Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Midtown Manhattan Market Madness


It’s mad in Midtown Manhattan right now!  The shopping is insane in the days leading up to Christmas. But truthfully, there’s also a great spirit here, buzzing in the city. And it’s fantastic that there are so many super cool eateries in the area that really seem to be getting into the spirit too. So it really feels like Christmas – and the season of fun and festivity – lasts for a long time even before December 25.

If you happen to need to go to the Post Office, check out the James A. Farley branch as you’ll really see something special.  Apparently over 600 million packages are being sent out at the peak of the Christmas rush and it’s truly miraculous to see what goes on there.  Indeed, a staff-member at the main postal branch in Manhattan said around 250 boxes were mailed out in less than two hours! 

Part of the Operation Santa program, this is a super cool, feel-good program. It’s a way of everyone giving and getting.  A bunch of volunteers come in and read the letters to Santa, and then – on his behalf of course – go out and buy the presents for the kids. What a wonderful spirit. Midtown Manhattan is definitely getting into things in a big way over this holiday season.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas in Midtown Manhattan

Very little can come close to beating  the hubbub of Christmas in Midtown Manhattan.  This year is going to be no different.  Santa Claus will be accompanied by dancing Chinese dragons, to really light up the city.  They will be performing at the Fifth Annual East Meets West Christmas Parade which can be enjoyed through Little Italy and Chinatown.  At the parade – which kicks off at Mulberry and Canal Streets – one will be able to view a colorful array of Asian and Italian traditions, along with marching bands, feature floats and more.  Allegedly, this is set to be the city’s second largest parade (Macy’s Thanksgiving one being the largest).

It was in 2006 that the parade’s organizers decided to set their sights even higher and significantly expand the parade.  Today, it is a collaboration between the Little Italy Merchants Association and the Chinatown Partnership. Until then, Little Italy did it on its own (for around three decades) but with the additional input of Chinatown, it is really something quite magical.

Bridging the Cultural Gap?

Indeed, while Little Italy and Chinatown have geographically been pretty close-knit in the Lower Manhattan area for over a century, they haven’t worked together like this.  But now this could all be changing. In 2010, the two were given joint recognition on the National Register of Historic Places and they also banded together to bring in World Trade Center tourists to visit the area.

So, maybe with the holiday spirit in the air, the Christmas season will do even more to bridge the unnecessary gaps that exist between the two.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Empire State Building to Go Public?


There is a chance, that by March of 2012, Malkin Holdings LLC (the Empire State Building controller) may start the official process of becoming a publicly-traded real investment trust.  This building is a true landmark of Midtown Manhattan, spanning 102-stories and is perhaps one of the first places visitors flock to see. 

According to Empire State Buildings Associates LLC, the process the company is currently undergoing could result in documentation being filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the not-too-distant future.

Boosting Business in Midtown Manhattan

Should this go ahead, it would be great for business. If it happens, it will mean investors will be able to purchase a piece of one of the most well-known buildings in the Big Apple.  As well, according to Green Street Advisors, Inc., over the last couple of years, property prices in offices in the Midtown Manhattan area have increased 87 percent.

So we say, more power to you ESB!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Engineering Center to Open in Midtown Manhattan

In 2012, Facebook will be opening its first engineering center outside of the west coast, in Midtown Manhattan.  It does have an office in New York, but not this kind of office.  The current one is more sales-based.

Sheryl Sandberg, FB COO was present at the formal announcement which took place at Facebook’s existing New York office, in Madison Avenue.  While there was no official figure for the amount of employees who would be working there, Facebook’s plans are to add “thousands” throughout the world in the near future. 

Facebook is currently at the Bank of America Plaza (overlooking Grand Central Terminal, Midtown Manhattan), where it intends to remain.  With a staff of around a hundred, the work carried out there is advertising sales.  Right now, the company in Palo Alto employs around 3,000 people with engineers based there and Seattle.

At the FB office, NY US Senator Charles Schumer and the city’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, penned messages on the wall, which is the actual equivalent of the FB virtual “Wall,” with the former writing, “Facebook love New York.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Midtown Manhattan Color Combustion!

Enjoy some color in midtown Manhattan.  It used to be awash with black-and-white, but now it’s simply lit up in pretty much all the colors of the rainbow!  Gone are the days when the area looked grey and businesslike from the skyline.  Color has entered the city…and it has become a real joy for everyone.  Indeed, it has even been described as akin to the colors in Tokyo’s Ginza strip, according to designer of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, David Childs.

Partly, this is light reflected from the ground, and partly the colored lights emanating from the very tall buildings.  As well, some of these buildings also have lit up antennas which have been described as “upside-down lollipops” which can be viewed from out of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building – like they are sticking out of them.

Five Manhattan Crazy Colors

The five buildings that are lighting up midtown Manhattan are: the 52-story New York Times Building on Eighth Avenue, (color changes are reflected in the iron-glass construction at different times of the day); 1 Bryant Park, the Bank of America’s 51-story building (this has a white façade lighting which can switch night into day); 42nd Street with two Silver Towers (residential) close to Hudson River; and 4 Times Square, the 48-story reflective glass and steel Condé Nast building. Two of these buildings – the ones on 42nd Street – have been fitted with a $3.5m energy-efficient light extravaganza, put in by Douglas Durst, the developer.