Showing posts with label economic collapse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label economic collapse. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flashback: Fiddling away those financial blues!

In honor of every media outlet revisiting Wall Street nearly COLLAPSING last Sept. 15, 2008, here's a look back at arguably one of my personal favorite posts hereabouts. From Sept. 15, 2008!:

About 90 minutes after the Dow closed yesterday, the big doings began at Wall and Water Streets. As Curbed reported yesterday, the Moinian Group, in some unfortunate timing, had scheduled the launch party for their Philippe Starck-designed luxury rental conversion at 95 Wall St. last night. Uh, oops? No matter! Despite a 500-point tumble (collapse?) on the NYSE, the mood was festive at the location known as Dwell95! A tux-clad musician with an electronic fiddle was on the red carpet delighting all who walked by, mostly confused tourists at the onset.

To hold space for the incoming town cars, Dwell95 planners implemented those festive "do not slip" signs indigenous to maintenance crews.

Meanwhile, here's a snippet of the energetic fiddle player's performance. (Oh, yes -- it's "La Bamba.")

I didn't stick around long enough to hear if he did "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


"In just the seven months since the stock market began to plummet, the recession has aimed its death ray not just at the credit market, the Dow and Detroit, but at the very ethos of conspicuous consumption. Even those with a regular income are reassessing their spending habits, perhaps for the long term. They are shopping their closets, downscaling their vacations and holding off on trading in their cars. If the race to have the latest fashions and gadgets was like an endless, ever-faster video game, then someone has pushed the reset button." (The New York Times)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Some post-holiday cheer from the U.S. Army War College

Post business columnist John Crudele had this item the other day:

ARE you afraid that the economic downturn could get out of hand? I mean, really out of hand?
Well, don't worry.
The US Army War College is on the case -- ready to handle "unforeseen economic collapse" and the "rapid dissolution of public order in all or significant parts of the US."
And you thought we were just dealing with a recession!
In a report published Nov. 4 -- just in time for the holiday season -- the War College's Strategic Studies Institute posited a number of shocks that the country should be prepared for, including unrest caused by the economy's failure.
The report has a snappy title, "Known Unknowns: Unconventional 'Strategic Shocks' in Defense Strategy Development," and was written by Nathan Freier, a visiting professor at the college. The foreword was written by Col. John A. Kardos, director of the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute.
Freier lists a number of possible things we should worry about - because we probably don't have enough of our own -- including run-of-the-mill terrorism and the fact that China and Russia could align against us politically and economically.
"Some of the most plausible defense-relevant strategic shocks remain low-probability events," Freier soft-pedals before going on to scare the hell out of us.
The War College says "widespread civil violence inside the US would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security."
Among things Freier wants us to worry about are "deliberate employment of weapons of mass destruction. . . unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency and catastrophic natural and human disasters."

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy holidays from the state comptroller! (And MTA!)

The Post reports today:

It keeps getting worse.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned yesterday that the city faces budget gaps of $3.5 billion and $8 billion in the next two fiscal years -- far higher than previous forecasts.

That's a sharp increase from the $1.3 billion and $5 billion deficits Mayor Bloomberg projected last month in his budget plan for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years. It even surpasses the state Financial Control Board's dire figures that came out just five days ago and put the city's budget gaps at $2.3 billion and $6.4 billion.

Meanwhile, subway and bus fare will probably increase to $3 next year!

Now let's go out and spend some money!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A pessimistic economic forecast gets more pessimistic (aka, Holy Fucking Shit — We're Screwed!)

Gothamist has the not-so-chipper economic news for the city:

New York City's budget gap will be as much as $1.9 billion in fiscal 2009 and could possibly balloon to as much as $5 billion by 2011, according to a wholly depressing new report from City Comptroller (and mayoral hopeful) William Thompson Jr. ... The recession could cost the city some $935 million in tax revenues next year, a figure that includes a $525 million shortfall in real estate-related taxes, a $345 million reduction in personal income and business taxes, and a $65 million loss in property taxes.

The annual report, titled The State of the City’s Economy and Finances (Or, Time To Move Back In With Your Parents), paints an even bleaker picture than Mayor Bloomberg's November budget proposal. In it, Thompson writes, "Waves of negative economic developments during 2008 have given way to a tsunami of financial anxiety and caused us to issue a more pessimistic forecast than was put forth by the mayor. As the economy erodes, the outlook for New York City’s fiscal future will continue to change."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Soupy Sales (sorry, it's Monday morning)

Esquared has a post on a new boutique called The 1929 on Mott Street. As the Daily News reports:

A new SoHo boutique named The 1929 — after the Depression — and a place where fashionistas and the down-and-out soon could be rubbing shoulders. The street level store on 179 Mott St. is decked out with racks of snazzy dresses, pants and tops by independent designers.

The basement level has been transformed into an art and performance space by night and a spot where hungry shoppers, or even passersby, can pick up a free bowl of soup and coffee during the day.

The store is inspired by the Great Depression,” said store manager Aaron Genuth, 25, one of three friends who created the business.

And there's one comment to the Daily News piece so far:

SinisterCadre Dec 7, 2008 4:59:14 PM
This is the epitome of tackiness. Who says people in SoHo have class? Just who do they expect to buy these expensive clothes? Definitely not someone who would resort to patronizing a soup kitchen. These people deserve to be slapped.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It has begun: The downturn

According to the Times anyway:

EVEN though the average price for a Manhattan apartment, at $1.5 million, is higher than it was a year ago, some New York neighborhoods have already started to feel the downward tug that has wrenched the housing market elsewhere in the nation.

Such as:

Other neighborhoods that experienced price drops include the Lower East Side and the East Village, where median prices fell 5.5 percent...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The first clues are emerging that Wall Street pay will plummet this year . . . Bonuses for top executives could plunge by 70 percent. (New York Times)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Young former Wall Street workers ponder their next move

The Times has a lengthy piece today on the recent college graduates who suddenly find themselves without jobs on Wall Street:

Mr. Menzul, 22, is among the untold numbers of young finance types caught in limbo by the economic crisis, yearning to stay in the nation’s financial heart yet fearful that no market rebound is in sight. It is impossible to gauge how many such strivers are leaving New York or considering it. But interviews over the past two weeks with affected workers and recruiters revealed an emerging portrait of newly minted college graduates suddenly jobless in a frightfully expensive city, and forced to contemplate a change in career — or address.


Adjina Dekidjiev, an operations manager at Manhattan Apartments Inc., said she had been seeing more people trying to break leases, some leaving, some just looking for cheaper places to live.
“A lot of people are doing their math, asking, ‘How can I stay in the city, for as long as possible, and try to find a job?’ ” said Win Hornig, who started the blog after being laid off from JPMorgan in September. “People are definitely going to leave the city if the market doesn’t come back. It’s just too expensive.”

And before you make a smartassy, ha-ha comment, the Times wants you to understand this:

Many in New York have delighted, at least a little, in a sense of schadenfreude over investment-banker woes, having viewed them as a greedy breed that helped homogenize and gentrify the city. But the market crisis has already had widening ripple effects, and many young people working in jobs related to the finance sector were never making a mother lode.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Forget James Cramer and his ilk, how would Joey Ramone invest in this troubled market?

Given our recessive economy, Theresa K. at Punk Turns 30 asks a sensible question, Where is stock market wiz Joey Ramone when you need him? Indeed! As she notes, "While Joey Ramone made his mark in public singing songs like 'Teenage Lobotomy' and 'Cretin Hop' and seeming to endorse a loser way of life . . . in reality, he was very well aware of his stock portfolio. Yes, the man had investments. He was no dummy although he played one on (m)TV."

This article in the Guardian UK from July 2006 examines the friendship Ramone struck with the Money Honey, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo. At first, though, she igonored his e-mails when they first appeared in 1998. Probably just another weirdo!

After a while though, curiosity got the better of her and Bartiromo, arguably the most recognisable business journalist in the United States, replied. "I started getting e-mails from him and he would say Maria, what do you think about Intel or what do you think about AOL and I thought who is this person emailing me? It's crazy, he's calling himself Joey Ramone," she recalls. "Sure enough it was him and we developed this friendship. And he was attuned to the markets. He really understood his own investment portfolio. Joey Ramone was a fantastic investor."

Ramone, of course, also wrote the song "Maria Bartiromo," which appeared on 2002's "Don't Worry About Me," the first posthumous release to come from his estate.

As the song goes:

What's happening on Wall Street
What's happening at the stock exchange
I want to know
What's happening on Squawk Box
What's happening with my stocks
I want to know
I watch you on the TV every single day
Those eyes make everything OK
I watch her every day
I watch her every night
She's really out of sight
Maria Bartiromo
Maria Bartiromo
Maria Bartiromo

Bartiromo had this to say about the track:

"He said to me Maria, I wrote a song about you and he said just come down to CBGBs in Manhattan, be there at midnight. I said, Joey, I'm sorry to tell you but I have to be on the air at 6am and I can't be anywhere at midnight except in my bed, so I didn't go." Instead, at Ramone's urging, she sent a camera crew. "Sure enough, the cameraman came back with the tape and there's him and his band with this song Maria Bartiromo and I just love it. It's a tremendous tribute. I just love that. It's great, just great."

Here are two versions of the song....the first with some Money Honey cheesecake...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Today's sign of the apocalypse

In these trying financial times, the Post has launched a ridiculous daily feature dubbed "Dire Straits," a collection of anecdotes about New Yorkers braving the economy. Here's an item from today's paper:

Folks can't afford a meal? Let 'em eat cake!

In the midst of the meltdown, the Magnolia Bakery opened up a new location at Sixth Avenue and 49th Street this week.

"When the market dropped 700 points last week, business was great," said owner Bobbie Lloyd. "Maybe people needed a pick-me-up. It's an affordable luxury, a small investment for a lot of happiness."

Many of the customers who were scarfing down cupcakes at $2.50 or more a pop said they were seeking a respite from the bleak fiscal news.

And now the obligatory crash-crime story

Now that we're all broke, we have something else to look forward to: More crime! Or maybe not. This is all debated in the Times today:

Expert opinions differ . . . The last time stocks on Wall Street fell hard, in 1987, crime was exploding, and the city saw historic highs in murders in the following years.

Before that, the fiscal crisis of the 1970s helped lead to the abandonment of neighborhoods, failing schools and startling crime rates: robberies built through those years to a high in 1981, when there were 107,495 of them, for an average of 294 a day. (Last year’s total reported robberies, 21,787, was the lowest figure in modern history.)

“Every recession since the late ’50s has been associated with an increase in crime and, in particular, property crime and robbery, which would be most responsive to changes in economic conditions,” said Richard Rosenfeld, a sociologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Typically, he said, “there is a year lag between the economic change and crime rates.”

Uh. How about New York?

New York, of course, has over the last 15 years seen an extraordinary drop in crime, from the most serious to the mildly irritating. But across all those years, economists and sociologists have debated how much of the success was attributable to new trends in policing and how much to other factors, including a robust economy.

Now, if the dire predictions of economic hardship prove accurate, the city may be poised to find out in a real-time experiment. And it will have to conduct that experiment with thousands fewer police officers than it had in 2001.

For his part, the New York police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said he did not subscribe to the idea that there was a strong connection between a city’s financial fortunes and its safety. He said he and his top commanders had had informal talks about the current economic conditions and what they might mean for crime, but had set no specific policy changes in motion that are related to economic circumstances.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


The end of bling. Via The Wall Street Journal:

Francesco Trapani, chief executive of Bulgari Group, is cutting back on the fixed costs of his jet-setting lifestyle. The jewelry, luxury-goods and hotel magnate recently sold his 137-foot yacht, the "Christianne B," and he's holding off on buying any more homes. Even his bespoke Micocci shirt was slightly frayed at the collar last week -- a fact he acknowledged with an apologetic smile.

"I'm being more prudent," Mr. Trapani said. "I spent a lot of money this summer renting houses and things. But when the summer's over, it's over."

Not even the richest people are feeling untouched by our current financial crisis. In their personal lives, as in business, the purveyors of luxury are sizing up what it all means. Some of the questions: Is it unseemly to spend money publicly? Will people still shop for the all-important holiday season? Is this the end of bling?

Francois Henri Pinault, chief executive of French luxury giant PPR, said a few weeks ago that there will always be rich people, but the question is how they will behave as consumers.

The answer may have a lot to do with how these consumers want to be seen. It's not necessarily a good thing to show up at the tennis club with a new $30,000 crocodile handbag when your friends' net worth has been halved and the Federal Reserve is spending billions to keep the banking system afloat