We get it. Your morning begins fighting five roommates for the tiny bathroom you all share (except for Sean, your hippy roommate who never showers. This is the one time it doesn’t bother you). Then, on your way into work, you find yourself waiting in a line of people longer than your high school graduation just for a cup of joe. This is followed by being crammed into a strangers armpit for all 15 subway stops, and zigzagging tourists and their selfie sticks to get to the office. You are already DONE with seeing people, all before 11am! For those of us who want to cut down on human interaction for the rest of our day, NYC is adopting trends that minimize the need to, you know, speak to anyone.
Bushwick newcomer Ichiran is a Japanese ramen chain that that brings the tradition of eating in solitude here to Brooklyn. There are two options for eating, a more classic dining room with seated tables, and a series of “isolated dining booths” which is ideal for anyone looking to dine solo. The booths have folding partitions on either side, and once your dish is served, a bamboo curtain is brought down over the view of the kitchen, creating your own little world, with a decadent bowl of tonkotsu ramen as its nucleus. There is even a miniature menu on your chopstick sleeve, making it possible to order additional noodles, drinks, and sides without saying a word.
Want to just have a craft beer, without all the pesky other people who like craft beer? Situated in the Lower East Side, this James Bond-themed bar uses technology reminiscent of self-service froyo shops to bring you a rotating menu of craft beers, of which you can take as much (or as little) as you want. Simply load up a laundry-mat style card with your desired amount and take your glass around to different stations. Each option comes with an interactive description, so you can pick your poison in a more educated manner.
Speaking of technology, have you ever had a bowl quinoa and thought “This is great. But it would be so much better if a robot made it for me?” Well Eatsa, a new addition to Midtown from Silicon Valley, is the first restaurant with no line, no cashier, and no ordering. Simply make your choices from one of the several iPads around the store, or on their Iphone app. Then, an LED screen will notify you when your meal is ready for pickup at one of the stations nearby, where it will magically appear. Lift the screen, take your meal, and walk out! Literally no humans at all. Until you step out into Grand Central, that is.
Paying upwards of $100/hour may seem extraneous just to be alone for an hour, but if your level of stimulation has gotten out of control, this is a great way of cutting off everything from the outside world and being alone with your thoughts. In the absence of light and sound, you go deep into a world that’s all your own. It’s like getting a years worth of introspection all at once. And no, wearing earplugs, turning off all the lights and floating in your bathtub for an hour is not the same thing.
Maybe it’s not the fact that it feels like the primates’ section of the Brooklyn Zoo being in a Starbucks lately. Maybe you have a legitimate reason, like a really big crush on your barista when today is the intersection of laundry day, being hungover, and 3 days into your “no shampoo” trial week. Either way, we pass no judgement if you want to have your Starbucks delivered, which you can do now through the Green Apron Delivery service.
Sick of running into exes at the grocery store? Done fighting for the last tub of cookie butter at Trader Joes? Not an expert cart dodger? Have groceries delivered so you don’t need to interact WITH ANYONE, except maybe the delivery guy. If that’s even too much people right now, you can even leave a comment to have the box left outside your front door.
7. Amazon Go
This one, we’ll admit, is a little creepy. Starting early next year, Amazon will be building physical storefronts made with (as they have coined) “just walk out technology”. Just pick something up, and the store will somehow know what you selected, and deduct it from your bank account. So, if you feel totally comfortable essentially shoplifting in an environment that senses every move you make through somethings called “computer vision”, “deep learning algorithms” and “sensor fusion”, but the thought of making small talk with a cashier fills you with dread, you do you bashful, you do you. But, these storefronts have only been beta tested on Amazon employees, and will not be release to the public for some time.