Speaking of bailouts: I have a funny little story that relates indirectly to TARP and government bailouts.

Last week, we moved into new offices — same building, up 20 floors from the old office. The building “wedding cakes” as you go up, so the higher floors are much smaller (5-10k sq ft) than the lower ones, which are the better portion of a city block.

Have a look at the architectural floor plans; We almost have full 360 ° views — the elevator banks on the East side of the floor block that view, but we can still see East from one office (NE corner). So we don’t quite have views in every direction — lets call it ~320 ° views:


Over the past few weeks, I have walked through the space with real estate people, contractors, building reps, etc., and noticed something rather amusing: Out of every single office, I could see the offices of at least one major bailout recipient — some offices, I could see four !

If we start at the elevators, walk into the conference room (facing South), and work our way clockwise (South to West to North to East), these are the various bailouts I can see:

Chrysler, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, General Electric, UBS, Bear Stearns and CitiGroup !

A full run of actual photos I took last week in the new office are after the jump:

Chrysler & GM

(GM building is ~15 blocks up 5th Avenue from us, on the same side of the street. We can’t see it from any of our windows, and I believe they sold the building some years ago).

Merrill Lynch& American Express

Amex is right behind Merrill in the close up, above.

This will give you a sense of how far downtown Merrill is from midtown

A few blocks South and a bit East is Goldman Sachs (but we can’t see that from here).

Morgan Stanley

Bank of America

I can’t quite see the old Lehman Brothers building (formerly Morgan Stanley, now Barclays), which is is 3 blocks north (to the right in this picture) from BofA.



Bear Stearns


This gives you a sense of how far away Citi is — its actually a MUCH bigger skyscraper than Bear.

And that, dear readers, is our Bailout Skyline!



Here are where the views are:

click for larger graphics

Category: Bailouts, Humor, Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

31 Responses to “Bailout Skyline”

  1. I wonder if I missed any?

  2. Gatsby says:

    Whenever you think it’s been a tough month at the office, you can just look out the window and realize it’s not that bad (i.e. your business model does not rely on theft).

  3. Taliesn says:

    Well done , Citizen Ritholtz , now any main street-level shareholder who lost anything substantial has photos of his/her target of choice to satisfy that inner wanna-be mad-bomber.
    Forrest Gump comes to mind about life being like a box of chocolates. ;-)
    Anyway congrats on the new views. Obviously they’ve already provided you with more Muse-fodder.
    Whatever keeps you’re “Bailout Nation” edge *on* , more power to ya.

  4. flipspiceland says:

    Looks they can share a Wi-Fi connection.

    No conspriacy here, though.

  5. thfiv says:

    When is the open house party?

  6. MikeNYC says:

    If that’s the UBS building on Sixth at 51st, law firm Paul Weiss now has more space in that building than the bank.

    Of course, with Citi as their largest client, Paul Weiss is a bailout recipient also. Somehow I don’t see the record 2009 partner share increase to well over 2 mil a year if Citi had been allowed to tank.

  7. BR,

    that’s, actually, a cool/very useful take..

    on the flip-side, think about the CRE carnage that would have been, but for the ‘Bailout’..

    the ‘hattie would have looked, literally, like a Neutron-Bomb had gone off..

    when are people going to realize that QE=”through the looking-glass” ?

    “Extend and Pretend” says it all, too much, and, not, nearly enough..

  8. poly says:

    I guess software sales are up…congrats.

    Personally, I would have upgraded the home.

  9. bman says:

    You know what else? A lot of those banks have too many branches in my little midwestern town.

    Taliesn you feeling nervous? You have offices in one of those behemoths?

    I’d be more worried about the IRS finding you. Once someone figures out that alls they have to do is articulate the message that these rich cats should be taxed, at 50% of income, and articulate it well, all that unchanneled rage that has gone into the teabaggers will have a focus, and a means of expressing that rage. They will get elected and then you won’t be able to hide from the tax man.

  10. One more observation: banks in downtown seem luckier than those in midtown. What about if BSC,LEH stayed in down town?

  11. wnsrfr says:

    Take the NW office, less direct sunlight for blogging…

  12. scharfy says:

    Interesting perspective…..

    Kind of made me wonder whether the next 20 years in the Banking/Finance industry will result in continued consolidation (fewer, bigger firms) or government forced trust busting of the industry…

    Will my kids open their checking account at


    or their main competitor J.P. StanleySmithBanc3rdFedi-Swisscorpistar of America?

  13. kmckellop says:

    As your stand in your office building…. and look out the windows …ponder this…which TARP banks won’t be in existence in a couple of years.

  14. lalaland says:

    Look out the window and thank them every day – they made your rent a lot cheaper!

    How come nobody talks about the economic upside of business paying their landlords less, or buyers paying the developers (or previous owners who bought 23 years ago and anything is a profit) less? The survivors are getting great deals that will give them an advantage going forward with lower costs for businesses and individuals. These advantages could be what leads us back out as the core business becomes more profitable maybe? Got me.

    Also, wow – didn’t realize the BOA building was so wide. Seems much slimmer from the ground, although it’s a whole block long so that should be some kind of indicator I suppose…

  15. We looked at this exact same space 3 years ago — it was $68 a sq ft — before it was finished

    We paid $41 a sq ft

  16. cognos says:

    Did Bear Stearns get a bailout?

  17. $29 Billion from the Federal Reserve to enable JPM to buy BSC at $10/share (originally $2) — but the bond holders got 100% — they are the true bailout recipients!

  18. alfred e says:

    @BR: Isn’t this what’s know as moving up in the world. (20 floors). ANd it only cost the taxpayers a few billion.

    Not too far from where I used to get trapped on business, but I think that was more mid-town – formerly RBH now RBH part of AON – close friends with AIG – ask me how I know that.

    My son’s in there some place – Chelsea? – I think 22nd – close to Merrill-Lynch.

  19. [...] Still trying to figure out what went wrong today with the site (Maybe it was those pictures) [...]

  20. “Look out the window and thank them every day – they made your rent a lot cheaper!”

    Boy, Howdy!~

    People sure hate themselves some Bastiat..

    “In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause – it is seen. The others unfold in succession – they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference – the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, – at the risk of a small present evil.

    In fact, it is the same in the science of health, arts, and in that of morals. It often happens, that the sweeter the first fruit of a habit is, the more bitter are the consequences. Take, for example, debauchery, idleness, prodigality. When, therefore, a man absorbed in the effect which is seen has not yet learned to discern those which are not seen, he gives way to fatal habits, not only by inclination, but by calculation.

    This explains the fatally grievous condition of mankind. Ignorance surrounds its cradle: then its actions are determined by their first consequences, the only ones which, in its first stage, it can see. It is only in the long run that it learns to take account of the others. It has to learn this lesson from two very different masters – experience and foresight. Experience teaches effectually, but brutally. It makes us acquainted with all the effects of an action, by causing us to feel them; and we cannot fail to finish by knowing that fire burns, if we have burned ourselves. For this rough teacher, I should like, if possible, to substitute a more gentle one. I mean Foresight. For this purpose I shall examine the consequences of certain economical phenomena, by placing in opposition to each other those which are seen, and those which are not seen…”

    **”This explains the fatally grievous condition of mankind. Ignorance surrounds its cradle: then its actions are determined by their first consequences, the only ones which, in its first stage, it can see.”**
    contrary to the, above, quoted, supposition–left by the commenter–”they” didn’t make BR’s rent ‘cheaper’, “they”, by pulling the strings to get ‘bailed-out’, easily, made his rent, waay, more expensive..

    O Well, the more things change…

  21. bergstens says:

    …the land under the Chrysler building belongs to Cooper Union, and all NYC tax revenues from the tenants go to Cooper Union. This is largely how Cooper was able to provide tuition-free education for the last century and change years. In typical NYC fashion, Cooper only owns the land under their original “Foundation” building. The land under their new building, I believe belongs to the City. They sold two other parcels in the immediate vicinity (one a parking lot, the other their “from-the-50′s” engineering building) to fund the new (ugly, inhospitable) building. Whoever bought the parcels are taking a serious bath (Cooper has no fund management skills whatsoever, but in this case they were phenomenally lucky)

  22. TakBak04 says:

    Ahh….Cooper Union…and the “New School for Social Research.”

    Way back when I lived on 54 West 10th Street in the Village.

    Memories…Sweet Memories….


    I love to see anything about Manhattan…since I’ve been away so long. I love the photos..! Love the connection back.

  23. alfred e says:

    @TAkBok04: Wow!

    I found NYC to be mean streets equaled only by LA. My lawyer will call your lawyer. Slip and fall down: get run over. Sidewalks or business.

    My son loves it. I don’t hate it, but it’s too cold and uncaring for me.

  24. nemo says:

    That’s funny. From my office window in Iowa City, Iowa, I can’t see any bailout recipients.

  25. Ramstone says:

    On a clear day you can see General Motors!

    Sorry, I’ll get my coat…

  26. V says:

    You could run bailout tours at lunchtime! The tourists can be billed direct to their 401k.

  27. ToNYC says:

    It’s a great Country, America! It would be interesting to SimCity-ish those Bailout Buildings/templates treating their 2007 volumes vs their March 15 2008 -March 9 2009 net- worths…or de-layering them toward transparency (to ghost the images?). A whole lot of Class A space exist only in Space. All those immenseness buildings based on one little idea; to financially engineer new ways of creating wealth without most doing the hard work of thinking, leveraging sweat equity while avoiding the black holes of Madoffs. Thanks for the diorama idea.

  28. jpr322 says:

    I think you need to add one more to the list.

    I believe in front of Merril is the new GS building. HQ is still on Broad, but I know alot of people have moved from JC and broad into this building. Can you see the AIG building down by Water?

    Good luck in the new digs and welcome to the neighborhood.

  29. StatArb says:

    You missed my building–

    where I can see John Thain and Steve Schwarzman’s digs

    Bernie Madoff’s digs

    Mark Dreier’s digs

    Mary Shapiro’s digs

    Maria Bartiromo’s digs

  30. rickdogg says:

    BR, That building in front of UBS is the current HQ for the LBHI Estate – 1271 Ave of the Americas.