Company Culture and Success

When it comes to revenue, which privately-held company is doing best in New York?  Based on 2016 revenue data, Crain’s has determined their list, with the top three as:

  1. Hearst
  2. Bloomberg LP
  3. Horizon Media

However, Partnership for New York City analysis found that business in New York is lacking in  metropolitan characteristics.  It found that most of New York’s foreign companies actually come from Europe and thus it is the responsibility of the government to make it more attractive for businesses from Asia, the Middle East and South America to come to America. As Partnership President Kathryn Wylde said: “We should really pay attention to countries with a growing market demand for goods and services from New York, and one important way to do that is to have more of their companies have operations here.”

De Blasio’s Tale of Two Cities

How much has de Blasio done to tackle New York’s age-old issue of being a “tale of two cities”?  Some would say quite a bit; others would say it’s just the economy that has fueled the impact of change.   But given that he ran on a platform of tackling this as it was the “defining issue of the day,” the question we must ask is, has he?  And if so, how much?

Still, when it comes to wages (increasing) and unemployment (decreasing) during his time, people are quick to see him in a positive light.  And the President.  And the government.  Or at least, the previous government which enjoyed “the longest economic expansion in the city [of New York’s] history.”

As Samar Khurshid recently noted, due to the economic climate though, de Blasio has worked toward putting policies in place that reduce inequality, in large part by developing the size and scope of city government.  But bear in mind that de Blasio has not (yet) had to encounter any crazy economic crisis or even stressors which would impact his progressive policies on the slashing of large government expenditures.

De Blasio is however, currently exercising caution with a partial hiring freeze on city agencies while focusing on the stimulation of private sector job growth via city government levers.

Over the years what he has done is this: put “progressivism” as an economic strategy as a top priority.  Right now he seems pretty undefeatable in a re-election.

Manhattan for Rent

Office leasing for Manhattaners is finally becoming easier.  Landlords are offering significantly sweeter deals these days to make it more attractive for business people to find space to lease.  This is a response to companies reducing the space they want to rent as well as the addition of new buildings throughout New York.

The Savills Studley Report showed that in the last three months there was a 32 percent increase in Manhattan leasing to 9.1 million square feet (substantially greater than the historical 7.5 million average). As such, asking rents dropped 2.2 percent in Q3 2017 to $73.21 per square foot.

New York: New Employment Laws

For employees in New York who often have to make an accounting of either going to work while having a sick child at home or losing money, thanks to Brooklyn’s UncommonGoods this problem may soon be eliminated. Bringing home a new baby, caring for someone, helping a loved one or doing anything that requires one to not be at work but is surely not classified as a vacation, this small business is there to help.

With around 200 employees, the online unique product retailer is offering employees up to eight weeks of paid time per year for such situations.  According to company CEO David Bolotsky, as well as being good for the employees, this makes economic sense.  He explained:

“It’s important because families are important, and being able to care for loved ones is essential.  Providing our workers with the ability to balance their personal needs with their work requirements, we think, is in our business interest as well.”

And thankfully, very soon, this policy will extend to other companies in New York.  This is because on January 1, 2018, all businesses will be subject to a program that is being seen as one of the nation’s “most progressive family leave policies.”

In a gradual way, by 2021, families will be given up to 12 weeks paid time off for new children (meaning biological, adopted and fosters).  This will extend to sick members of the family (including in laws and domestic partners) as well as those undergoing family pressures (such as military responsibilities).


NY: Escalating Wineries

While New York today boasts 140 wineries, 35 years ago there were around 10!  According to a prior head of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, Jim Trezise (who now leads a national association advocating for the entire wine industry in America), the wine industry has significantly expanded its economic presence in Finger Lakes. Given that it is today commonplace to find good restaurants at wineries and the region is often regarded as one of the world’s “top wine country destinations,” things really are changing.

Indeed, it has been estimated by the 2017 Economic Impact Report on the American Wine Industry that wine country regions will generate around 43 million tourist visits and $17.7 b in annual tourism expenditures.

And New York is definitely doing its part.  Indeed, the total number jumped from $9.4b in 2012 to $13.8b this year – an increase of over 45% in just five years – with New York ranking number 2 in the country’s wine industry list (California holding the first spot).

According to New York Wine and Grape Foundation President Sam Filler:

“New York continues to expand its impact and growth as a leading wine producing state. Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo and our state Legislature deserve credit for their work on improving New York’s business climate by modernizing the state’s alcohol beverage laws and reducing regulatory burdens. Their continued partnership and support will ensure that the New York wine and grape industry continues its national leadership role.”


John K. Castle Named “Happy Warrior” at Annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner

The 72nd annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner was just held in New York City.  Hosting more than 800 guests, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Comissioner James O’Neill, former mayors Michael Bloomberg and David Dinkins and many others, the event honors the former governor’s leadership and ability to maintain a positive approach to solving social issues despite setbacks by naming a modern-day “Happy Warrior”.

This year’s Happy Warrior Award was presented to John K. Castle, chairman and CEO of Castle Harlan Inc, philanthropist and adventurer.  The award is part of The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation’s efforts to bring hope to all children throughout New York. Keynote speaker at the event was speaker of the house Paul Ryan, and master of ceremonies was Patricia Heaton.

Over the years, the Alfred E. Smith Dinner has raised close to $3.5 million to support children’s charities and educational institutions in New York City.


Fees seem to be disproportionately high for New York’s ATM users.  Indeed, New Yorkers are encountering the second highest average out-of-network fees in a recent survey conducted among 25 major metropolitan regions.  In 2016 they ranked number 6; and now it has worsened, given that per transaction the fee has elevated to an average of $5.14 (from $4.86).

One explanation of this came from CEO and President of the Cooperate Credit Union Association, Paul Gentile who said:

“No offense, but the big banks dominate the New York City footprint — and they have some of the biggest fees. New York is also one of the most expensive cities in the country, so some people are more willing to pay ATM fees there, compared to other locations, like the Midwest.”

New York is not alone in over-exorbitant ATM machine fees though.  The same survey found that they have increased over 50% in the last decade, nationwide.  The average has increased $3.03 per transaction since 2007.

Mobilizing New York

New York City has always been “the place to be,” in so many spheres:  entertainment, business, lifestyle and more.  But, all of that comes at a price.  And it seems that one of the biggest price tags is transportation and mobility.

According to a recent article in Crain’s New York by Scott Rechler, there are many things that can be done.  Move New York’s has already started this process with a logical congestion pricing plan created by transportation experts.  Other ideas include bringing in a traffic management strategy to lower tolls on overnight deliveries while increasing them during peak time.

In general, Rechler believes there needs to be a more efficient use of the transportation infrastructure that is already in place, such as taking greater advantage of traffic-enforcement cameras (which can be relatively easily installed) and invoking more radical fines for roadway misdemeanors.

New York Tax News

According to the Treasury Secretary, should the proposed tax overhaul come to fruition, it will be most helpful to businesses and the middle class.  The idea, according to Steven Mnuchin, is to: “create a middle-income tax cut, [making] businesses competitive and creat[ing] jobs,”

Trump emphasized this sentiment calling it the “largest tax cut in the history of our country.”  He added that this tax overhaul is his main goal right now, rather than focusing on a repeal of Obamacare.  It has been a work in progress over the last few months.  while nothing is yet set in stone, Trump is “hopeful” that there will be a 15% reduction in top corporate tax rate (from its current 35%) and the individual rate to drop to between 10-12%, with the hope of “bringing back jobs,” and aiding middle class and businesses.

Meanwhile, a $9.4 million tax-break package was just approved by New York City’s industrial development agency for Aetna Inc.  This is at the time that the US-managed 3rd largest health company is moving its headquarters away from Connecticut to New York (Manhttan).  As a tax incentive, the package Aetna is receiving from NYC is up to $5 million in sales tax benefits,  $3.6 million in property tax abatements over 10 years and $782,000 in energy bill discounts.