44 Amazing NYC Places That Actually Still Exist

A lot of classic New York City spots might be disappearing, but you can still go to these distinctive shops, bars, and restaurants. For now, anyway.

1. Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston St. (East Village)

Russ & Daughters, a family-operated “appetizing store” focused on selling traditional Jewish fish and dairy products, has been a fixture of the Lower East Side since 1914. It’s one of the only existing stores in the entire country dedicated to appetizing.

2. Eddie’s Sweet Shop, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave. #1 (Forest Hills)

Eddie's Sweet Shop, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave. #1 (Forest Hills)

Eddie’s Sweet Shop is an old school ice cream parlor and soda fountain that has served the neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, for over a century. It’s not too hard to find ice cream shops that aspire to capturing the vibe of an old-timey soda fountain, but this is the real deal.

3. Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village)

Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village)

Strand may be the single most beloved and iconic used book store in the entire city, and has been a destination for bibliophiles around the world for nearly a century. The store contains a staggering amount of books and truly lives up to its hype.

4. Di Fara Pizza, 1424 Avenue J (Midwood)

Di Fara Pizza, 1424 Avenue J (Midwood)

Di Fara has been around since the mid-’60s but made the shift from local treasure to a destination spot for world class pizza sometime in the past decade or so. The pizza is so good that people are willing to travel from all over the city and wait for up to three hours to get a pie handcrafted by restaurant founder and pizza auteur Dom DeMarco.

5. Generation Records, 210 Thompson St. (Greenwich Village)

Generation Records, 210 Thompson St. (Greenwich Village)

Greenwich Village was once a major destination for record collectors, but this large punk and metal-centric shop is one of the few stores that’s managed to stay open over the years.

6. St. Mark’s Comics, 11 St. Mark’s Place (East Village)

St. Mark's Comics, 11 St. Mark's Place (East Village)

St. Mark’s Place has been heavily gentrified over the past 20 years, but this stalwart comics shop has stuck around despite so many seedy punk and counterculture shops getting replaced with chains like Chipotle and Supercuts. (And yes, this is the comic book store from that one episode of Sex and the City.)

7. Caffe Reggio, 119 Macdougal St. (Greenwich Village)

Caffe Reggio, 119 Macdougal St. (Greenwich Village)

Caffe Reggio has a crucial role in the development of coffee culture in the United States — it was the first establishment to sell cappuccino in America back in the 1920s. The cafe still has its original espresso machine, which dates back to 1902, and was purchased by founder Domenico Parisi when he opened the place in 1927.

8. Old Town Bar on 45 East 18th St. (Flatiron)

Old Town Bar on 45 East 18th St. (Flatiron)

Old Town has been open continuously since 1892, and made it through the Prohibition era as a speakeasy under the protection of Tammany Hall. The interior of the two-level bar has barely changed over the years, and you can feel as though you’ve traveled back in time just by stepping through the door.

9. The Lemon Ice King of Corona, 52-02 108th St. (Corona)

The Lemon Ice King of Corona, 52-02 108th St. (Corona)

Unlike a majority of Italian ice spots in the city, this family-operated shop in Queens has been making its ices from scratch with actual fruit for over 60 years.

10. Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop, 727 Manhattan Ave. (Greenpoint)

Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop, 727 Manhattan Ave. (Greenpoint)

This 62-year-old bakery in the Polish enclave turned hipster mecca of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is widely acclaimed as the best doughnut shop in the entire city. The doughnuts, which are mostly served while they are still warm from the fryer, are just as traditional and unfussy as the bakery itself.

11. Jackson Diner, 37-47 74th St. (Jackson Heights)

Jackson Diner, 37-47 74th St. (Jackson Heights)

The name “Jackson Diner” is rather generic, and obscures the fact that this restaurant has been serving what is widely considered the most authentic Indian food in New York City since the early ‘80s.

12. Julius’, 59 West 10th St. (Greenwich Village)

Julius', 59 West 10th St. (Greenwich Village)

The history of the building housing Julius’ goes back to 1826 and it’s been a bar since 1864, but it’s best known as the city’s oldest continuously operating gay bar. The bar began attracting a gay clientele in the 1950s, and became well known as a gay bar in the late ’60s.

13. Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 East 3rd St. (Alphabet City)

Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 East 3rd St. (Alphabet City)

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe has been a fixture of the Lower East Side arts scene for four decades. The venue has consistently been an incubator for writers, actors, artists, filmmakers, and musicians from diverse backgrounds, and was instrumental in popularizing competitive performance poetry.

14. Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave. (Astoria)

Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave. (Astoria)

A lot of snobs who will proudly tell you that they never go to Queens will make an exception for visiting Bohemian Hall, the city’s first and best German-style beer garden. If you can get in early and take over one of the tables in the backyard in the summer, you will be in for some top quality day drinking.

15. Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 East Houston St. (Lower East Side)

Katz's Delicatessen, 205 East Houston St. (Lower East Side)

Katz’s is beloved by locals and tourists alike for its authentic and world class pastrami, corned beef, and hot dogs. The delicatessen dates back to 1888, and has been using the same ticketed billing system since its early days.

16. Sunny’s Bar, 253 Conover St. (Red Hook)

Sunny's Bar, 253 Conover St. (Red Hook)

Sunny’s started off as a dive bar for longshoremen working on the Brooklyn waterfront in the 1890s, and still exists as a charmingly old school bar and music venue despite getting hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

17. B&H, 420 9th Ave. (Midtown)

B&H, 420 9th Ave. (Midtown)

B&H specializes in selling electronics and equipment to photo and video professionals. In addition to being the best independent store of its kind, the shop is notable for its elaborate system of conveyor belts that runs along the ceiling. The store is owned and primarily operated by observant Hasidic Jews, so it’s always closed on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

18. Other Music, 15 East 4th St. (East Village)

Other Music, 15 East 4th St. (East Village)

Other Music is significantly younger than most everything else in this post — it opened in the mid-’90s — but it’s a major institution of New York City music culture, and it’s been one of the most influential record shops in the world for two decades.

19. Lee’s Tavern, 60 Hancock St. (Staten Island)

Lee's Tavern, 60 Hancock St. (Staten Island)

This neighborhood bar has been a major social hub in Staten Island since 1969, and is famous for its “bar pizza,” an extremely thin and crispy variant of classic New York pizza.

20. Zabar’s, 2245 North Broadway (Upper West Side)

Zabar's, 2245 North Broadway (Upper West Side)

This family-operated specialty Kosher grocery has been a fixture of the Upper West Side for over 80 years. It’s about as iconic as a place like this can get, and has appeared in most every TV show set in New York City at some point.

21. Bamonte’s Restaurant, 32 Withers St. (Williamsburg)

Bamonte's Restaurant, 32 Withers St. (Williamsburg)

Few neighborhoods have been transformed as much by gentrification as Williamsburg, but this Italian restaurant has been essentially unchanged since opening in 1900. It’s one of the city’s oldest currently existing restaurants, and actually predates the opening of Lombardi’s, the city’s first pizzeria, by five years.

22. Dublin House Bar and Tap Room, 225 West 79th St. (Upper West Side)

Dublin House Bar and Tap Room, 225 West 79th St. (Upper West Side)

Dublin House is a no-frills Upper West Side neighborhood bar with decor that has barely changed in decades, a minimalist selection of beers, and a staff of curmudgeonly but lovable old Irish bartenders. The bar predates Prohibition and certainly looks like it, and its neon sign out front is one of the best you’ll find anywhere in the city.

23. McSorley’s Old Ale House, 15 E 7th St. (East Village)

McSorley's Old Ale House, 15 E 7th St. (East Village)

McSorley’s is old enough to have served Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, and is so packed with memorabilia from before 1910 that it feels a bit like a museum that serves beer. The bar didn’t serve women until 1970, and only because they were forced to after they lost a discrimination suit filed by the National Organization of Women. Up until that point, the bar’s motto was “Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies.” They still serve raw onions, though.

24. Circo’s Pastry Shop, 312 Knickerbocker Ave. (Bushwick)

Circo's Pastry Shop, 312 Knickerbocker Ave. (Bushwick)

Bushwick has changed a lot over the years, but Circo’s Pastry Shop has been a fixture of the neighborhood since 1945. The bakery has barely changed, and still offers pretty much the same line of traditional Italian pastries, cookies, and cakes they’ve been making since World War II.

25. O. Ottomanelli & Sons, 285 Bleecker St. (West Village)

O. Ottomanelli & Sons, 285 Bleecker St. (West Village)

This traditional family-run Italian butcher shop has selling top quality dry aged steaks, sausages, and wild game on Bleecker Street since the ’40s. The shop is very old school, but pioneered many trends in local sourcing that are dominant today.

26. Veselka, 144 2nd Ave. (East Village)

Veselka, 144 2nd Ave. (East Village)

This 24-hour Ukrainian diner has been a fixture of the East Village since 1954, and offers some of the finest pierogis, goulash, borscht, and lattkes you’ll find anywhere in America. All that, and the burgers are great too.

27. Essex Card Shop, 39 Ave. A (Lower East Side)

It’s kinda hard to get sentimental about the sort of stuff the Essex Card Shop sells — mostly office and packing supplies — but this store, run by a pair of Indian and Pakistani immigrants, has a scrappy charm. Co-owner Jayant Patel wrote a book and made a documentary film about his experience as an immigrant and eventually starting the business.

28. Schaller & Weber, 1654 2nd Ave. #1 (Yorkville)

Schaller & Weber, 1654 2nd Ave. #1 (Yorkville)

Schaller and Weber has been the city’s best spot for traditional German charcuterie and Eastern European meats since the family-run butcher shop opened in Yorkville in the late 1930s.

29. Block Drug Stores, 101 2nd Ave. (East Village)

Block Drug Stores, 101 2nd Ave. (East Village)

Block Drug Stores isn’t a particularly exciting place — it is a pharmacy, after all — but it’s a family-run drug store dating back to 1885 in a city overrun with chains like Duane Reade and Rite Aid. The main draw here is the store’s glorious neon signage, which has been an iconic part of the East Village landscape for generations.

30. Jolly Tinker, 387 Bedford Park Blvd. (Bronx)

Jolly Tinker, 387 Bedford Park Blvd. (Bronx)

The Jolly Tinker is the most dependable Irish pub in all of the Bronx — its claim to fame is being open every single day since February 1969. It’s very much a quaint neighborhood bar, and its clientele is mostly the children and grandchildren of the bar’s original customers.

31. Dominick’s Restaurant, 2335 Arthur Ave. (Bronx)

Dominick's Restaurant, 2335 Arthur Ave. (Bronx)

This iconic Arthur Avenue spot is an old school New York Italian restaurant where diners are encouraged to skip the menu — for years, they didn’t even have one — and just tell the waiter what you feel like eating. Patrons who embrace the improvisational nature of the place are rewarded for their creativity with a fresh, one-of-a-kind dish.

32. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, 65 Bayard St. (Chinatown)

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, 65 Bayard St. (Chinatown)

This unique shop has been selling ice cream with traditional Chinese flavors — black sesame, lychee, red bean, pandan, taro — since 1978. The family-owned business is one of the longest-running businesses in Chinatown and has become a destination for adventurous ice cream lovers from all over the world.

33. Barney Greengrass, 541 Amsterdam Ave. (Upper West Side)

Barney Greengrass, 541 Amsterdam Ave. (Upper West Side)

This Jewish deli has been serving the Upper West Side since 1908, and is famous for its whitefish, pickled herring, nova lox, and — as the sign out front makes very clear — sturgeon.

34. Gottscheer Hall, 657 Fairview Ave. (Ridgewood)

Gottscheer Hall, 657 Fairview Ave. (Ridgewood)

Gottscheer Hall is an example of a neighborhood institution that’s been rescued rather than endangered by gentrification. The 90-year-old German beer hall had been in decline for years, but since Ridgewood, Queens, has become a destination for hipster types who can no longer afford nearby Brooklyn neighborhoods Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick, the place has started to turn a profit for the first time in 15 years.

35. La Bonbonniere, 28 Eighth Ave. (West Village)

La Bonbonniere, 28 Eighth Ave. (West Village)

The name La Bonbonniere sounds fancy, but this diner is as cheap and unpretentious as it gets. The decor is shabby but incredibly endearing, and the menu sticks mainly to the classics — burgers, omelets, pancakes, milkshakes.

36. Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, 137 East Houston St. (East Village)

Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, 137 East Houston St. (East Village)

Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery has been in this location since 1910, but the business dates back to around 1890. Much like Russ & Daughters and Katz’s, it’s a remnant of the Lower East Side’s Jewish history that has stuck around mainly due to the quality of its knishes and the charm of the storefront, which has barely changed in decades.

37. 7th Ave Donuts Luncheonette, 324 7th Ave. (Park Slope)

7th Ave Donuts Luncheonette, 324 7th Ave. (Park Slope)

This family-owned and operated diner is fairly ordinary in a lot of ways, but it’s served Park Slope for over 35 years and stands out as an oasis of working class charm in a highly gentrified neighborhood that’s known for being a bit too precious. But never mind that — the real reason it’s here is because its doughnuts, which are made from scratch on the premises every day, are some of the best old school doughnuts you will ever eat.

38. Keens Steakhouse, 72 West 36th St. (Garment District)

Keens Steakhouse, 72 West 36th St. (Garment District)

Keens, established in 1885, is as old school as steakhouses get. Everything about the place, from its vintage decor to its elaborate collection of smoking pipes, will make you feel as though traveled at least 50 years backward in time.

39. Tom’s Restaurant, 782 Washington Ave. (Crown Heights)

Tom's Restaurant, 782 Washington Ave. (Crown Heights)

Tom’s Restaurant has been a mainstay of Crown Heights for over 70 years, and has managed a delicate balancing act of maintaining its old-timey soda fountain/luncheonette aesthetic while updating its menu with creative takes on brunch staples. But some things never change — it’s still one of your best bets if you’re looking for a truly authentic egg cream or cherry-lime rickey.

40. Cup & Saucer Luncheonette, 89 Canal St. (Chinatown)

Cup & Saucer Luncheonette, 89 Canal St. (Chinatown)

Cup and Saucer isn’t breaking the mold as a greasy spoon diner, but it’s notable for seeming stuck in time somewhere around the mid to late ‘70s. The menu is pretty basic for a diner, but the service is remarkably quick.

41. Lucy’s, 135 Ave. A (East Village)

Lucy's, 135 Ave. A (East Village)

Lucy’s is an incredibly charming Alphabet City dive with games, cheap beer, and a jukebox stocked with classic new wave. The bar, which tends to draw a lot of NYU students, has been open since 1981 and is still run by its founder, Polish immigrant Lucy Valosky.

42. Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop, 174 Fifth Ave. (Flatiron)

Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, 174 Fifth Ave. (Flatiron)

Eisenberg’s is a no-frills luncheonette dating back to 1929 that specializes in diner classics and a more affordable variation on the sort of classic Jewish delicatessen food you’d find at Katz’s or the Second Avenue Deli.

43. Economy Candy, 108 Rivington St. (East Village)

Economy Candy, 108 Rivington St. (East Village)

Economy Candy is just what the name implies: a densely packed shop offering inexpensive candy at bulk prices. The shop, which has been around since the Great Depression, is the best place to find old school items like wax lips and peanut chews as well as more exotic contemporary candies.

44. Clover Delicatessen, 621 2nd Ave. (Murray Hill)

Clover Delicatessen, 621 2nd Ave. (Murray Hill)

Clover Delicatessan sells sandwiches, but it’s really a draw for its black and white cookies, pastries, and cakes. Above all else, it’s famous for its gorgeous neon signage dating back to the 1950s.

How to Support Teachers for 21st Century Learning

via eClassroom News

Experts weigh in on how administrators can support teachers in implementing collaboration and creativity

Implementing broad concepts like critical thinking and communication may seem like natural next steps to educators, but unless teachers receive support from school policy and infrastructure, providing students with a true 21st century education may not be so easy.

This was a key topic of discussion during a recent Connected Educator Month webinar, hosted by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) and EdLeader21—a national network of school and district leaders focused on integrating the 4Cs into education.

The 4Cs–communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity–are part of P21’s mission to help educators teach students 21st century skills. Webinar panelists said this task can’t be accomplished without support from school administrators in the way of space design, instructional practices, and school policy.

Dana Strother, chief academic officer at Douglas County School District in Colorado, said her district “looked at Bloom’s Taxonomy and vetted our state’s standards through the taxonomy” during an evaluation of instructional practice.

“Areas that were lacking we improved through what we call ‘World Class Outcomes,’ and instructional design that allows for the 4Cs. We also provided CIA curriculum and instruction alignment and wove authentic learning experiences into the curriculum for support,” she said.

The district also made it a priority to provide supporting infrastructure through district policy on risk-opportunities.

“It’s important to let teachers know, in various ways, but also through policy, that we support risk-taking opportunities, or new strategies, projects, or professional development opportunities that may be new or unique,” she said.

For example, Douglas County lets teachers experience inquiry-based professional development opportunities in order for teachers to learn through the same practices they’re expected to teach students.

“We’re asking teachers to incorporate new kinds of teaching that include the 4Cs, so why should teachers in turn be taught in a different manner? Sometimes by thinking outside of the box and going against traditional methods, especially from an administrator standpoint, the results are better,” Strother said.

Randy Fielding, chairman and founding partner of educational facilities planning and architectural design firm Fielding Nair International, said he believes school design also factors heavily into incorporating the 4Cs into a student’s daily life.

Fielding’s design firm tries to incorporate 20 “learning modalities” into school design, which include concepts, such as Independent Study, Peer Tutoring, Team Collaboration, and One-on-One Learning, to support the 4Cs of instruction.

“To have a truly 21st-century school, you have to inspire organic collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication, and focusing on design can help.”

“To have a truly 21st-century school, you have to inspire organic collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication, and focusing on design can help. For example, you could have a ‘watering hole’ space off hallways where students could casually converse; you could have a ‘cave space’ where students could reflect for independent thinking; and you could have a ‘campfire space’ where everyone gathers to collaborate,” Fielding said.

Panelists emphasized that it’s also important for administrators and teachers to understand that instruction focused on the 4Cs doesn’t just work for certain kinds of subjects, students, or teachers.

“The 4Cs work for every kind of student and teacher in classrooms across the country,” said Donna Harris-Aikens, director of Education Policy and Practice at the National Education Association (NEA). “It’s less a series of requirements and more just authentic learning. For example, a math class could use its English and design skills to help draft a proposal to help senior citizens in their community make their homes more accessible. For this kind of project, you need the 4Cs in STEM, English, and community service.”

Fielding said it’s important that school and district leaders support teachers in working together to develop collaborative projects for their students.

One of the schools his firm works with has a student-run lunch program through which students negotiate with local farmers. They serve the week’s menu selections on carts around the school so students can taste-test their creations. Students in the program generate quarterly reports on profit and loss, and send those reports off to the school board.

“Students get credit for working in this program, which essentially teaches them collaboration skills, analytical skills, and even creative skills, thanks to cooking,” he said.

However, panelists said that there are still barriers for teachers who want to pursue the 4Cs, including getting first-world experience on how to actually teach broad concepts like creativity.

“That’s why we introduced the Creative Innovator Network in our district, which allows teachers to collaborate with not only their peers on different projects, but also local businesses to brainstorm ideas on how students can better serve the community,” said Strother. “We also bring students into the teacher professional development sessions to hear their voice and how they enjoy learning, so that teachers can adapt their instruction.”

“The biggest barrier for teachers is time,” said Harris-Aikens. “Finding time to make everything work effectively and collaborate is hard, especially because planning, or collaborating, time needs to be on a consistent and continual basis. Students also need a large amount of time to work on these projects, and to have time flexibility in case they make mistakes, as well. Administrators need to make sure teachers and students can have that time in their day.”

For more on this topic, watch the full webinar.

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MANAGEMENT ADVICE FROM THE CEO WHO SAVED CONTINENTAL AIRLINES

Gordon Bethune is a character. He’s also one of the most accomplished American business leaders of the past few decades.

Now retired, Bethune is credited with resurrecting Continental Airlines, the flagging carrier he led from 1994 to 2004 that has since been acquired by United Airlines. Perennially ranked last among major airlines in customer satisfaction, Continental was losing hundreds of millions of dollars each year and fighting insolvency. Bethune, who was promoted from COO to CEO less than a year after he joined the company, successfully transformed the beleaguered airline into a profitable and respected industry leader.

What did he learn during his decade-long tenure at Continental? We recently had the good fortune to interview Bethune, who talked about his background and the lessons in leadership and management he learned during his time at the airline. Here are seven of those key takeaways, in Bethune’s own words.

1. Treating your customers and employees well is the right thing to do—and it’s good for the bottom line.

“I arrived in February of 1994, and Continental was consistently dead last in customer satisfaction metrics. And then, we consistently ranked first. To this day, we have a record for JD Power Awards. We were on Fortune Magazine my last six years for the 100 Best Places to Work in America. We were the most admired airline in the world, according to Fortune. Those are kinds of things that are long-built records. But I didn’t do it. The team did it.

How did we do it? We became America’s most on-time airline. How did we do that? We focused on that every day, and the record still stands. So, it can be done from a dispirited last place. We lost something like $600 million in 1994. In 1995, we made $225 million—with the same people and the same airplanes. So, it wasn’t anything wrong with the employees. It was the management—and it always is.”

2. Don’t forget where you came from.

“I used to be an airplane mechanic—that’s how I started off. And do you know how much faster I could fix an airplane when I wanted to fix it versus when I didn’t want to fix it? That’s where the money is. They don’t teach that at Harvard Business School. But they do teach it when you’re growing up. These are basic things, but I think too many companies forget it.”

3. Make a real effort to get to know your employees.

“I communicated a lot during my time at Continental. I did a voicemail that was 3-5 minutes that basically told everybody what was going on, and what they could expect. The twist was that you could voicemail me back through the phone service, and they could tell me what was on their minds. In any case, it was a secure, frequent, respectful voicemail to employees.

You ever watch a football team when they have a huddle before a play? It’s not just the big shots in the huddle. It’s the team. Everybody’s got to know what we’re doing. That kind of respect for your employees—they notice that.”

4. You can’t outsource employee relations. It’s up to the CEO to create a team atmosphere. 

“Your employees and their attitudes are the differentiating competitive edge you have, and I think we utilized that extensively while I was at Continental. You have to gain and earn the trust of your employees. But not only that, you have to make them feel rewarded in order to get your product at a level that it can beat the competition. Everybody’s looking for better fuel burn and all these accounting tricks you can do, and all the cost savings you can do. But having employees that want to do a good job is invaluable.

“WE LOST SOMETHING LIKE $600 MILLION IN 1994. IN 1995, WE MADE $225 MILLION—WITH THE SAME PEOPLE AND THE SAME AIRPLANES. SO, IT WASN’T ANYTHING WRONG WITH THE EMPLOYEES. IT WAS THE MANAGEMENT—AND IT ALWAYS IS.”

When I was at Continental, I would always go to the airport an hour-and-a-half before my flight, and I would visit Continental employees in the crew room or break room or baggage room. It’s the same as going to somebody’s office and thanking them for doing a great job. CEOs don’t normally do that. They try to delegate that to their HR departments, but you can’t. If you want to be the leader, then you have to appreciate and respect your employees. One way to show them that is to get off your ass, go to their office—which might be a cockpit—and say hello and thank you.” 

5. If you ask your employees to make sacrifices, then you should make them, too.

“One thing I did that differentiated me was during the holidays. In particular, Thanksgiving and Christmas were tremendously high-stress days because, of course, everyone wants to be with their families and it’s a maximum travel time in America. I would go out to the airport and work on those days—I would load bags, do work behind the counter, greet customers. I’d make an effort to tell them when I was out there that I appreciated them working on Thanksgiving, and that I appreciated their work in general.

“WE TRAIL BLAZED THE INTERNATIONAL NON-SMOKING FLIGHTS BY LISTENING TO OUR CUSTOMERS AND LISTENING TO OUR OWN EMPLOYEES. WE MADE A LOT OF MONEY BECAUSE OF IT, TOO.”

You can’t imagine how much goodwill that you earn when your team knows that you’re willing to give up your holiday because you’re asking them to give up theirs. You become a true member of the team then. You’re not the manager. It’s a team. The quarterback doesn’t necessarily enjoy any more prestige than the right tackle, and if you go to the Super Bowl then everybody gets a ring. That’s just the way it works. You can write notes all you want, but it’s better to get off your ass and get out there.”

6. Listen to your customers, even if your competitors aren’t.

“In 1994, the United States had already passed a law that you couldn’t smoke on domestic flights. But we flew in Central and South America and Europe, and those were smoking flights since international flights were exempt. I would have customers complain about smoking and, of course, if you were a working flight attendant, and you worked the back of the plane, it was a different atmosphere—it was cloudy, grey, and smoke-filled. I was on a flight down to Costa Rica, and I walked back there, and I said, ‘We are going to stop this.’ We had the senior VP of international sales writhing on the ground in my office because they were all convinced that we were going to lose our business.

“THE BEST WAY TO DIFFERENTIATE YOUR PRODUCT IS TO BE CONSISTENTLY RELIABLE AND DEPENDABLE.”

And, you know what? We picked up more business doing that than anything we did. We had so many people ditch Alitalia or Air France to fly on us because we were non-smoking. And while it angered some customers, we got more customers because of the rule. We trail blazed the international non-smoking flights by listening to our customers and listening to our own employees. We made a lot of money because of it, too.”

7. Consumers want one thing—and it’s not what you think it is. 

“All good airlines are always looking for a way to differentiate their product. But the best way to differentiate your product is to be consistently reliable and dependable. I think people value that the most. They’ll say, ‘Screw the movie, but don’t lose my bag!’ I’ve seen airlines debate crazy things, like whether the flight attendants should wear Kate Spade handbags or another brand. And I said, ‘Who gives a shit?’ Why don’t you give them their bags? That’s what they want!’ ”