The New York City area is home to nearly 20 million people and 20 trillion cockroaches living together in blissful harmony. Well over 1 million people alone are packed into the 23 square miles that make up the island of Manhattan. New York is known for high rents, high couture, and of course – high finance. Every summer, waves of newly-minted investment bankers descend upon the city, snapping up apartments left and right in several of the many neighborhoods and areas in proximity to Wall Street.
Let’s take a walk down NYC’s East Side and survey the typical mistmaker lifestyle in a few of the City’s most banker-heavy nabes:
The sweet nectar of Bud Light
1. The Murray Hill Bro-Shak
Four banker bros just graduated together from the same frat and all landed jobs in finance in NYC. At first, they considered trying to find an apartment on the Upper East Side, because that’s where the smokeshows on Gossip Girl lived. Then they realized that 90th and York is actually pretty quiet, and man, there are like, so many families up in that area.
Inevitably, like a ten-ton magnet, the wafts of Victoria’s Secret perfume, the blaring tunes of The Boss, and the familiar stank of sweat-n-booze-stained wooden floors attracts these strapping young fist pumpers to the Hill. Armed with fray-brim Duke Lacrosse douchetops, you’ll find the typical inhabitants of a Murray Hill Bro-Shak throwing “totally sick pregames” every Saturday night somewhere around East 34th.
2. The Stuy-Town Single
The fifth bro of the group got in the rental market a little late – as the one guy with a long-term girlfriend in another city, he was the obvious odd man out, and fell behind in the apartment hunting game.
The world's biggest post-college dorm
While he still wanted to be close to his college bros and Bar XII, there weren’t any studios or 1-beds available in Bro Shak Country. So he caved in and called the number on the banner ad on the 6 train, and ended up in a small convert in Stuy Town. What he didn’t realize at the time is that he’d stumbled upon a goldmine. Packed with similarly-clueless college grads, this banker bro’s go-to mass text quickly became “Stuy Town then Still Bar!”
Needless to say, the long-term relationship didn't work out - trolling the elevator banks in Stuy Town was just too easy.
3. The East Villager
Below 14th Street, you find young bankers in an identity crisis. Too inexperienced to navigate the trendy yet hit-or-miss LES apartment market, yet savvy enough to avoid the neverending jello-shot parade that dominates life north of 20th, the East Villager decides to settle into an overpriced renovated walkup on lower 2nd Ave.
So, so awful... yet so good.
In stark contrast to his roommate – an old friend who took a decidedly different path in life and works at Generation Records – this young banker suits up every day, slogs past the piss-stained KFC on East 14th, and takes the train from Union Square to his midtown office feeling like a sellout. He chose the East Village because hey – he’s not really a frattastic banker bro. He snags Mudd Coffee and hits the Greenmarket on the weekends. In the evenings, he takes pleasure inhis pressed shirt and tie for a rumpled flannel. He voted for Obama and might even do it again. But once in awhile, he’ll dig deep into his dresser, throw on a polo, and hit 13th Step. Secretly, he thinks Carly Rae Jepsen is insanely catchy, but don’t tell that to anyone at Knitting Factory.
4. The SoHo Sophisticate
In every first-year investment banking class, there is always a son of great privilege. Raised on the Upper East Side and educated at Trinity, upon graduating from Penn, this young man had the sophistication and parental means to secure a 2,000 square foot loft on Mercer Street. On the weekends, the Yankees game buzzes on the 55-inch wallmount flatscreen as the young banker sips top-shelf liquor with his cadre of cokehead college friends before heading out to cocktails at Pegu Club.
Comes with basketball hoop and NBA player.
An avid sailor and scratch golfer, this young banker may have an incredibly refined social skillset – but even with the comforts of a multimillion dollar apartment, life in the city presents challenges. When walking, he gets lost within blocks of his own home - non-numbered streets are confusing. He has no idea where the nearest subway station is, nor does he possess a Metrocard. He’s a “Giants fan” but he can name more green jacket winners than football players. Despite these and several other glaring real-world deficiencies, within the cocoon that is New York City, he is a king.
5. But… I have a balcony! (FiDi)
Ah, the Financial District. The allure of towering skyscrapers, new units, rock-bottom pricing, and some good-ol’-fashioned broker bullshit (“this is where the action is!”) sucked the unassuming young banker into a 1-year lease down in no-man’s-land.
Thinking he had come to New York to experience the vibrancy and excitement of the City That Never Sleeps, young FiDi banker failed to recognize that below Canal Street, that moniker is only true because everyone is always working. True, he’s saving tons of money on rent, but the often-lonely lifestyle that comes with 80-hour workweeks isn’t helped by the fact that nobody ever wants to come hang out at his 58th floor 2-bed. Plus, his next-door neighbor is the group’s staffer, who’s married with an infant child. Soon enough, he'll "trade up" to an apartment twice as expensive and half as spacious in the West Village.
So, what neighborhood do you live in, and what do you think about the lifestyle?
If you don’t live in New York, what are the equivalent yuppie-heavy neighborhoods where you live?
Next up, West Side edition.
Aaron Burr is a retired investment banking analyst and currently works as an associate at a fund. Email him at [email protected]