Modern Day Gomorrah: Goodbye Greenwich Culture

Winter for Greenwich Avenue

Winter for Greenwich Avenue

If NYC’s Meatpacking District was Sodom, with it’s teeming masses of 20-something investment bankers running across cobblestone streets waving Amex Black Cards and puking off the side of luxury hotel rooftop bars, then surely, Greenwich, Connecticut was the modern-day equivalent of Gomorrah.

One of the particularly offensive attributes of the 2003-2007 bull market was the rise of Greenwich Culture, best embodied by the “difficulty finding a place to park your BMW or Benz on Greenwich Avenue,” as noted by Bloomberg this morning.  Since you very likely bought your Benz with money earned off of obscene leverage, why no just go park it off a cliff?

The floods and firestorms of 2008 meted out their punishment in every corner of the globe, but no town was more deserving of this wrath quite like the hedge fund capital of the world.

From Bloomberg:
With the recession hammering retail sales, empty curbside spaces abound along the suburban Connecticut thoroughfare, known as the Rodeo Drive of the northeast, and “For Rent” signs decorate vacant storefronts.

Awwwwww.  No more debt orgy for the elites and robber barons?  C’mon, no fair!

Hedge funds may cut 20,000 workers worldwide this year, a record 14 percent of the industry’s jobs, as investment losses and client withdrawals erode fees…Home sales in Greenwich dropped 77 percent in February, the most on record, as Wall Street firms cut jobs.

But wait?  I thought hedge funds were designed to withstand and even, gulp, prosper from market downturns in a way no one else could.  Oh well.  I guess most of them were just a bunch of analysts and ex-traders from Wall Street with enough cash to scrape together for a Disclosure Document and enough hubris to select a fund name from the pantheon of the Greek Gods.

Hang on…a glimmer of hope:

“The hedge fund people that lost $200 million still have $200 million,” said Adam Zeiberg, a real estate broker with FirstService Williams who leases retail space on Greenwich Avenue. “They have tremendous amounts of money.”

Not $200 million in cash, Zeiberg.  It ain’t coming back, not ever.  There will always be wealthy people and successful fund managers, but not everyone gets to be a billionaire.  The world has no need for 9000 hedge funds and the days of assets under management pouring in over the transom were an anomaly, not a “new paradigm”.

Don’t believe me?  Call a realtor in Silicon Valley.

Full Article:  Rodeo Drive of CT


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