New York International Auto Show

With the start of the New York International Auto Show on 1stof this month, attendees were subject to some wonderful new SUVs, trucks and some supercars.

With self-driving cars stealing a lot of car-lovers’ attention, one show stopper was the Genesis Essentia. This has actually been in the works since shortly after last year’s Auto Show with a design team led by Luc Donckerwolke. With its “fully retro-futuristic bubble roof,” it definitely commanded a lot of stares.

But that’s not all.  Featuring over four floors of displays spanning international automakers, close to a thousand vehicles were displayed at “North America’s first and largest-attended auto show dating back to 1900.” Held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, from Friday March 30 to Sunday April 8, a $3 million Bugatti was among the most expensive vehicles featured.

 

 

 

WeWork is Working!

WeWork in Manhattan is today, Manhattan’s “second-biggest private office tenant.” This comes less than a decade after opening its first co-working space in NYC (in the SoHo region).

According to data from Cushman & Wakefield,  today WeWork boasts almost 50 locations in NYC, opening 10 new locations last year.  This spans 2.9 million square feet in the region. A further five are set to open in 2018. The company has received much support, in particular, from SoftBank’s Vision Fund ($4.4 billion). SoHo has five WeWorks.

Each of these WeWorks features: beer and microbrew coffee on tap; large open common spaces and more.  some have special things like photo studios/indoor garden/workout equipment.

https://www.recode.net/2018/3/22/17119012/wework-massive-growth-second-biggest-office-tenant-new-york-city-manhattan-cowork-space-real-estate

New York Arts and Culture

The spring is here and it’s a great time for the blossoming of New York arts and culture scene.  Herewith a few examples of what is going on.

First, we have – from April 5th to 8th – the yearly show held by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers.  Taking place at Piers 92/94, this is one of the world’s “biggest fine-art photography shows.”  It features images from the 1800s until today and there is a specially-curated exhibition by Elton John called “A Time for Reflection,” which takes a nostalgic trip to the time of the Black Panther movement and Joe Baio collection.

And then at The Met Fifth Avenue at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, Huma Bhabha (a Pakistani artist) is depicting her work.  This is quite unique in that she creates images of haunting humankind by using old, discarded materials she finds in her everyday life.  This begins April 17th.

NY Utility Companies

An investigation is being undertaken into how New York’s major utility companies have responded to the loss of power to close to 600,000 homes/businesses in the northeast earlier this month. Also being considered is the groundwork that was embarked upon prior to the events.

Seven utility companies are being inspected. They have all been notified by the Public Service Commission of this. there were two utilities that received the bulk of the criticism due to the amount of time it took to restore power following the snow storms of March 2nd and March 7th with some people being without power for up to 10 days.

Cuomo said he was “not satisfied,” calling the situation “wholly unacceptable. These storms have now become the rule rather the exception. They have to have the capacity to quickly restore power.”

NY: New Business

Rather than moving away from New York to beat high overheads and rentals, it looks like some companies are moving in.  A whole slew of IT jobs with Estée Lauder Companies Inc. are being moved from Melville to new offices in Long Island City, Queens. The company’s “new technology hub” is set to open in July 2018 at 1 Queens Plaza North and will open in July.

In more good news for those in Queens, some believe that the Tax Cuts and Job Act will be beneficial for them…and not just the large corporations.  One native, Tom Clarke, a franchisee of Arby’s and Burger Kings, called the new law a “phenomenal thing,” resulting in his workers getting an additional $40-50 increase in their biweekly paychecks.  That’s really money in the pocket which, until the law would go directly to “government coffers.”

Where is Great to Work? NYC

A recent study has shown that New York offers employees many advantages as compared to other states nationwide.  According to a list put out recently by Fortune Magazine, out of 100 best companies, 9 of them are in New York.  Categories in the study included:  perks, compensation, paid vacation, and more.  Companies included had at least a thousand workers.  Wegmans was considered the best place to work in New York (and was ranked Number 2 in the nationwide list).

New York is also good for workers who want to be parents and get good parental rights. One example is 34-year old father of two Rob Bralow who took paid paternity leave. The co-owner of BLVD Wine Bar is reported to feel “incredibly privileged to be able to take the time away to be with my newest family members.”

And why did he get this privilege?  At the beginning of 2018, New York was one of just a handful of states that put into law paid family leave for anyone who works for a private employer, giving “paid time off to bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child; to care for a close relative with a serious health condition; or to assist when a military family member is deployed abroad.”

NYC is not just about the nightlife…the job culture there is pretty inviting too.

Inviting Business Women to New York!

New York is encouraging women and minority groups to New York. Those who own companies in the area are being invited to join the hub of New York and open their businesses there. Investing $40 million into this promotion, the city of New York is very serious about this.

This money will be used to help these companies – often left out in the cold – to access affordable loans. As well there is a new M/WBE program ad campaign featuring local success stories to encourage these companies to relocate.

Hopefully this initiative will reverse the trend coined by Market Watch analyst that found “female managers are not only under-represented in technology companies, they’re also paid significantly less than men.”

Hedge Fund Strategies in Flux: The 21st Century Revolution of Wall Street

Hedge fund executives were a different breed in the 1980s and 1990s to what they are today.  Back then, hedge fund executives were working within a “culture of tough guy traders.”

Paloma Partners founder Donald Sussman recalls how in 1998, 37-year-old Columbia University computer science professor David Shaw – who had been working at Morgan Stanley with a “new secretive trading group that was using computer modeling” – asked for his opinion  on an  offer he had received from Goldman Sachs.

“Sussman’s career has been built on recognizing and financing hedge-fund talent, but he had never encountered anyone like David Shaw. The cerebral computer scientist would go on to become a pioneer in a revolution in finance that would computerize the industry, turn long-standing practices on their head, and replace a culture of tough-guy traders with brainy eccentrics — not just math and science geeks, but musicians and writers — wearing jeans and T-shirts.”

Shaw – and partner Peter Leventhol – “convinced [Sussman that] they could generate models that would identify portfolios that would be market-neutral and able to outperform others.”  In other words, a large amount of money would be made generating minimal risk.

Sussman recommended Shaw rejecting the Goldman Sachs’ offer and Paloma Partners made a $30 million investment with D.E. Shaw.  Today the company “has grown into an estimated $47 billion firm, earning its investors more than $25 billion — as of the end of 2016, tied for the third biggest haul ever.”

This is more than just a story about a successful company. It has resulted in a “quantitative revolution [which] has become the biggest trend in hedge funds today, capturing some $500 billion of the industry’s more than $3 trillion in assets and dominating the top tier. Seven out of the top ten largest funds are considered ‘quants,’ including D.E. Shaw itself.”

The massive transformation of strategy has resulted in a situation in which it has become “cheaper and easier for all investors to get into the game, leading to an explosion in trading volume.”

And that can be dated back to a preliminary chat Donald Sussman had with David Shaw in 1998.