in the heart of one of New York City's most glamorous neighborhoods. Others are casual, like Niccoletta, a spot for jeans and pizza and a mid-priced glass of red wine.

For the most part, the people who make up Altamarea Group are young. Arthur Li, the group's CFO, is a recovering Wall Streeter in his early 30s. He was at JPMorgan when it bought Bear Sterns.

"It was just bloodshed everywhere," he said.

Then he took a job at private equity firm Wasserstein & Co. None of it ever made him totally happy. So in 2011 he took a 70% pay cut to join Altamarea a year after reading a story about the group.

It was Fakahany's journey into the hospitality business that caught his eye.

"My struggle before I read the article was that no one would understand why I would leave my cushy private equity job for a small restaurant group.

"I thought: 'This guy is just like me.'"

It's likely that Fakahany thought the same thing. After Li submitted his résumé and cover letter, Fakahany called him personally. After several interview rounds Li got the job in the fall of 2010, but Fakahany wouldn't let him take it until he got his bonus from Wasserstein.

Fakahany was, after all, about to start Li as a bookkeeper at Ristoranti Morini in downtown Manhattan.

"I was making less than I made when I graduated from college," Li said.

fusilli octopus marea

But it was worth it. What Fakahany promised Li — and what he promises his young staff in general — is that Altamarea will be run like an organized, professional business.

Staff are given performance bonuses, reports are turned in to Wells Fargo — the group's sole bank — clean and on time. This is rare in the restaurant industry, where egos are big and budgeting is sometimes an afterthought.

"The James Gorman's, Jamie Dimon's ... he's like all these titans in finance," Li said of Fakahany, "but he's so entrepreneurial and laid back."

Fakahany emphasizes what he calls the "back of house" — the number crunchers and model makers who precisely calculate the cost of every luxury his restaurants may have.

If that sounds Wall Street, it's because it is. Recession be damned. Altamarea has grown its annual revenue from $3 million to over $50 million since 2008.

Li is proud that his boss may ask him: "How do we maximize our valuation?"

He's proud of how well Altamarea took advantage of the bottoming out of New York's real estate during the crisis.

And if you talk to him, he still sounds a bit like a Wall Streeter.

"We like animals," Li said of himself and Fakahany. "We like people who are relentless, but into the vision."

The vision

It was Fakahany and White's vision that drew Wall Street to Marea quickly after its opening. Early diners included investors and bankers like Lyor Cohen, Noam Gottesman, and David Solomon. They went for three things — killer Italian food, excellent service, and discretion.

"Keeping ahead of scandals is very important," said Rocky Cirino, a managing director at Altamarea Group (more Wall Street lingo). That title means he is a manager of managers, and he's been with Altamarea since 2008.

marea interior

Cirino is perfectly suited for the Altamarea vision. He is well read and hard to read. He describes himself as a politician in a different kind of blood sport. The perfect man to keep a secret or deftly and quietly de-escalate a scene.

Clients having sex in the bathroom — he has seen it. Smoking marijuana — he has seen it. A Marea client somehow producing a dildo and throwing it across a room. He has seen that too.

"They can disrespect me, but it's really about how they treat my staff," said Cirino.

And of course, the kind of ruckus they make in the dining room matters too.

We had to ask if the dildo-thrower was asked to leave Marea.

"No," Cirino said. "They were in a private room."

Their biggest joint yet

Vaucluse is a bit of a deviation from the norm. It is the remodel of an iconic NYC restaurant house in the biggest space Altamarea has taken on yet.

Li admits that he's feeling the pressure. Instead of White's famous Italian fare, the menu is French. Wall Street regulars are waiting expectantly.

“Well, he’s certainly mastered Italian, so I’m anxious to see what Michael can do with French cuisine," said Jim Chanos, founder of short-biased hedge fund Kynikos Associates.

"Besides, it’s on the Upper East Side, where I live, so I’m guessing there will be an ‘Early-Bird Special.’"

Chanos is 57.

He has known White since the Fiamma days. He was another one of the guys having dinner on the third floor.

Those less familiar with White and Altamarea Group have high expectations as well. The Vaucluse space is very different from its previous iteration. The colors are simpler, and the space seems more open. Neighborhood residents have already started poking their heads in to see what changes have been made.

burger"I think people are going to be shocked when they walk in," said Jonna Gerlich, head of client events at Altamarea.

"They're going to be looking for things that aren't there."

On Wednesday an elderly couple, casually but elegantly dressed, opened the Vaucluse door and stepped in to check out the menu. There they found Cirino, overseeing the finishing touches on the interior and preparing for a private dinner that evening.

"I'm in the neighborhood," said the woman.

Her name was Helen, and she said Park Avenue had been tired and that it was time for a change. She liked the color scheme and assured Cirino that Vaucluse would be excellent as her fedora-wearing husband exchanged his sunglasses for reading glasses to check out the menu.

"We hope to be excellent," Cirino responded.

He had to be understated about it. Very on vision.

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This artist takes regular pencils and turns them into $450 works of art


Russian artist Salavat Fidai works with a medium so small, he has to use a magnifying glass.

He uses a craft knife to carve incredibly detailed sculptures onto the lead tips of pencils, and the results are stunning. 

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

Fidai can carve pretty much anything, from pop culture figures like Darth Vader and Bart Simpson to iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben.

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

The artist, who is originally from Ufa, Russia, has worked with miniatures before. In addition to his awe-inspiring pencil carvings, Fidai has painted on sunflower seeds and matchboxes.

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

Fidai's work has earned him more than 122,000 followers on Instagram.

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

Each pencil design can take anywhere from six to 12 hours, with the most detailed ones taking up to two days, according to the Telegraph

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

Fidai's pencils are up for sale on Etsy. They range from around $120 to $450, depending on their detail. 

A photo posted by Salavat Fidai (@salavat.fidai) on

For a peek into how Fidai makes the amazing sculptures, check out the video below. 


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How to say cheers and toast properly in 10 different countries


Beer mugs cheersDrinking rules are far from universal.

How a group of Hungarians enjoys a beer is completely different from how people in China knock one back.

Break the rules, and you may come off as disrespectful or even curse yourself with seven years of bad sex, according to a myth that's surprisingly common in more than one country.

Where you drink determines who pours the alcohol, how high you fill the glass, how you toast, and even who buys the next round.

We broke down the rules in 10 different countries so you can drink like a native no matter where you roam.


Every table has a tamada, or "toastmaster" who is responsible for making a toast and generally keeping everyone entertained. If you're drinking beer, fill everyone's glass with the same bottle. The next round is on whoever gets the last drop.

What to say: Կէնաձդ (gen-ots-it)


When going to say "cheers," make and maintain eye contact. Break your gaze and suffer the repercussions: seven years of bad sex. Ensure you clink glasses with each of your companions.

What to say: Prost (prohst) for beer, Zum wohl (sum vohl) for anything else


The same rule applies here — maintain eye contact. When pouring your drink, make sure you don't pass the halfway mark. And remember to sip, not chug.

What to say: A votre santé (ah vot-ruh sahn-tay)

Toasting with wine

Czech Republic

The Czechs never cross their arms while doing a toast. Failure to abide by the rules once again puts your love life at risk.

What to say: Na zdraví (naz-drah vi)


If you're buying for yourself, you're buying for everyone else. But don't worry — everyone will chip in a round by the end of the night.

What to say: Sláinte (slawn-cha)


Unless you want to be considered offensive, don't clink your glass during a toast. The rule is supposedly linked to the 1849 executions of Hungary’s 13 Martyrs of Arad. Legend has it a group of Austrian generals celebrated by clinking their beer glasses as the Hungarian revolutionaries perished.

What to say: Egészségedre (egg-esh ay-ged-reh)

cheers with wine glasses


It's customary to make a toast before each round of drinks. Once you pick up your glass, you can't put it down until it's drained of alcohol. Drink up.

What to say: Будем здоровы (boo-dem zdo-ro-vee-eh)


Unlike drinkers in France, the Chinese fill their glasses to the brim. As you go to say "cheers," be careful not to raise your glass above the one belonging to your host or elders. To do so would be considered a sign of disrespect.

What to say: 干杯 (gan-bay)


You'll never pour your own drink, and it may make you feel like a boss. You're still in charge of pouring drinks for all of your surrounding drinking buddies.

What to say: 乾杯 (kan-pie)


Koreans also don't pour their own drinks, and it's important to note how they pour and receive their drinks. The server should pour the bottle with two hands, and the receiver holds their own glass with both of their hands.

What to say: 건배 (gun-bay)

SEE ALSO: 30 iconic American hotel bars everyone should have a drink at

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