Seen & Heard: Tipping the Captain at Il Mulino

••• A reader was surprised to see an option to tip the “captain”—as well as the server—at Il Mulino‘s new Greenwich Street restaurant. I can’t remember the last time I came across that….

••• The cobblestones at Greenwich and Laight are now in such terrible shape we’re on the verge of being able to call them land art. I can see how the Department of Transportation might drag its feet about the problem, since it’s busy painting streets, but how come city council member Margaret Chin won’t do anything about it? She could lean on the DOT. (Perhaps someone could promise her a ribbon-cutting if the cobblestones get replaced…? She loves those.) Community Board 1, also, might be able to help. It used to have a dedicated Tribeca Committee, where this topic made sense, but I don’t know which of the current committees’ jurisdiction it falls under. Quality of Life and Service Delivery?

••• I can see which terms people search on this site (but not who’s doing the searching), and in the past day or two, someone keeps searching “John Fraser” and “Dovetail.” Is the chef behind Narcissa, Nix, and the Loyal planning something here? Tip me:, 917-209-6473. Anonymity guaranteed.

••• Shooting yesterday in the Franklin/Church area: “V3,” which I think is the “Jessica Jones” TV show.

••• Shooting today in the Church/Reade area: “Erase,” a TV show with Denis Leary. From Deadline: “Created by Leary and Alex Cary, ‘Erase’ is the story of Donal O’Neal, a dirty ex-cop who decides to do the right thing and bring down his complicit superior officers. In this gritty crime thriller, laced with elements of black comedy, Donal races against time to repair the damage he’s done to his estranged family while trying to avoid being killed by his enemies.”

••• Shooting Thursday near Walker’s: either “Ray Donovan” (which is usually what Possible Productions is doing around here these days) or “Billions” (another Possible production that shoots in that area).

••• First Standard Construction, which is building 440 Washington (at the southwest corner of Desbrosses) sent out a press release saying the building will be done in early January. The release also states that there will be “retail shops” on the ground floor. If anyone in that area notices the mesh and scaffolding being taken down, please let me know.



  1. Did you tip the captain?

  2. Darn. When you mentioned the DOT was busy painting streets, I was hoping you meant the much-needed traffic light/crosswalk lines where Duane meets Greenwich.

  3. Tipping the captain…not that uncommon at high-end, old-school restaurants. The last time we ate at Il Mulino uptown, there was a line for a captain tip on the statement.

  4. So … What does a captain do? And how much is one supposed to tip?

  5. Those cobblestones were replaced several years ago. I’m not sure when, but they did quite a few streets. Whoever replaced them should be held responsible and redo them . Wonder if the is a warranty !

    • Per the NYC Department of Transportation’s Street Design Manual regarding granite block (a k a cobblestones):

      “DOT generally maintains this material in historic districts, but any third party that excavates it [e.g., to install or maintain underground utilities and pipes] must restore it in kind or as directed by the Commissioner pursuant to Rules of the City of New York, Title 34, Section 2-11(e)(12)(vii)”

  6. The problem, in part, is that cobblestones aren’t designed for extremely high traffic areas like the mass of cars constantly spilling out of the Holland Tunnel onto Laight. It would look weird to have just the Laight-overlap part of Greenwich Street be paved rather than have cobblestones, but anything short of that, you’re just going to have to repair them every year or two, because there’s simply too much wear and tear from big trucks and high vehicle volume…

    • The thing is that there have been high traffic streets that are cobblestoned that haven’t had this problem. For example, Hudson Street had cobblestones for years and years, and they held up to the HEAVY Holland Tunnel traffic really well, IIRC.

      • Where on Hudson Street leading to the Holland Tunnel are there now cobblestones?

        If they had held up so well, why were they apparently removed?

        • @James: I was talking about years ago. All of Hudson Street, IIRC, up to 14th Street was cobblestones. The replaced them back in the 90s (I think). When they were removed, one of the workers gave me a cobblestone to keep. I still have it.

          • Those cobblestones on Greenwhich St., and elsewhere I might add, are extremely dangerous. First of all who lays cobblestones almost 2” apart with the smooth side down & craggy side up? No wonder bikers ride on the sidewalks! I have been in a lot of places around the world and have never ever seen cobblestoned streets like this.

            I also remember the Hudson Street/8th Ave. cobblestones which were smooth on top and about 1/4” apart. You can still see some of the same type of cobblestone placements or what’s left of them on Franklin St. right near the curbs between Hudson & Varick. Even the first newer cobblestoning of Jay St. done in the early 80’s is awful.

            I love cobblestones myself but at this point of unskilled cobblestone layers I personally think it’s best to use it solely as decoration and not for traffic or pedestrian use.

  7. The captain at a restaurant has a good hourly wage and probably receives benefits. Your server does not. Please tip your server.