16.9.08

Oops, There Goes $4 Trillion...

No one had lost their jobs, yet, by yesterday, but I'd never seen the Financial District's streets so empty on a Monday morning.

I work about five blocks away from AIG's big downtown offices on Water Street in lower Manhattan. I pass their offices everyday on the way to the New York Sports Club opposite their building. On the way to the gym last night after work I passed two people crying in each others' arms outside the big Chase building. In front of AIG, a fit young man with a smooth, clean head, sat on a flower pot and held his head and sobbed. Maybe their fantasy football teams hadn't performed well on Sunday, or maybe their portfolios had been wiped out in the last eight hours.

Just down the street from AIG, an electric-violin player twitched absurdly before the new "Dwell 95" uber-luxury apartment building that opened its doors yesterday at 95 "Wall Street" (its not on Wall Street, it is most definitely on Water Street, in the middle of the block, not on the corner where you can fudge it, but someone paid somebody for that address...). He stomped around on a blood red velvet carpet and spun out some Richard-Wagner-on-amphetamines music while the dazed suits and IB's stumbled past. A couple photographers snapped photos of oddly placed beautiful people standing in front of the building who-knows-why.
For months designer Philippe Starck's mug stood on a billboard over the building site wearing a moronic Toby Keith beard and a cowboy hat with "yoo" printed on it in big orange letters that had me thinking the place was a new Vonage store, not high rise luxury apartments. The grotesque, impromptu fete for Dwell 95 begged the question, who is going to buy those apartments now - advertised as residing in "the energetic Financial District" (I guess... as long as you don't step outside after 6pm on Friday) - and with what money?

The Financial District suddenly looks very old. Its big stone buildings are heavy and tired. They fit more comfortably with the relic-block of early 19th century NYC preserved for posterity at the corner of Broad Street and Water Street, than they probably should.

In the past year, some of the biggest Wall Street firms have experienced combined losses of about $4 trillion. I'd be fine with that if I wasn't so sure that it's not the dipshit IB's - who'd previously spent their Friday nights at Myst on 28th Street pouring booze on hookers - who will take it in the nuts as much as it is the people in the cafeterias, office services, and maintenance departments. The world loves an overpaid dipshit.

Furthermore, I wonder what this will do to New York City/State. David Paterson, who is a sharp guy as far as I can tell, went on CNBC today and basically said it's killing us to have these firms go belly up. He said that the State Assembly, in a special session recently, cut a billion dollars from the state budget and then had that basically wiped out yesterday when the lost about a billion dollars on the rest of the year with the Lehman collapse/Merrill almost-collapse.

Oh, but at least that fucking asshole, Dick Fuld, will get to leave Lehman with $65 million even with his shitty stock at $3/share. Yeah, Dick, you go break the legs of anyone who shorts that stock.

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