An unforgivable act of cultural vandalism

It’s pretty much impossible to overstate how much of an icon the Seagram Building is. Suffice to say that the Times’s then architecture critic, Herbert Muschamp, deemed it in 1999 to be “the millennium’s most important building”. Designed by two giants of 20th Century architecture, Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, its elegance borders on perfection; it is undoubtedly a masterpiece, inside and out.

Ever since the building opened, its grand piano nobile has been home to the Four Seasons restaurant, as much an gem of mid-century Modernism as the building itself. It’s hard to imagine one without the other — except, now, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. The Four Seasons’s owners, Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder, are reportedly “scouting out a new location downtown”, while a new restaurant, with a new name, will open up in the Seagram Building, to be run by an organization named Major Food Group. …

Can companies be paid to borrow money? It’s theoretically possible — but it hasn’t happened yet. And the example of Apple in Switzerland suggests that it’s not likely to happen any time soon.

A couple of weeks ago, I got into a couple of Twitter fights about a meme which was gaining momentum in the econoblogosphere: that Nestlé was “getting paid to borrow money”, in the words of a Washington Post headline.

The source of the meme was the fact that one of Nestlé’s bonds, denominated in euros and maturing in 2016, had briefly traded at a negative yield. Does this mean that Nestlé was being paid to borrow money? No. A company has to pay to borrow money if it ends up paying back more money than it borrowed. …

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