New Constructions: NYC Filling the Skyline

New buildings are being constructed in New York City and are beautifying its skyline.  Here we take a look at a few of them including: Central Park Tower, One Vanderbilt and 555 Greenwich Street.

But in the process of construction, there can be safety hazards.  Given that there have been a few fatalities in the construction industry in New York (with three workers being killed in separate incidents in two weeks in May 2021), NYC Department of Buildings started engaging in zero tolerance safety sweeps at thousands of the most expansive sites throughout New York’s five boroughs.  If safety violations are discovered, worksites will be closed and fines up to $25,000 for each violation will be enforced.

Last year saw the completion of the 472 meter high Central Park Tower.  It was ranked 2020’s tallest building (now it’s the second tallest) which was unprecedented since no building in America had ever taken that title before then (China always taking it).  But this building – containing 98 floors, 179 apartments and a Nordstrom store made the grade.

In 2020 New York’s fourth tallest building was completed. Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, One Vanderbilt it measures 427 meters and extends 59 floors over Grand Central Station.  Soon, Summit One Vanderbilt will open.  This very tall building will feature: observation deck, glass bottomed external elevators, world class dining by Chef Daniel Boulud, the highest LEED, WELL and Wired certifications and so much more.

Currently, there is work being done on a new 16 floor office building in Hudson Square.   555 Greenwich Street may not be the highest building on the block but it will seem bigger as it will be connected to the adjacent 345 Hudson Street a 19-story office building created in boutique style.  Designed by COOKFOX Architects and developed by  Hudson Square Properties, it is set to become one of New York City’s most sustainable constructions.

Electric Power Growth

There has been such expansive growth in the electric power industry.  When it was first used in NYC around 150 years ago, it was on a very minuscule scale.  In the past ten years alone demand has grown by almost a third.  It is anticipated that it will increase a further 50 percent within the next 29 years.

With this figure though, over a third will be with the use of renewable energy.  Professional hackers are taking advantage of supply chains (which includes the energy grid) for their criminal activity which has resulted in US policymakers establishing programs to facilitate the creation of enhanced cybersecurity in power utility firms.

Now, there are plans for New York to explore the possible use of green hydrogen to be used as part of the comprehensive decarbonization strategy. As such, the state of New York has entered into a partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the endeavor of which will make available $12.5m in funding for long duration energy storage techniques and demonstration projects potentially using green hydrogen.

The New York Power Authority is also working with the Electric Power Research Institute, General Electric and Airgas (a hydrogen supplier) to take a NYPA natural gas plant demonstration project, that will evaluate the possible usage in displacing fossil fuels from power generation. Peer-reviewed results will then be shared with the industry and public so that key findings can inform decarbonization efforts.

New York should be proud of this effort.  As Governor Cuomo said:

“New York is leading the way forward on protecting the environment and combating climate change. Part of our ongoing efforts is setting an example for other states and nations to follow. As we transition to a clean energy economy, we are exploring every resource available as a potential tool to address climate change and documenting what we find to share as part of broader national and global conversations so we can build a brighter, greener future for all.”

Facilitating the Work of Small Businesses

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Earlier this week, a new service to help SMEs was launched.  NYC Business Quick Start is a $11m concierge service designed to eliminate a lot of bureaucracy, thus facilitating business development for these small firms. 

Established in conjunction with Jonnel Dorris, the Commissioner at the NYC Department of Small Business Services, Mayor Bill de Blasio is also working with the Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York City Fire Department and the New York City Department of Small Business Services.

This really couldn’t have come at a better time.  As Mayor Bill de Blasio said:

There’s no time to wait for our small businesses to return to the neighborhoods they serve. This is the moment to bring New York City back, and that starts with making this city the easiest place in America to open a small business’ doors. This program will give business owners all the tools they need to run their businesses smoothly and build a recovery for all of us.”

It is hoped that this initiative will make New York City one of the nation’s easiest place to open (or reopen) an SME.

New York: Getting Back to Business

New York is getting back on track following the 18 months of coronavirus business restrictions. Here, we look at a few events that give us optimistic hope for the future of the advancement of local companies: the L.E.A.F. Festival of Flowers, Bizzabo, local business networking.

Taking its inspiration from the European flower shows, the L.E.A.F Festival of Flowers is an annual flower show in Manhattan, launched in 2019 through pop-ups and its hashtag #NYFlowerweek. It is back now this Saturday and Sunday.  Events include: Lewis Miller’s ‘Flower Flashes’ at the Rockefeller Centre, Crosby Cat and the Alamo, East Olivia’s ‘Flatiron Floral Immersion’ at Flatiron Plaza, Ester Partegàs Cape Lily at The Source.

Now that the entertainment industry can finally start working again, there is good news in that department too. The international frontrunner in event software Bizzabo just announced that it purchased an AI scheduling tool company – X.ai – which is able to automate the bureaucratic parts of meetings through the generation of compatible times to meet across time zones, sends out follow ups, reminders and deals with any cancellations/postponements etc.  this acquisition will facilitate the development of meaningful connections for Bizzabo’s clients in-person, virtual and hybrid.

Over in Rochester, AV Science owner Laurie Elkin has welcomed the recent partnership announcement between businesses, networking, funding and educational opportunities. On this partnership, Assemblywoman of 136th District, Sarah Clark said:

“We know even before COVID pandemic that small business always need the extra access to resource technical assistance financial investment and those types of things. I hope it will light the flame of entrepreneurship in a way that some fold didn’t even now they have I hope it grows business in our city.”

New York is Getting Tourists Back

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As the pandemic (hopefully) dies down, social distancing and stay-at-home orders wane, industries that were most badly hit are coming back.  One example of this is tourism with Madison County Tourism (New York’s official tourism promotion agent), taking the lead. 

A partnership for New York and tourism advocacy has been established in an effort to advertise to New Yorkers how they can “Roam the Empire” and benefit from the local attractions, while bolstering the local economy.  New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) President Bob Provost pointed out:

“In any given year, New York State’s diverse destinations and attractions provide great reasons for our fellow New Yorkers to plan their getaways within our borders. But this year is different. This year, New Yorkers choosing to vacation in New York will make a huge impact. They will help reemploy over 300,000 of their fellow New Yorkers who lost tourism-related jobs during the pandemic in 2020. They will help revitalize local businesses and communities. And they will restore sorely needed state and local tax revenue to help fund our state’s economic recovery.”

Madison County Tourism President said Truman Hartshorn added:

“New York is such a beautiful state. With scenic byways, craft breweries and wineries, downtown shopping, farm-to-table restaurants and more, there is so much to explore. And we’re proud to encourage New Yorkers to ‘Roam the Empire’—including Madison County—just as soon as they are ready to travel.”

Given that tourism was probably the most impacted industry in New York during the pandemic, this is very good news.

Director Peter Farrelly’s Greatest Yet? The Greatest Beer Run Ever

It is just possible that ‘The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty and War’ will be director Peter Farrelly’s next best act since ‘Green Book.’ Movie producers are: David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Don Granger (the Skydance team) and Andrew Muscato.

There were a few writers involved in creating the movie: screenwriter Brian Currie, screenwriter Pete Jones and Director Peter Farrelly. The film is based on the book of the same title written by Chick Donahue and J. T. Molloy and tells Donahue’s story of leaving New York to bring beer to his army pals fighting in the Vietnam War.  After his arrival in Qui Nho’n, Donahue encountered a slew of experiences – both funny and potentially dangerous – until he found his friends.  Definitely sounds like the making of another great movie for director Peter Farrelly!

Talks are now being held with Zac Effron (who starred in ‘The Greatest Showman’), Russell Crowe (known for his role in ‘Les Miserables’) and Bill Murray for acting roles and it seems like Apple Studios will finance the movie.

Reopening of New York

The reopening of New York – something so many wanted for so long – has been met with an interesting response. People are shocked, surprised and a bit daunted by what is happening as so many people had gotten used to their “new normal.” Plus, the fact that restaurants, bars and offices are opening at 100% capacity have led to questions from many people wondering what crowds will feel like again after so much time being told to social distance.

It is not the entire New York that is reopening. Most theaters will be closed until at least September 2021. Office workers still tend to be working from home with a low number going back (approximately 16 percent, up from last summer’s 10 percent but still on the small side). One New Yorker, Michael Cortez (who like others believe the speed is “reckless”) said: “I think this is just a knee-jerk reaction to what’s going on in all the politics with Cuomo and everybody else. It’s crazy. And then we all ended up paying for it down the road. What’s the end game?”

He could be right.  But Cuomo pointed to the “statewide rolling positivity rate…of 1.79 percent, the lowest since November 5 and a 50 percent drop over the last month,” which would make sense for a re-opening.

De Blasio said that by July 1st, New York City will “fully reopen,” having vaccinated “a large percentage of its 8 million residents.”

Is Remote Working the Future for New York City?

Many places of work are pushing for employees to continue to do their assignments from home, even post-pandemic.  The lower costs, the benefit to the environment and the less time spent commuting rendering more quality hours with the family are just some of the many benefits that people and companies are seeing.

Taking a look at New York we see this new way of working has become very popular.  Take Spotify for example which used to fill 16 floors at Lower Manhattan’s 4 World Trade Center.  This is no longer the case; in fact, it’s practically empty since the company’s executive management have told its workers they can work anywhere they want; they do not even have to be in New York!  MediaMath has taken the same route. This NYC-headquartered advertising tech firm has also moved out, having seen how productive remote working has been. 

Salesforce – that once had its workers in a 630-foot building – is taking a similar (but not identical) approach.  Rather than go the whole hog, this Midtown Manhattan headquartered firm is telling its staff to come in one-tree days a week and work the rest at home. 

What this will mean for New York – and its central island Manhattan which has been primarily sustained by 1.6 million daily commuters – remains to be seen but Mayor de Blasio is already working on encouraging New Yorkers to return.  He is doing this by having his own municipality workers (that totals approximately 80,000 individuals) come back early next month referring to his decision as “…an important step for the city, and  another important step on the way to the full recovery of New York City.”

Commuting in and out of New York has (understandably) decreased substantially.  Those using the Metro North Railway (serving Hudson Valley, Connecticut and Grand Central Station) have decreased by at least 78 percent from last year. Right now, it is estimated

Members polled by the Partnership for New York City reported that so far 10 percent of workers have returned to the office and it is anticipated that by September this figure will have increased to 45 percent.  At the same time, more than half of those who used to go into the office will now permanently work remotely.