goodbye offices!

two of my school friends - one works in the sales department of a pharmaceutical company in ukraine, the second moved to germany and works there as a lawyer in a large german company, to their surprise they discovered that after the end of strict quarantine, both of them did not called to the office. empty offices have become a symbol of the current time. almost no one believes that they will be filled after the victory over the coronavirus. new york is experiencing the most painful death of office culture and everything connected with it ...

piercing story the owner of a comedy club on broadway and former hedge fund manager james altucher, published on his personal blog in august and reprinted by almost all major us publications, very clearly describes the decline of the office real estate market and all related infrastructure in the financial capital of the world.

the opus is worth quoting its most striking fragments (thanks to alexander rogers for the translation).

“the three most important reasons to live in new york are business opportunity, culture and food. commercial real estate and educational institutions also count.

midtown manhattan, new york's business hub, is now empty. although people may already be back to work, famous office buildings such as the "time life" skyscraper are still 90% empty. the business realized that they didn't need their employees in the office ... in fact, they realized that without having to sit in the office, people are even more productive. a time life building can accommodate 8,000 employees. now it has about 500 employees.

new york is dead and will never rise again. over the past few months, over 420 thousand people have left the city (some during the pandemic, and some forever, and the percentage of the latter continues to grow).

a friend of mine works as a managing director at a large investment bank. before the pandemic, he went to the office every day, sometimes from 6 am to 10 pm. now he lives in phoenix, arizona. “since june,” he told me. "i've never been to the phoenix before." and now he conducts all negotiations through zoom.

i also spoke to a book editor who had not been in town since march. “we are doing great work. and i'm not sure if we should go back to the office. "


hot dog booths outside lincoln center? they are no more. my favorite restaurant is closed. okay, let's go to our second favorite restaurant. closed. in the third, it is closed. okay, what about my fourth favorite restaurant, or at least where we always ordered delivery from? no and no

even in the seventies and eighties, when the city was bankrupt, and even when it was called the criminal capital of the united states, it was still the center of the business world (read: it was the place where young people went for opportunities and wealth). he was culturally at the pinnacle of his game - home to artists, theaters, media, advertising, print. and it may have been the food capital of the united states.

new york has never experienced a five month lockdown. not during epidemics, wars, financial crises - never. when there was a polio epidemic, when little children (including my mother) were paralyzed or died (my mother's leg was paralyzed), new york did not go through that.

i am a co-owner of the standup ny comedy club at 78 west and broadway. i am very proud of this and grateful to my partners, dani zoldan and gabe waldman, and our manager john boremayo. it's a great club. it has been operating since 1986, and before that there was a theater.

i love this club. i miss him. we had a show in may. show on the street. everyone is at a social distance. but the police shut us down. i think we spread humor too much at too serious time.

now we do not know when they will open us. nobody knows. and the longer we are closed, the less likely we are to open again. broadway is closed until at least fall. lincoln center is closed. all museums are closed. all shows, even hits like hamilton, are closed on broadway until 2021.

forget the tens of thousands of jobs lost in these cultural centers. forget the millions of dollars from tourists lost from the closure of these centers. thousands of performers, producers, artists - and the entire ecosystem of art, theater, production - all the surroundings of these cultural centers. people who have worked their whole lives in the sweat of their brows for the right to appear on broadway at least once - all these lives and careers are "put on hold."

but will this discovery be? we do not know. what if the halls are only 25% full? broadway shows will not survive in this scenario! and can artists, writers, producers, investors, landlords and everyone else wait a year? the same goes for museums, the lincoln center, and the thousands of other cultural reasons that millions of people visit new york every year.

hot dog booths outside lincoln center? they are no more. my favorite restaurant is closed. okay, let's go to our second favorite restaurant. closed. in the third, it is closed. okay, what about my fourth favorite restaurant, or at least where we always ordered delivery from? no and no.

i thought the paycheck protection program (ppp) should help? no. what about emergency relief? no. incentive checks? no.

restaurants need other restaurants nearby. therefore an entire street in manhattan (west 46th street between eighth and ninth) is called a "restaurant row" there are only restaurants. that is why the other street is called "little india" and the third "korea town".
least of all, the changes affected industrial complexes, conveyors that cannot function without the involvement of workers, hospitals, shops, transport, etc. but a huge number of office plankton, transferred to "remote control", remained to work remotely at home

when people say “let's go and eat”, they often don't know exactly where they want to go and go where there are many restaurants. and if they are not sure they will find the right one, they often stay at home. restaurants multiply by restaurants. yelp estimates that about 60% of restaurants in the united states have closed. i believe that much more closed in new york, but who knows.

the internet has become faster. and this is really the end. people leave new york and completely go into virtual worlds. remote learning, remote meetings, remote offices, remote views, remote everything.

everyone has spent the past five months adapting to a new lifestyle. nobody wants to fly across the country for a two hour meeting when you can do it in one of the messengers. i can watch live comedy over the internet. i can collect classes from the best teachers in the world for almost free online, rather than paying $ 70,000 per year of tuition from a limited number of teachers who may or may not be good. ”(end quote).

i don’t know about you, but i was curious about this confession. of course, it's not so much about offices as about new york, which suffered its most powerful epidemic attack in the wake of the spontaneous protests following the assassination of african american george floyd. but it was new york that was the trendsetter in office fashion.

kiev is not new york, so we are going through similar processes, but not so brightly and tragically. it is the difference between a shock to poor countries (i.e. us) and rich ones. but the fact that the world is changing and, in a sense, deformed, and whole layers of businesses and cultures are dying off (like the same offices or mass spectacles) is a fact. and, perhaps, very negative.

least of all, the changes affected industrial complexes, conveyors, which cannot function without the involvement of workers, hospitals, shops, transport, etc. but a huge number of office plankton, transferred to "remote", remained to work remotely at home.

in germany, lawyers who took part in court sessions returned to their offices. since my classmate's spoken german is not that good, she always did the writing work with documents. and if before i sat over them in the office, now she does the same at home. so her boss decided. and it suits her perfectly.

but my other friend is not. she is afraid of turning into a brood hen who cooks borsch with one hand and holds the phone with the other and sells goods. says that daily trips to the office and communication with the team kept her in good shape. besides, you have to pay more for electricity.

but she does not see any prospects for returning to her former life. a big announcement appeared on the facade of her office center: "rent." they say there are many empty spaces, entire floors. and no demand: rumors about a second wave of strict quarantine with the closure of transport and, above all, the metro, go on more and more persistently. in addition, almost all companies have dropped their revenues, and savings on rents and utilities are important to them.

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