Tag Archives: wall street

Never Forget (The Condiments)

In my brief time working in the Wall Street area, I’ve discovered that the shortest route between two points is not always a straight line. Certain streets are completely choked with tourists and narrowed by incessant construction, and should be avoided at all costs unless you want some homicidal inspiration.

Broadway is particularly awful, so if I need to get somewhere on that street, I will often double back on a parallel avenue, walk as far up- or downtown as I need to go, then cut back to the main drag. Though this might seem unnecessarily complicated, it’s actually much faster than trying to wade through acres of gawking Midwesterners (no offense, Midwesterners).

On Tuesday, I ventured away from the office to grab some lunch, and on the way back, I walked uptown on Trinity Place. While not completely crowd free, you can actually move along this street faster than a snail’s pace. It runs behind Trinity Church, at a lower elevation than Broadway. A majestic stone wall marks the church’s western extremity, and a beautiful walkway connects it, mysteriously, to a much more modern office building across the street.

As I walked past the stone wall, I noticed one entrance–called Cherub’s Gate–was wide open. I realized that I’d never been to Trinity Church, somehow, and that nothing was stopping me from going now. So I climbed the stairs and found myself on a tiny little green island of the 18th century in the middle of downtown Manhattan, filled with crumbling headstones, most of which are more than 200 years old.

It was bizarre to walk among the dilapidated tombstones and read their somber, weirdly spelled inscriptions. (“Here lyes Goodye Price, ded of Consumption aged thirty-fyve yearf.”) It was even weirder to see people spending their lunch there, yapping on cell phones, chowing down on deli buffet food in clamshell trays. Though odd, this didn’t seem disrespectful, really. It was a surprisingly quiet, calm oasis in a very noisy part of the city, and one of the few spots in that neighborhood where a person could truly get away from it all for a little while.

I should also add that as I strolled between the graves, I was listening to a Jean Shepherd show from 1960 on my iPod. During that period, Shep’s shows were particularly philosophical and dark. The setting plus the soundtrack combined to give me an eerie, melancholy feeling.

And then I felt something else. Actually, I smelled something else. Something acrid and pungent. Such smells are not unusual in New York, of course, but this smell was not bad per se, just unwelcome. And yet also strongly familiar.

And then I remembered: There was a Subway franchise right next to Trinity on Broadway. I was smelling the unmistakable reek of pickled Subway vegetables wafting through the churchyard. I have smelled that smell many times, coming from my own hands, several hours after eating a six-inch Veggie Delight. I don’t know what they use to preserve those vegetables for longhaul truck travel, but you need auto mechanic-grade abrasive soap to remove that stench from your fingers.

This smell was not faint. The churchyard was drenched in it. The final resting place of Alexander Hamilton and Robert Fulton, overshadowed by the olfactory shadow of five-dollar foot-longs. If such great men can be overtaken by the thorny talons of Jared, what hope is there for a rest of us?

Jim Cramer Won’t Stop Believin’

kramer.jpgJim Cramer’s back again with Mad Money, comin’ atcha via Webcam from an undisclosed Panera bread location. Here’s my latest Buy Now! notice: the strawberry yogurt parfait. Delicious and reasonably priced!

I just gotta tell ya, folks, I stand by my statement that President Obama’s policies have made him one of the worst wealth destroyers in American history. Sure, most of that wealth was imaginary, due to Ponzi schemes and backdoor deals and other assorted forms of skullduggery. That doesn’t matter! The point is, we all used to be rich on paper, and now we’re broke in real life!

What bothers me is that Obama doesn’t seem to understand how the stock market works. He thinks it operates on actual value of companies and their products. It has nothing to do with anything real! If it did, the world financial markets would’ve collapsed decades ago!

Here’s what happens on a typical Wall Street day. First, all of the traders bow before the altar of Gorlaqk the Dread and pay him obeisance. Then, they run around like maniacs for 7 hours. They don’t know why. They don’t know how. They have no idea what they’re even doing! They just perform acts they are compelled to do, in an almost supernatural trance-state, and when it’s all over they stare in disbelief at the carnage they’ve caused. It’s like a Celtic battle frenzy, in suspenders!

Wall Street is not made up of individuals who act of their own free will! Wall Street is an empathic organism that feeds on the collective emotions of the hive mind! So when traders feel good, the Dow goes up! And when current events make them nervous or sad, the Dow goes way down. So I lay the Street’s troubles on your doorstep, Mr. President!

Okay, the manager just told me to keep it down. Gotta keep quiet–I don’t wanna get kicked outta here like did at that Cosi down the block.

Why did I tell you to gobble up shares of Wachovia? Because me and their CEO are best buds? No! It’s because I know that Wall Street needs positive vibes to succeed! I believed with all my heart that stock wouldn’t fail! I had to totally ignore every single warning sign that Wachovia would turf out to do that, but I did it, by god!

So why did they fail? Because you didn’t believe hard enough. I did my part. Wachovia didn’t fail, Bear Stearns didn’t fail, AIG didn’t fail, Citigroup didn’t fail–you did. You should be ashamed of yourselves, America.

I called up the president. I said, listen, all you need to revive the Dow is to believe! Address the American people on TV and clap your hands three times if you believe in the Dow! Do you believe in the Dow? I KNOW YOU DO!!!

Can you believe that President Obama didn’t say anything?! I mean, I’m not a 100 percent sure I actually talked to him. I don’t have his private line, so I just dialed 1-800-2DAPREZ. Since nobody picked up, I just talked to the dialtone. But the fact that he wouldn’t figure out I was trying to reach him–me, Jim Cramer!–makes me shudder for the economy’s future.

I’m gonna get another bear claw, but when we return, I will attack my parents for being some of the worst Santa Claus- and Tooth Fairy-destroyers in history.