Streets Vs Avenues Where to go to dinner in Manhattan model this


Yelp data and statistical sampling was used to determine that the average restaurant is better on Manhattan streets than avenues, with an average rating of 3.62 on streets vs 3.49 on avenues. The difference was statistically significant. In addition, you are almost 50% more likely to find an outstanding restaurant while on a street compared to when you are on an avenue. 18% of restaurants on the streets had a score of 4.5 or higher, compared to 13% of restaurants on avenues.

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From the apparently awesome Alex Bell.


Or, people who eat on streets give better reviews.

But the question remains, can you afford to buy dinner? NY City is super expensive.

Just go dining al fresco, a la The Producers.

We need to revisit the Michelson-Morley experiment.

Yes, and we need taxicab geometry to analyze the results.

More people walk along avenues. Makes those locations look attractive to the walkers. Thus, rent is high. Alas, those walkers have, on average poor taste, so the restaurants can pay the rent, skimping on other inputs.

Connoisseurs, on the other hand, dart in and out of streets. There are so few of us that rents are low while other inputs must be more valuable.

Of course, the number of restaurants adjusts.

Please do not let your brother-in-law upset this equilibrium! :-)

Bingo. Avenues have more foot traffic than streets. Is the restaurant focused on building an independent brand or paying for access to foot traffic? Know your go-to-market strategy and locate accordingly.

New York's most overpriced and mediocre restaurants are found in the area immediately surrounding Penn Station. The world's best foot traffic would be wasted on a high quality restaurant.

Thirded. Also because the rents are higher on more crowded avenues, there is less room for tables. Sit-down restaurants need more floor space.

Avenues have larger economies of scale and serve family dinners to many at lower cost.
Streets have lower economies of scale, but there are more restaurants service specialties to fewer batches of customers.

What am I using? Abstract tree theory, the theory of everything. Follow the logic and find that the country roads outside of town are free unbound particles, taco trucks. And we can see that humans are finite eaters, there are only so many subdivisions of restaurants available and the damn city thus has a finite N, and Avogadro's number.

In finance the abstract tree theory replaces central bankers, replaces the primary dealers, solves government congestion problems, saves the country from civil war and many other nice things. Soon leading to the singularity.

I think economists should bite the bullet on this and call it the Baumol process. They are talking about it quite a bit, privately in their e mails. Why not give it a regular name, kick me out and they can have it all to themselves. Otherwise, either Thiel or Zuck will grab onto the idea and make gazillions.

Sounds about right.

I'd also guess that Manhattan streets with subway stops like 42nd, 34th, 23rd, and 14th have worse restaurants than in-between streets.

Just like any city... restaurants that are out of the way have to be higher quality to stay in business (or do something special or unique).

However I am also inclined to think the first comment from Dzhaughn is possibly wants going on. People that don't just chose the first restaurant they see are more likely to give a better review for all sorts of reasons (eg effort to find the restaurant)

I noticed that New Yorkers care a lot about where you eat. I guess they don't have cars so or houses so that's how you show who's got money and/or class.

New Yorkers are such a vain and shallow bunch. I'm so glad to live in flyover country where people are much more mature, moral, and live meaningful lives.

Way to make an off topic point about another group's vanity.

I've never understood why New Yorkers expect that everyone else in the country is supposed to be familiar with the layout and characteristics of different NYC neighborhoods. Like NYC-written sitcoms and dramas will use the name of a neighborhood as punchlines. Where are most Americans supposed to go to New York City Cultural Geography class?

Who doesn't want to find the restaurant no one else knows about so that they can brag about it.

Being amongst the first diners greatly increases the chances you will have been amongst the last.

Indeed, I thought I'd already read about the theory of Manhattan avenues vs streets -- maybe even something that Tyler wrote?

Oh okay, I clicked on the paper, it was indeed inspired by a Conversation with Tyler featuring Alain Bertaud. Both he and Bertaud seemed to already be familiar with the concept.

But the point of the paper is not that they thought of the idea, they state upfront that they did not. Rather the point is that it's a truism or even urban legend familiar to Tyler, Bertaud, and probably a ton of New Yorkers -- but the authors went out and actually empirically tested it.

'but the authors went out and actually empirically tested it'

Not precisely - they used an online reported dataset, and established that the sort of people that post Yelp reviews are indeed equally aware of Manhattan's geography as anyone who lives there. Particularly as one assumes a good number of the Yelp reviewers live in NYC.

Never confuse a dataset with 'empirical data' - especially when the data can be considered subjective in the first place. To put it a bit differently - how many tourists vastly prefer the Hard Rock Cafe to some small place where they are not familiar with the menu? And how many tourists unfamiliar with the menu are likely to post a Yelp review after eating there?

This is simply self-reported data, with all sorts of caveats, and that it confirms the mundane and commonplace is not exactly a resounding confirmation due to be being able to look at Yelp reviews through a variety of techniques.

Or possibly, using the Michelin Guide dataset, one can also confirm that Staten Island is seriously lacking in Michelin starred restaurants compared to Manhattan.

Yeah, yeah. It's not perfect. But what is? Sometimes we're too purist about things; there is room for contributions which are less than final and we can progressively update our beliefs as they come in.

I suppose you could check individual reviewers with multiple restaurant reviews to see if they give different scores to streets and avenues....

'It's not perfect.'

The problem is not perfection - the problem is that this is utterly mundane. Having a self reported dataset confirm the commonplace might be apparently awesome, but it is utterly unsurprising, particularly when anyone with empirical experience (you know, the sort of people who open restaurants - or who finance those opening restaurants) already know, without having to bother to go through a Yelp dataset.

Several comments have already pointed this fact out.

In Manhattan, avenues run north and south, streets east and west, that's the long and short of it in Manhattan, thus placing restaurants on the preferred (shorter) streets. Washington streets run north and south. Why isn't there a universal rule for the direction of avenues and streets? Indeed, in Queens, streets run north and south, while in Brooklyn it's a combination, thereby creating maximum confusion for someone expecting consistency. Here's the link to the Wikipedia page for the direction of avenues and streets in major cities around the world:

More keen observations from highly sophisticated data analysis...thanks Yelp

But nobody sings "On the Avenue Where You Live".

There's "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue."

Isn't this obvious to anyone who has been to Manhattan?

Is there some reason the comment counter is messed up?

Jokes are about needing a busboy to clean up are probably a bit too obvious.

Certain commenters are being deleted, I think, or having their comments hidden. You are free to guess who they are.

-cars can attain higher speeds on avenues than they can on streets
-sidewalks appear wider on avenues than on streets
-a lot of subways are located at intersections of avenues and streets

I have found Yelp reviews to be fairly useless.

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