Upcoming Conferences

This month and next month there are a variety of conferences and meet-ups in New York.  Here we take a look at three of them:

On March 11th, starting at 8am and continuing until March 12th at 4.30pm, New York’s Grand Hyatt will be home to the Local Online Advertising Conference.  Hosted by Borrell Associates, a whole slew of industry leaders will come together at the largest gathering of local digital media executives. Now in its 10th year, attendees will be privy to top speakers tackle paramount trends within the industry. Note:  the conference is all about local, digital, and advertising. Between 300 and 500 executives attend each year.

A week later the Marriott, Brooklyn Bridge will open its doors to the Responsible Business Summit. With approximately 500 attendees, the two-day event from 18th-19th March is now in its 7th year.  Speakers include: Assistant Secretary General UN Environment, Satya Tripathi, Mayor of Philadelphia James F. Kennedy, CEO of LanzaTech Jennifer Holmgren, President of the SASB Foundation Matthew Welch and more. Supplemental to the summit, participants can take advantage of the Sunrise EC running club led by Ethical Corporation MD Liam Dowd, a mingling of SDG-focused networking, whereby attendees can share ideas, and the Start-up Showcase where one can benefit from innovators to aid in the acceleration of goals and ambitions.

Next month The Spring Investor Summit arrives in New York between April 1 and 2.  This event facilitates the networking of small and microcap firms with high-level, institutional and retail investors. Set in the stunning Essex House, participants can enjoy the conference while looking out at New York’s Central Park! Hailed as “the fastest growing investor conference in the country,” its goal is “to highlight the most compelling publicly traded companies under $5 billion in market cap across all sectors.”  200 companies will present; 1,200 institutional and retail investors will be present and 2,000 one-on-one meetings will be held.   

Getting Around in New York City

Transportation issues in New York City are nothing new.  Parking is horrendous; driving is awful and the subway has never gotten the best rep.  But now a recent report has found that approximately one third of New Yorkers do not even live within walking distance of a subway stop.  Plus, this issue seems to fall overwhelmingly within lower-income concentrated neighborhoods like Brooklyn and northeast Queens.

NYC’s transportation problem is not limited to the subway.  Dockless bike and scooter firm Lime also commissioned a study and its conclusions were similar in that again it is the poorest neighborhoods taking the fall for lack of viable transportation options.  With Lime, Bird has been lobbying officials in the city to improve micromobility.  And Lime is arguing that if e-scooters became legal, this would improve the mobility of 1.5 million New Yorkers, providing them with much better access to local transit.  With a scooter, they could actually be a mere 10 minutes away from subway stations.

There have been some strides though in this area.  In 2018 an endeavor was taken by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to introduce a dockless bike share program in underserved areas via Citi Bike.

And in other transportation news for the city, we are about to witness the end of the MetroCard.  Plans from the MTA include the testing of a new fare payment system, dubbed OMNY – One Metro New York in an effort to enable New Yorkers to “experience all that the region offers.

NYC Stores: From Reality to Virtual and Back Again

Shopping for clothing has never been easier or more choice-oriented.  Do you want to actually go into a real store, or would you like to browse various outfits from the comfort of your couch?  In other words, if you’re in New York (or other fashion capitals around the world) what is your preference:  online or inhouse?

While online American clothing purchases are on the increase (27% in 2018 compared to 20.7% in 2015), these figures still suggest people are choosing to go into a store and try on the clothing.  It seems that figures are increasing but that people still want to actually put on a piece of clothing to see how it looks and feels.

So where is New York in all of this? Well, Black Friday figures for 2018 instore sales dropped by 7 percent with online sales increasing by 24 percent.  Still, evidence is showing that both options are attractive to shoppers and for different reasons. Therefore, the ultimate answer might be  just that; to keep both online and instore clothing stores stocked.  In New York some stores are getting their heads around that concept.

One example of this is direct-to-consumer brand Wardrobe NYC. Originally launched in 2017 exclusively as an online store, the luxury clothing store founded by Christine Centenera and Josh Goot just opened a pop-up in Soho. Its plan is to remain open temporarily – just until March 24 – and will offer customers all three of the brand’s existing collections: Tailored, Sport and Street.  The concept behind the firm’s anti-fast fashion  brand is the production, manufacture and sale of apparel in a streamlined way to simplify choosing everyday clothing.

It seems that according to a recent Forbes article:

“The current consensus in the retail industry is that, despite falling instore sales, 2019 will not mark the death of the physical store. Instead, it will coexist happily with a digital ecosystem.”

It’s time for clothing stores in the world’s fashion capitals to keep abreast of changes and adapt accordingly.

Recent New York Transactions

business transactions

New York is a hub for business transactions.  Here we take a look at three recent ones.

The Parker New York has been acquired by GFI Capital Resources Group and Elliot Management Corporation affiliates.  $100m+  has been committed by these companies for renovation purposes.  With this money residential condo units will be incorporated into the premises.  Thomas Juul-Hansen is leading the design team.

The Little Rock Sedgwick Building has been purchased for $4.5m by New York’s Woodmont Hardin.  Located at 400 Hard Road, it has nearly 50,000 square feet office space capacity.  It is being sold by Responsive Education Solutions.

A new position if 764,359 shares of Avanos Medical Inc has been purchased by Bank of New York Mellon Corp in the third quarter.  This has been valued at approximately $52,359,000. Other shares were purchased by Bollard Group LLC (valued at $100,000); Whittier Trust Co (valued at $110,000) and Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio (valued at $136,000).

NYC Infrastructure Developments

Infrastructure

Last month it was announced that NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan will receive a capital investment of $52 million. The money will be put toward enhancing infrastructure there.  This includes:  automatic fire sprinkler upgrade; new, safer patient-accessible windows; emergency power system; roof replacement. Cooling towers and the Medium Pressure Steam Condensate System unit will also be replaced.  According to Mayor Bill de Blasio:

“We are proud to have the largest public hospital system in the nation. NYC Heath + Hospitals/Metropolitan has been a mainstay in this community for decades, and this investment will help the hospital get the upgrades needed to continue serving the community.”

It is hoped that all parts of the project will be completed by 2021.

Over in Hudson Square, watch out for more mega infrastructure, this time from Google. The plan is to build a 1.7+ million sq.ft campus there spanning 315 and 345 Hudson Street and 550 Washington Street for a $1 billion price tag.  It will be called Google Hudson Square. CEO and President of Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde said that:

“It’s likely that we’ll not only compete with but surpass Silicon Valley because we literally don’t just have a tech industry, we’ve got technology transforming all our major industries.”

This is especially the case with the addition of Amazon HQ2 in the area.

New York Transit System: Who Will Pay?

NYC Transit

The New York transit system has been in need of an overhaul for some time now.  to fix it however, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is short of around $60 billion.  that figure is actually twice of its current capital plan and so the question becomes what will happen with the much-needed renovations?

a commission has been set up to take this to the next level. chaired by head of the business-backed Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde, the group commissioned a report that – surprise, surprise – requested more revenue.  Most of the commissioners (who also include former City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Vierito), suggested a kind of toll to be applied to truck and car drivers going into Manhattan below 60th Street causing congestion.  this would actually raise $1b+ annually. 

Although this situation is hardly new.  going back a decade ago now, a 2008 commission was set up that recommended MTA funding sources.  that resulted in the 2009 payroll tax.  since then 10 percent of MTA’s $16.7 billion budget comes from New York downstate employees indirect tax.

So what is new?  The most recent report gave a whole slew of suggestions, one of which was to “acknowledge that the M.T.A. construct has failed and call for its dissolution.”  should that not be acceptable, another way to increase efficiency that was suggested was to hire an independent auditor to investigate capital costs of the MTA and thereafter reform its methods and streamline how orders are changed during the construction process.  in addition, there is a lot of money lost in fare evasion each year.  stamp down on that and you’ve gotten yourself $125 million extra annually.

These are just some of the 37 suggestions featured in the report. It’s definitely worth a try.

No Barriers Summit New York City

The No Barriers summit was held in New York City on October 5th and 6th.  This inspirational event is for everyone no matter what they are facing so that they can “unleash their potential.”  As Co-founder Erik Weihenmaker said: 

“I think the culmination of our journey is not when we stand on top of our summits pounding our chest saying look at me.  I think the real culmination is when we come down the mountain and we take the gifts that we have earned and we use them to motivate our lives and our communities and our families…and the world. That’s just the beginning…most importantly we do it to celebrate this life that we call No Barriers.”

In this video, you can get just a small feel for what transpired there.

Fifth Avenue Fame

5th Avenue in Park Slope was just recognized for its incredible contribution to the world of shopping.  The question really that should be asked however, is, is it really any surprise?  with its wide array of offerings from sex stores to superhero supply companies; community bookstore and women’s fashion, it makes sense that it was recently lauded for being “one of the country’s best small business shopping districts.”

What do the vendors in the area put this down to?  Mom and Pop stores which foster relationships.  One example where this is key on 5th Avenue is the Good Wine shop.  According to Heather Johnston, vlogger with So Good: Food and Wine it’s a family affair with the kids sitting around and drawing, and the parents shopping; something they all love.

One small business owner, Sam Tse added:

“I think the dynamics of the neighborhood are changing right now, and in order to keep us here, everyone should support our small businesses. Because otherwise, we are going to get replaced by the more commercial stores, and you’re not going to see small businesses around anymore.”

Minimum Wage Increases

The first city in America that is enforcing minimum wage for app-based drivers (such as Uber, Juno, etc.) is New York City.  At the end of this month, the new pay rules will ensure that all drivers irrespective of which company they work for will be paid $17.22 at least per hour after expenses.

The rule came after a vote in favor of the law was carried by the New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission at the end of last month.

According to Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro this resulted in “desperately needed relief to 80,000 working families.”  In a statement he added that:

“All workers deserve the protection of a fair, livable wage and we are proud to be setting the new bar for contractor workers’ rights in America. We are thankful to the Mayor, Commissioner Joshi and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, City Council Member Brad Lander and all of the city officials who listened to and stood up for drivers.”

NYC enacted its minimum wage law in 2016 with the first increase on 31 December of that year to $11.  Only by 2021 is the minimum wage for NYC workers to reach $15.