Millennial New Yorkers are ditching basements and roommates for luxury apartments at $1,000-plus discounts

New York City skyline
Plunging rents have put luxury living within the budgets of young professional New Yorkers.

  • Millennial New Yorkers are piling into luxury apartments amid plunging rents and concessions.
  • They’re upgrading their living situation in pursuit of more amenities, space, and the solo life.
  • As of January, rents were down 15.5% in Manhattan and 8.6% in both Brooklyn and Queens, per StreetEasy
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

$3,200. $3,000. $2,900.

Over the past several months, Brett Vergara had been watching rent fall like dominoes for apartments at The Brooklyner, a residential skyscraper that briefly had the title of Brooklyn’s tallest building around a decade ago.

Replete with a rooftop deck, floor-to-ceiling views of The Empire State Building, and an in-building fitness center, The Brooklyner was a far cry from the Park Slope basement he lived in when he first moved to New York, where bars blocked the view out of his lone window. 

“I was playing chicken with the fallen rent prices,” Vergara told Insider. 

Vergara, a 28-year-old who works as a UX program manager, said he shared his last Brooklyn apartment with three roommates, with his share of rent coming to $825 a month. He had been flirting with the idea of solo living for the past two years. 

“Part of me was torn between riding out really low rent for as long as I could and trying to figure out when was the right time to make the jump,” Vergara said.

The pandemic just so happened to be that time.

When a corner one-bedroom, which he said was priced around $4,000 when last listed in October 2019, hit $2,650 in February, Vergara said he decided to “strike while the iron was hot” and signed a lease for 66% off its pre-pandemic price.

In a city notorious for its unaffordability, the pandemic era has sent once sky-high rents plummeting, making luxury living by New York City standards attainable for those once priced out of such a lifestyle. Millennial New Yorkers like Vergara are jumping on deals they know won’t last indefinitely, upgrading to luxury apartments that suddenly fit with their budgets.     

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Brett Vergara scored a corner unit in a luxury apartment for over $1,000 below its pre-pandemic price.

Rents have plunged amid a surplus of supply

When the city that never sleeps finally got some shut-eye, many wrote off the slumber as a city dying and traded in fast-racing taxis and towering apartments for sedans and picket fences. But for some of the young urban professionals who stayed, it was the beginning of a whole new life.

“The pressures COVID placed on the marketplace created a unique opportunity to secure leases in prime locations and great buildings for significant discounts,” agent Ryan Kaplan, of Douglas Elliman, told Insider. New Yorkers fleeing for the suburbs sent rental vacancies climbing, prompting landlords to lower rents in an attempt to attract new residents and propel revenue.

Rents in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens all had the largest year-over-year declines on record, dropping a whopping 15.5% in Manhattan and 8.6% in both Brooklyn and Queens, per StreetEasy’s January Rental Report. The median asking rent in Manhattan was $2,750 – the lowest it’s been since March 2010, when rents dropped during The Great Recession. Insider’s Libertina Brandt reported that rents are likely to continue falling throughout 2021.

While “luxury” can mean many things to different people, StreetEasy defines it as the top 20% of the market. Luxury rental prices dropped the most in Manhattan, falling by 11.9% to $5,642 from the second quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020, according to data StreetEasy provided Insider. Prices fell by 9.7% to $2,935 in Queens during the same period and 7.5% to $3,937 in Brooklyn.

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Units at Level BK range from $2,495 for a studio to $9,000 for a three-bedroom, per Street Easy.

In NYC, a golden standard of climbing up the apartment ladder is snagging an apartment in a doorman building. In January 2020, the average rent for Manhattan one-bedrooms in doorman buildings were $4,514, data from real estate agency MNS revealed. By January 2021, they had dropped to $3,718. 

Iliana Acevedo, senior vice president of new development at MNS, told Insider that they’ve been seeing millennials “not only upgrading to more amenitized buildings but also upgrading in unit size and neighborhoods that they were priced out of pre-COVID.”

Compass has done about 900 rental deals, the majority of which have been with millennials, since last March, Compass agent Ori Goldman told Insider. But he said he wouldn’t classify it as “millennials going luxury for the first time as much as just an extreme market drop, which means anyone who used to afford Manhattan can now afford the luxury.” 

A building with amenities provides a much-needed community

On top, or sometimes instead of, lower rents, many luxury buildings are offering concessions of two or three months free. 

Consider Vergara, who negotiated an 18-month lease with two-and-a-half months free, putting his net rent at $2,250 a month.

“Increased concessions and suppressed pricing allows somebody to rent out a nicer, more luxurious building, with more amenities and a better location,” said Joshua Young, vice president of market-rate operations at the Douglaston Companies. His firm owns luxury buildings The Ohm In Chelsea as well as Level BK and 1N4th on the Williamsburg waterfront, where rents range from $2,500 for a studio to $8,300 for a one-bedroom and amenities include an outdoor pool with skyline views of Manhattan.

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Vergara has a panoramic view from his Peloton.

Many of the experts Insider spoke with said the millennials who are upgrading covet amenities like an in-unit laundry, 24-hour doormen, pools, and gyms.  Air quality is also high on the list.

“The younger demographic is looking for service,” Young told Insider. “It’s really about the whole amenity package.”

That’s something millennials may have traded previously for location in a walk-up building, said Chris Schmidt, senior vice president of Related Companies, which owns luxurious rentals at buildings including The Strathmore on the Upper East Side, which has its own squash court, and One Hudson Yards, which features a penthouse longe and bowling alley. At the latter, one bedrooms can go for as much as $7,453 a month. In February, he said, Related’s rents were trending down about 15% to 25% depending on the unit type. 

Now, he said, a building filled with amenities provides a sense of community millennials feel has been missing in New York’s partially shut-down neighborhoods.

It’s what lured Vergara to The Brooklyner, but he said he hasn’t yet taken full advantage of the amenities because he’s staying cautious indoors, even with masked strangers, until he’s vaccinated. “It’s funny because those things aren’t even really revealing their hands yet,” he said.

Space: the most important amenity in a WFH economy

Both Kaplan and Schmidt said the search for an upgrade has seduced some millennial Brooklynites back to Manhattan, where they’re now finding the space and affordability they once left the island in pursuit of. Schmidt noted that Related’s buildings in Chelsea and Hudson Yards have been the most popular.

But Brooklyn isn’t losing its luster. Young said he’s seeing the trend the most in Douglaston’s two Williamsburg buildings, where there’s a feeling of more space by the water and nearby parks.

Juliana Goldman_Olivia Kenney
Juliana Goldman upgraded from a Manhattan studio to a Brooklyn one-bedroom.

Last June, Juliana Goldman decided to prioritize her living space. She was living in a large railroad-style studio in lower Manhattan “with zero light and super thin walls,” she told Insider. It was time to hightail it to Brooklyn, where she always envisioned herself for its community feel.

Her non-negotiables: an in-unit washer dryer and floor-to-ceiling windows with lots of natural light. “I’m a plant parent,” the 34-year-old founder of lifestyle and beauty public relations agency TGN explained.

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Goldman wanted more space and light.

She found it all at Level BK, Douglaston’s 41-story glass tower that shimmers over Williamsburg and the East River, complete with an outdoor space, steam room, and direct ferry service to Manhattan. At the time, apartment deals were just starting to come in, she said. While she declined to share monthly rent, she said she signed a two-year-lease with two months free. 

Trading up to a larger one-bedroom and brighter space was a game-changer, Goldman said: “It’s really helped having extra space and being able to create that working from home environment where it doesn’t feel like I’m literally working out of my bedroom.”

Space has always been a rare commodity in NYC, but the work-from-home economy has cast it in a whole new light. 

Many millennials like Goldman have been seeking an office space or a large living room that can accommodate a work zone, broker Isaiah Dunn of Compass told Insider. Common outdoor space, like a sun deck, also tops the list.

“People want to be able to have friends over when they want and not feel confined when at home all hours of the day, compared to pre-COVID, when you could just meet friends at a local spot,” he added.

Goldman said her space has become an oasis, as she spends her downtime vintage furniture shopping and decorating. “The energy here is better,” she said. “I just wake up exponentially happier every day because of my living environment.”

Entry into adulthood

Some millennials are opting for two-bedrooms with a roommate to further cut the cost of luxury, and some millennial couples are upgrading from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom for an office space.

But three experts noted a big push toward entry-level studios and one-bedrooms. Schmidt of Related said most millennials upgrading, like Vergara, are doing so to have their own apartment for the first time.

Take Lauren Mennen, a 31-year-old news writer, who was living on the Upper West Side with three roommates before the pandemic. “I’ve never actually lived alone,” she told Insider. “I took the dropping rent prices as an opportunity to start looking.”

In October, she found the studio of her “dreams” in a luxury doorman building in the Financial District with an “amazing view” of 1 World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and the Hudson River. The building itself has a gym and a sun deck.

Lauren Mennen roof deck
Lauren Mennen found a luxury apartment in Manhattan’s Financial District with a roof deck.

She was previously paying $1,500 a month for a four-bedroom flex unit (meaning the unit was originally two bedrooms with walls added later on to create four). Now she’s paying $1,700 – a big drop from the typical $2,800 monthly rent the place normally goes for. 

Even millennials already living by themselves are getting upgrades. For some, it’s the first time they’ve had a wall between their bed and their couch.

Both Goldman and Ai Nguyen, a 30-year-old behavioral specialist, fall into that category. In February, Nguyen moved from a 300-square-foot studio on the north side of the Upper West Side to a 500-square-foot one-bedroom farther south in the neighborhood in a newly renovated 14-story doorman building called the Parc Coliseum.

It was the new hardwood floors, in-unit laundry, and price that sealed the deal for her.

She told Insider her rent increased from $1,730 to $2,043 for the bigger place, but she scored a deal with two months free. That puts her net rent at $1,700 – less than her studio. A StreetEasy listing of a one-bedroom of similar size in the same building came to $3,704 in September 2019.

A rebounding market

Developers and real estate agents alike agreed that winter, typically slow in NYC real estate, has been millennial primetime.

“We’ve seen a particular spike in absorption since Thanksgiving, and millennials are a large percentage of renters rushing back to the city looking to snag a good deal before the spring rush,” MNS’ Acevedo said.

But just how long millennials will be able to cash in on an upgraded NYC lifestyle remains to be seen. 

Schmidt said it’ll be contingent upon when the city fully reopens, and he anticipates more real-estate momentum as vaccinations continue. “That’s going to force a lot of people seeing these steeper discounts to make a quicker decision,” he said, adding that as soon as there’s a better indication of when the workforce will return to offices, rents will start to go back up to pre-pandemic levels.

Ai Ngyuen
Ai Nguyen now has enough space for her own dance and workout studio in her Upper West Side one-bedroom, which costs less than her old studio.

NYC is the only major US city that still saw price drops in the last month, according to Apartment List. But it’s slowing down – rent only declined 0.1% compared to the average 2.4% over the last nine months.

Young said he’s already seeing strength in the market, and has begun pulling back on offering “month-free” discounts last week. There’s also the cyclical nature of leases, he explained: Since many jumped on deals in the middle of winter, fewer people will be vacating at the end of March. Less supply gives buildings an opportunity to pull back on prices and incentives.

Some of those who nabbed a deal at what appears to be the bottom of the market said they’re also concerned about what their rent will look like after their lease is up. Nguyen, the Upper West Sider, said she’d likely stay if it only goes up by $200 a month. Any more than that, she said, and she’d be okay with leaving the city. 

Regardless, they all said they feel extremely lucky to have been able to move during the pandemic. “There’s a sense of guilty gratitude,” Vergara said. “I feel like I got away with something.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider

With a federal wealth tax looking unlikely, states like New York could enact their own

FILE PHOTO: New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio speaks to the media during a press conference In the Queens borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio speaks to the media.

  • New York’s Democratic lawmakers may be able to push through a state wealth tax, Bloomberg reports.
  • Debate over a federal wealth tax continues, but some areas are taking matters into their own hands.
  • Places like Arizona and San Francisco have already enacted their own taxes.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

New York legislators may be able to push through taxes on the ultrawealthy amidst the turmoil surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Bloomberg reports

Cuomo previously outlined a worst-case scenario where New York’s wealthiest would see the country’s highest income rate taxes if the White House didn’t step in to help with the budget deficit. During the pandemic, Cuomo has said he wanted to make sure New York’s tax base was preserved, and wealth taxes would not help in that regard.

Now, according to Bloomberg, New York’s Democratic lawmakers are considering a package that would “go further,” given that the governor is embroiled in a sexual-harassment scandal and a federal investigation into his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

Progressives in New York have been champing at the bit to increase taxes on the wealthy. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio previously called for a progressive tax and a tax on billionaires in his final State of the City address. And New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has previously called to raise the top marginal rate on those earning over $10 million.

“New York City will fight for new progressive income taxes that establish brackets with increased tax rates for high earners and the ultra-wealthy,” de Blasio said in a release on the address. “And with more billionaires than any other city in America, New York City will push for a billionaires’ tax. The billions of dollars raised from these progressive taxes will go into investing in New York City’s schools, working families, and a recovery for all of us.”

The Wall Street Journal reported in mid-February that some Democratic lawmakers in New York were coalescing around what’s called a mark-to-market tax on billionaires. Those billionaires would pay capital gains taxes annually on appreciating assets, not just at their sales.

As talk of a federal wealth tax grows, some places have already enacted them

Sen. Elizabeth Warren recently renewed her calls for a wealth tax, introducing the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act with several other progressives. Under Warren’s plan, households with a net worth between $50 million and $1 billion would see a 2% tax, and households with a net worth over $1 billion would see a 3% tax.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that a wealth tax poses “difficult” implementation problems, and it’s not favored by President Joe Biden. But some places in the US have already taken matters into their own hands.

San Francisco voters passed a tax in November on business owners and top executives who earn at least 100 times more than one of their average workers. Those CEOs earning 100 times more than their average worker would be taxed an additional 0.1% on business tax payments. The surcharge also increases to 0.1% of however much more they earn. 

And Arizona passed an additional income tax on its high-earners; all of the money raised will go to public and charter schools. The creators of that proposition estimated that it could bring in $940 million annually.

In Washington state, lawmakers are considering a net-worth tax that could generate up to $4.9 billion in revenue. One millionaire, Dan Price, is out advocating for it. “I’ve been demanding to Washington State to tax me more,” he told Insider’s Hayley Cuccinello.

So, while there may not ultimately be a federal wealth tax, a patchwork of state and city taxes on the wealthy could arise to take its place.

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 ways the US economy is uniquely positioned for a great new era in the 2020s

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America is ready for a new era that won’t be like times past.

Vaccines are rolling out and picking up speed. There’s finally a light at the end of America’s long coronavirus tunnel as massive advances in public health provide reason to be optimistic about 2021.

But the world that reopens won’t be the same one that shut down nearly a year ago, and the good news could go beyond a return to “normalcy:” the American economy of the 2020s could be the best in decades, with real optimism about enough jobs being created to put 10 million-plus Americans back to work. 

The pandemic has already transformed the personal and professional worlds in ways that will have long-lasting repercussions.

First, the Biden administration wants to “go big” on a $1.9 trillion stimulus that could supercharge the economy when the world comes out of lockdown (without overheating it), following more than $3 trillion of stimulus spending in 2020. Second, regulatory actions announced at the end of the Trump era have the potential to reshape the tech sector that dominated the first two decades of the 21st century and still dominates the stock market.

And finally, the world of work was changed to a largely remote one, with ripple effects for both worker productivity and across the housing market. With office workers doing their jobs from home, the era of the “superstar city,” where New York and San Francisco hoovered up the best jobs and talent, may have ended in 2020. 

President Joe Biden promised in mid-February that big stimulus spending would bring the economy “roaring back” but all of these changes may add up to more than just a new “roaring twenties,” but a whole new economic era.

Because of prior stimulus, American consumers are sitting on approximately $1.6 trillion of pent-up spending after 11 months of solitary leisure activities, according to Commerce Dept. figures released on Friday.

In other words, the boom is coming. And based on the three drivers outlined below, the ensuing recovery could usher in a wholly unique era of American economic prosperity.

(1) Wall Street sees stimulus sparking a boom

As momentum gathered for Democratic passage of Biden’s stimulus in February, Wall Street banks began to upgrade their projections for economic growth, factoring in expectations of a successful vaccine rollout.

A team of JPMorgan strategists led by John Normand wrote on February 12 that the economic expansion over the next year “will be much stronger than average” on account of pent-up demand, augmented incomes through stimulus, and support from the Federal Reserve including quantitative easing. US strategists at the bank believe the consumer’s recovery will be the dominant theme for 2021 with “blowout expectations for the rest of the year.”

Baby Boomer
Experts are predicting a return to “normalcy” and a surge in economic growth by the end of 2021.

Bank of America strategists led by Candace Browning Platt wrote that the service sector is “like a coiled spring waiting to be let loose,” with a reopened economy not just meeting demand repressed by the pandemic but also boosting employment since some services sectors account for an outsized share of jobs. 

BofA’s Michelle Meyer agreed, writing that it was time to “fasten your seatbelts” as evidence pours in to support the view of strong economic growth in 2021 – in fact, “the strongest in nearly four decades.” Rather than a coiled spring, she wrote of a “rubber-band” cycle, with a big decline leading to just as fast a snapback. 

The recovery should avoid the sluggishness of the post-2008 decade, according to Meyer, because of healthy household savings and aggressive stimulus, two interrelated factors. Finally, BofA’s Ethan Harris wrote that while the 2010-2019 recovery was the slowest in history, the 2021 recovery may be among the fastest.

The Commerce Dept. data from January show consumer finances are strong, as the $900 billion stimulus passed in December boosted spending by 2.4% and personal household income by 10% – the second highest on record

(2) A tech breakup could create (a lot) more jobs

The FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) stocks drove 40% of the stock market rebound in July 2020, per BofA Research, but what if they get broken up in the 2020s?

As the Trump administration drew to a close in 2020, the Dept. of Justice and Federal Trade Commission launched respective actions against Google and Facebook. The case against Facebook, in particular, seeks a true break-up including the forced separation of Instagram and WhatsApp. These cases wouldn’t reach the trial stage until well into the new decade, but they have the potential to transform the economy.

Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at NYU and well-known tech industry pundit, told Insider that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram could be worth more if they were forced to break up into three separate companies – and this could translate into more jobs for workers, more opportunities for entrepreneurs, and more value for investors. 

As independent companies, Instagram and WhatsApp could engage in aggressive hiring that they previously couldn’t do under Facebook, he said. What’s more, with Facebook and other monopolies weakened, investors would be more willing to allocate more funds to more companies that challenge these big tech players.

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A tech breakup could be coming this decade.

“Consider that two years after the federal government broke up Rockefeller’s Standard Oil into 34 separate firms, their combined value had doubled,” Galloway added. “The companies spun out of the breakup of AT&T in 1983 outperformed the S&P 500 for the next decade. We’ll see the same thing in big tech.”

A 2018 report by anti-monopoly think tank Open Markets Institute, called “America’s Concentration Crisis,” revealed just how many industries have come to be dominated by certain power players in recent years. Three companies hold 85% of social networking site market share – Facebook comprises 70% of that share alone. It’s a similar story for the search engine industry, where the two largest firms own 97% of the market share, with Alphabet leading the way at 91%.

Matt Stoller, director of American Economic Liberties Project and author of “Goliath,” a 100-year history of antitrust policy, also said that a tech break-up would benefit the economy.

“Facebook is suppressing the growth of new and vital sectors of the economy by refusing to allow anyone else to create innovations within the social networking space,” he told Insider. “It’s similar to IBM, which blocked the creation of a software industry until the antitrust case of the late 1960s forced the company to unbundle its hardware from its software.”

(3) The work-from-home revolution could bolster new cities

Around the 1990s, the “superstar effect” became a feature of the American economy. The concept explains the vast difference in earnings between a star and a superstar in the same field. Think: Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, and New York City.

But there’s another word for the dynamic when a superstar gobbles up most of the gains: monopoly. Stoller has argued for years that a shift in antitrust regulation since the 1970s has allowed for the rise of more monopolies across the economy, resulting in less competition and greater inequality. Starting in the 1970s, Stoller wrote for Vice in 2019, regional inequality widened as a result of airlines cutting routes to the rural, small, and medium-sized cities they no longer needed to serve in a more concentrated economy.

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New York City has been a “superstar city” in recent decades, gobbling up a big share of the job market.

New York City, the country’s media and finance hub, had 10.1 million employees in its metropolitan area in November 2019, and Los Angeles, center of the entertainment industry, had 6.2 million employees. San Francisco, the heart of tech, has 2.5 million employees, although that doesn’t account for the millions more in the Bay Area’s other cities: Oakland and San Jose. These three superstar cities house more jobs than some entire states have alone: Consider Alabama’s 2 million employees in the same time period.

Such job concentration leads to a higher cost of living. The median home value in the US is $266,104, but that jumps to $512,941 in the NYC metro area and $1.3 million in San Francisco.

But when it comes to cities, the pandemic may have snapped that thread, freeing up remote work for white-collar employees on a massive scale. So what happens when the workers that were locked for decades into superstar cities – especially San Francisco and New York – are free to fan out around the country? The answer could well be a new era of more broadly shared prosperity and a correction to decades of increasing regional inequality.

The labor and real-estate markets both still have underlying inequities. Service workers still have to physically report to their jobs while remote workers don’t, and some of those who have fled expensive addresses have endured salary cuts. Meanwhile, the housing market got so expensive in 2020 that it’s discouraged many from the dream of homeownership for good.

Richard Florida, urban studies theorist and economics professor at the University of Toronto, told Insider that remote working will accelerate the movement of families out of superstar cities into suburbs and the 1% who are seeking lower taxes. Anywhere from 14 million to 23 million remote workers plan to move, mostly from big cities, an Upwork study found in October

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Californians have been trading in San Francisco for Austin, Texas.

“I have long said that we will see the rise of the rest, given the incredible expensiveness and affordability of existing superstar cities,” he said. “But it’s not going to be the rise of everywhere. It’s going to be the rise of a dozen or two dozen places.” These places will consequently attract new talent, changing economic development. 

Florida doesn’t see bigger cities going away, though, predicting a resurgence as we inch closer to widespread vaccination, even if remote work is likely here to stay. He did predict that post-pandemic cities will be reshaped and revived by a newfound focus on interpersonal interaction that facilitates creativity and spontaneity.

“Even as offices decline, the community or the neighborhood or the city itself will take on more of the functions of an office,” he said. “People will gravitate to places where they can meet and interact with others outside of the home and outside of the office.”

Insider’s Josh Barro has already argued that 2021 should be great for the economy in general. Indeed, markets hit record highs at the turn of the year, seemingly pricing in a vaccine-led recovery. Just a few months later, it’s beginning to look like the biggest boomtime for the US economy in a generation. Some experts have even floated the idea of a new “Roaring ’20s,” with animal spirits unleashed after roughly 18 months of isolation, as pent-up capitalist energy explodes when lockdown finally lifts.

Instead of flappers and a jazz revolution, we’ll have digital nomads and zoom concerts, but one thing is certain: increased competition among cities and technology companies, if done right, has the potential to improve life for all Americans over the next decade. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Trader Joe’s employee says he was fired after he asked the company’s CEO to enhance its COVID-19 protections

Trader Joe's
Trader Joe’s

  • A New York man said he was fired by Trader Joe’s after he requested the company make changes to better protect workers.
  • Ben Bonnema said on Twitter he was fired after sending a letter to the company’s CEO.
  • In the termination letter he shared, the company said he did not share the grocery chain’s “core Values.”
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A New York City man said he was fired by Trader Joe’s after he sent a letter to the company’s CEO requesting the company make several changes he said would more thoroughly protect the grocery chain’s employees from COVID-19. 

In a tweet Friday evening, Ben Bonnema said he was fired from the Trader Joe’s location on New York City’s Upper West Side after he sent a letter to Dan Bane, the CEO of Trader Joe’s. Bonnema outlined changes he believed the company should implement to further protect staff from the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus.

Bonnema did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment Saturday. Trader Joe’s also did not immediately comment about Bonnema’s employment or the company’s response to his letter. 

In the letter, which Bonnema shared on Twitter, Bonnema asked for five changes in his Trader Joe’s store, including enhancements to the store’s HVAC system, an occupancy limit based on the level of CO2 in the store, more stringent face mask requirements for customers, and a three-strike policy for customers who refuse to follow COVID-19 protocol. 

“Unfortunately, ASHRAE and the CDC and OSHA have downplayed the dangers of aerosols since the pandemic’s origins, so saying that Trader Joe’s ‘exceeds their standards’ isn’t good enough,” he wrote in the letter.

 

“We should be following the guidelines of scientists who study respiratory transmission,” he added, including a link to a February 17 article from The New York Times that reported a group of 13 scientists had called on the Biden administration to release rules to limit airborne transmissions of the virus in places like meat-packing plants and prisons.

“We put our lives on the line every day by showing up to work,” he wrote. “Please, show up for us by adopting these policies.” 

But Bonnema said Trader Joe’s terminated him after sending the letter on behalf of his coworkers and shared his termination letter, dated Friday, February 26, on Twitter.

“In a recent email, you suggest adopting a ‘3 strike’ policy against customers and a policy enforcing the same accommodation for every customer with a medical condition that precludes them from wearing a mask,” the termination letter read.

In Bonnema’s letter to the CEO, he had called for the company to enforce mask usage – even in the cases of medical exemptions, which are often illegitimate, writing that Trader Joe’s employees can accommodate such people by shopping on their behalf.

“These suggestions are not in line with our core Values,” the termination letter continued. “In addition, you state that Trader Joe’s is not ‘showing up for us’ without adopting your policies.”

“It is clear that you do not understand our Values. As a result, we are no longer comfortable having you work for Trader Joe’s,” the letter concluded.

A group of Trader Joe’s workers promoting a workers union for the grocery store voiced support for Bonnema on Twitter. “We’ve spoken with @BenBonnema and are extending unequivocal support and solidarity. We will not be providing comment outside what Ben decides to share, but are supporting him in every way possible in this fight,” Crew for a Trader Joe’s Union said. 

Retail and grocery workers were hailed as heroes early in the pandemic, as they worked to keep essential businesses operational during the lockdown. But protections for retail employees remain weak in the United States, and many workers and labor activists have called for companies to do more.

Bonnema’s claims would not be the first time employees of Trader Joe’s complained about their safety during the pandemic. In November 2020, employees of the grocery chain told Gothamist they were in a “state of terror” and claimed the company was not properly protecting workers from the spread of the disease.

Employees of several New York City Trader Joe’s locations, including the one on the Upper West Side, told Gothamist last year they were fearful of punishment from management should they voice concerns.

In a press release earlier in February, Trader Joe’s outlined how it said it was protecting employees and customers from COVID-19, including requiring face masks for most customers (and providing accommodations for individuals who were medically unable), providing masks and gloves to staff, health screenings for employees, and increased cleaning at its stores. 

“The safety and wellbeing of our Crew Members and customers is, and always will be, top of mind,” a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s told Gothamist last year.  

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Andrew Yang intervened when a man wielding a metal pole attacked a photojournalist on the Staten Island Ferry

Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang, who is currently leading the contenders in his Democratic primary run for mayor of New York City, rides the Staten Island Ferry during a campaign stop to the borough on February 26, 2021 in New York City.

  • Andrew Yang intervened Friday when a man wielding a metal pipe attacked a photojournalist. 
  • Yang was able to calm the man and allow the journalist to exit the situation, according to reports.
  • Yang, a former presidential candidate, is running for mayor of New York City. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Andrew Yang, the businessman and former candidate for president who is running for mayor of New York City, intervened to help a news photographer who was attacked Friday while on a ferry in Staten Island.

According to a report from the Staten Island Advance, Yang at around 11 a.m. Friday was traveling from Manhattan to Staten Island with his staff and a small group of reporters as the mayoral candidate planned to tour the borough.

The photojournalist, Getty Images photographer Spencer Platt, told The New York Post he was talking on the phone when he was approached by his would-be attacker, clad in black cowboy hat and jeans, on the outdoor deck of the ferry

“I just said, ‘What’s up?’ He Immediately shoves me, I kind of tumble down,” Platt told the outlet. “I get back up, and he raises a steel bar – a broomstick handle – over his head.”

“He looks like he’s ready to strike me,” he added.

Yang, who was inside the ferry, rushed to the outdoor deck to intervene, according to the reports.

“I think most people would have the same impulse I had,” Yang told the Staten Island Advance. “To try and do anything that you can to protect somebody who might be threatened or endangered.”

Yang told the outlet that the attacker recognized him before “the situation de-escalated quickly.”

“I got up and tried to intervene as quickly as I could,” Yang said. “I’m thrilled that when he turned he saw me and recognized me, and the situation de-escalated quickly.”

Platt told the Staten Island Advance he thought the man would’ve “clocked” him without intervention from Yang and his team.

Yang is one in a crowded group of people running for New York City mayor to replace Bill de Blasio, who is serving his final term as mayor. Yang was one of many candidates who vied for the Democratic Party’s 2020 nominee for president.

According to Politico, Yang was leading the candidate among those surveyed in a poll by New York City-based Fontas Advisors and conducted by Core Decision Analytics earlier this month. About 84% of those surveyed said they knew who Yang was, with 28% of respondents choosing him as their top contender.

Read the original article on Business Insider

New York City just granted protections to fast food workers. It may be a model for protecting essential workers across the country.

fast food protests new york minimum wage
Protesters with NYC Fight for $15 gather in front of a McDonalds on February 13, 2017 in New York City.

  • New York City just passed a law saying employment in the fast food industry will no longer be “at will,” but must require “just cause” for firing workers. 
  • The law will provide workers needed protections by making it harder to fire them. 
  • If the effects of the law are positive, this could be a model for protecting essential workers across the country. 
  • Vincent White is a partner at White, Hilferty & Albanese, a national employment law firm.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

At a moment of unprecedented insecurity for millions of American workers, New York City is once again functioning as a vital laboratory for the future of protecting American workers.

In 2019, after the city increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour, states from New Jersey to California followed with plans of their own to boost wages. Now a new law, passed in January and taking effect in July, will strengthen the job security of fast food workers in New York City and could be a model for more localities across the US.  That’s because after July, employment in the industry will no longer be “at will.” Instead, employers will have to show “just cause” for firing workers. 

This is a bold and important experiment, one that could bring more stability to workers in a notoriously difficult and high-turnover employment sector. The new law may also hasten a shift toward automation and impose costs on the operators of franchises at a time when New York City is struggling with massive revenue losses. Whatever the results of the new law, it’s encouraging to see a major American city move beyond stale talking points in policy debates and actually introduce a forceful, targeted intervention in labor law. 

Many experts predicted that raising New York City’s minimum wage in 2019 would harm both revenue and employment. But contrary to these doom and gloom predictions, both increased. People were willing to pay a bit more to eat in restaurants, and everyone was able to benefit. This new law could also easily surprise us in a variety of ways.

What are “just cause” protections? 

The “just cause” standard, while vague around the edges, can provide powerful protections for workers. 

Under the old law, those who did not agree to cover last-minute shifts or work overtime might be fired with relative ease, perhaps on the pretext that they were not a “team player.” The language in the new law requires application of “progressive discipline,” which means that termination can occur only after a series of graduated interventions proportionate to any infractions of policy. 

What’s more, this discipline cannot be arbitrarily dispensed according to the fluctuating whims, grudges, or agendas of a particular boss. It must be “reasonable and applied consistently,” a substantive legal phrase that provides genuine protection to workers.

In cases of obvious misconduct, fast food restaurants will still be able to fire employees. Assaulting the boss, spitting in the food – any reasonable judge or arbitrators would regard these as just causes for termination. In borderline cases, however, things will become more interesting. Is lagging productivity a legitimate reason for dismissal? A bad attitude that undermines morale without violating any policy? These cases are murkier. 

The potential benefits of “just cause”

Absent this new law, employers probably would not think twice before dismissing workers in such scenarios, figuring that in an industry with annual turnover rates that often exceed 100%, they could always find another worker. Many more employers are now likely to be deterred from quick dismissals by the prospect of a longer and legally mandated process, which could trigger back pay for unlawfully terminated employees and statutory penalties of $500 for each violation. 

This could result in more careful selection, training, and treatment of workers. It makes sense to invest more in choosing workers carefully and keeping them happy if you know that they are harder to dismiss. This could even cause upward pressure on wages as franchises compete to attract and retain good workers. 

On the other hand, there might be fewer fast food jobs if the new law increases operational costs and decreases turnover. Critics also worry that employers might be permanently stuck with chronically underperforming employers they are unable to dismiss. 

There’s some legitimacy to this fear, but it needs to be weighed against the benefit of decreasing unjust and arbitrary terminations. It’s also important to remember that the new law is currently limited to the fast food industry; businesses with profit flowing in from locations around the country and world can afford to treat workers a bit better in New York City. And if the local owners of New York City franchises are affected by the expense of these new laws, the wealthy national companies that grant these franchises could help their local operators with extra costs.

Rather than such a generous course of action, however, corporate fast food mammoths may simply accelerate the shift to automation that has already begun. McDonald’s spent nearly $1 billion in 2019 adding ordering kiosks and other automation technology to stores. 

As current mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has stressed, this transition is likely inevitable in a range of industries over the coming years. Rather than postponing it, a more intelligent strategy may be to increase the security and wages of those jobs that can still only be done by humans. There’s even an argument for hastening the arrival of automation: if it’s going to happen anyway, the sooner we begin to experience its full disruptive effects, the sooner our economies and political systems will be forced to develop sustainable responses. 

A final virtue of this new labor law is its granting of genuine workplace protections to those we celebrate as essential workers during the pandemic. Many of these workers already rely on public assistance programs because of low wages, and they now face additional risk from a deadly virus on a daily basis. 

If we care about helping such people, a disproportionate number of whom are from immigrant and minority communities, it’s long overdue to provide them with more than a hollow bit of celebratory rhetoric about how they are “essential.” New York City’s bold new law could be a crucial step in the right direction. The rest of the country will be waiting to see the results. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best US destinations to travel to in March, plus where to stay and socially distant activities to enjoy

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Sun Valley, Indiana

  • Traveling in March can mean big savings for those comfortable with hitting the road right now. 
  • With safety in mind, these spots have fantastic outdoor activities and socially distant dining options. 
  • We found top US vacations for March, from mountains for the end of ski season to warm getaways.

With the ongoing pandemic, most travelers are still turning to domestic destinations, road trips, and locations that offer easy social distancing and access to the outdoors. As we approach the one-year mark of many of the early shutdowns, and with spring breaks for kids quickly approaching, many travelers and families are seeking safe vacation options for a change of scenery.

Below, we highlight some of the best places to travel in March, whether it’s to take advantage of savings, catch the tail end of ski season, or warm up with some sun. All of our choices are domestic options that offer plenty to do outdoors, which we detail below, along with socially distant dining options and top hotels to stay at.

However, you may also want to consider booking an Airbnb, since most are offering contactless check-in and experts and the CDC have noted private vacation rentals are often a safer option than hotels due to limiting contact with others.

It’s also worth noting that traveling at all during this time comes with inherent risks, and every traveler needs to evaluate these at a personal level for themselves and their loved ones. We always recommend following guidelines from the CDC, wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands frequently. 

That said, if you do decide to travel, March proves itself as an especially great time to get in on deals, especially in destinations where the month is considered shoulder season. In popular mountain towns, where prime ski season conditions with warmer days on the slopes are a possibility, many rates are below their January and February peak. Plus, there’s plenty of savings to be found in coastal retreats and sun-filled destinations.

Across the US, these are some of the best places to travel in March, including top hotels to stay in for each destination.

Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley, Indiana

Already bought your EPIC ski pass this season? You’re in luck, as Sun Valley Resort, which is celebrating its 85th season, won’t require reservations here if you have one, making this the ultimate destination for that last-minute ski trip. Those with Epic passes can also save 20% on lodging at Sun Valley Resort through the end of the 2021 ski season.

If you’re not into downhill skiing, Sun Valley also has impressive cross-country skiing, which you can take on solo or with a guide from Sawtooth Mountain Guides. Starting from the snow-dusted Galena Lodge, you can access the North Valley Trail System for snowshoeing and over 25 kilometers of packed trails that are right for every experience level.

And if you’re wondering if skiing is safe right now, the good news is that experts say the answer is largely yes, as long as proper precautions are taken.

Other highlights in Sun Valley include Sun Valley Lodge’s outdoor ice rink, a postcard-worthy scene with snowy mountain peaks in the backdrop, as well as nighttime stargazing at Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, the only recognized International Dark Sky Reserve in the US.

For those who are seeking some urban glamour and shopping, head downtown to unique storefronts. Visit Earl’s Authentic Clothing for quality men’s woven shirts and denim, Gilman Contemporary Gallery for art and exhibitions of established and up-and-coming artists, Independent Goods for hand-crafted pieces, and Silver Creek Outfitters for gear and mountain-inspired decor. 

Where to stay in Sun Valley

Limelight Hotel Ketchum near Sun Valley, ID

The Sun Valley Lodge is somewhat of a cult classic. Dubbed America’s first ski resort, its charming history that dates back to 1936 is well preserved, even if today the rooms are comfortable, contemporary, and alpine-inspired. Rates start from $297. 

Trendy and with plenty of perks, the Limelight Hotel in Ketchum offers guests dedicated shuttles to Sun Valley Ski Resort as well as around town, has outdoor hot tubs and fire pits, and is filled with outdoor spaces. It’s also pet-friendly, so you can bring along your furry friends. Rates start from $227.

Find more great US ski hotels

Newport, Rhode Island

Thames Street   Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is most alive in the summer, but the late winter and early spring season in this seaside town should not be overlooked. The many historic hotels have deeply discounted rates at this time, and there are fewer crowds to deal with. Pair that with the fact that this New England destination is within driving distance to many major Northeastern metropolitan areas, and it’s hard to resist.

With temps in the mid-40s this time of year, you can bundle up and spend an ideal day outdoors by simply window shopping (or actually shopping) Thames St, which is brimming with decor, clothing, gift, and specialty shops, like Rhode Island Reef, a stylish CBD store. 

A walk along Cliff Walk which backs up to the glittering Gilded Age mansions this town is famous for is also an enjoyable way to spend time, and really a must for any Newport itinerary. You can watch the Atlantic Ocean waves crash from the upper loggia at The Breakers, the grandiose display of Vanderbilt prosperity that is just one of the many homes open for tours in town. Its massive size at over 125,000 square feet makes it pretty easy to spread out even though you’ll be indoors most of the time. However, a walk around the estate’s grounds proves just as memorable if that’s more comfortable.  

Two of Newport’s best-kept secrets include the Newport Car Museum, a fantastic collection of pristine vehicles, and Aardvark Antiques, where estate and collectible treasures of every variety can be found. If you’re not shopping indoors at this time, they have plenty of outdoor and garden pieces to peruse, too. 

When you’ve worked up an appetite, the private Snowfish igloos at Gurney’s Newport will make you feel like you’re having lunch outside in the summertime, especially on a sunnier day. Drivable from Newport, Ocean House in Westerly, Rhode Island also has an incredible fondue village eating option with private gondolas for those diners that appreciate a good theme. 

Where to stay in Newport

castle hill inn newport rhode island

If you’re looking to have that hotel experience in the most socially distanced of ways, consider booking a beach cottage at Castle Hill Inn. Detached from the main inn, you’ll have a private hideaway with a comfy bed and sitting area to unwind and many of the cottages feature whirlpool tubs or cozy fireplaces to keep you warm.

The main draw, though, is the panoramic view of Castle Hill Inn’s private beach, sand dunes and coastline, not to mention the fancy homes that make up Newport’s famed Ocean Avenue drive. It can all be seen from the private deck of your cottage, whether there’s snow or a sunbather on the sand. Rooms start from $575 per night. 

Discover more of the best Newport hotels and Rhode Island Airbnbs

 

Orlando, Florida

The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Show

Not only is March a great time to visit Orlando according to Priceline (which is reporting that the cost of visiting is down 31.76% during this time), there are some exciting activities you won’t want to miss. The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Show begins on March 3, with plenty of outdoor kitchens serving food directly from the garden, plus beautiful topiary displays and those popular sculptures of your family’s favorite Disney characters.

While there is an obvious risk to visiting a theme park at this time, the Orlando parks have strict new COVID-19 protocols in place, with social distancing enforced and capacities extremely reduced. This means a more enjoyable experience for visitors, too, with wait times at rides and attractions much shorter than pre-pandemic times. 

Beyond the parks, you can also enjoy the pleasurable March climate at one of the city’s many other outdoor attractions, which include picking oranges at Showcase of Citrus, riding 200 acres of ATV trails at Revolution Off Road, and exploring charming and oft-overlooked Winter Park by an open-air boat tour across three tranquil lakes.

The city has always had plenty of al fresco dining options, and many of the restaurants at Disney Springs and Universal’s CityWalk have or recently adopted their outdoor dining offerings. Pro tip: To avoid crowds, look into restaurants outside the parks, including The Osprey, a Baldwin Park eatery focused on seasonal ingredients with an attractive open kitchen and bar.

While you can’t travel to Japan at the moment, you can head to Kabooki Sushi in Sand Lake, just a few minutes from Universal’s gates, for grade-A quality sushi dishes. The Stubborn Mule is also a popular option for a delicious weekend brunch or American fare that will leave you wanting more. 

Where to stay in Orlando

Caribe Royale Orlando hotel

The quiet, comfortable boutique Alfond Inn would be our top choice this March. The hotel serves guests breakfast in a beautiful courtyard, complete with chirping birds and the sound of a soft fountain, and has a fantastic outdoor rooftop pool. Midweek rates at the end of March can be found for as low as $212 per night

Orlando, of course, is jam-packed with hotels for any personality, and there are a few running discounts during the month of March. The Rosen Plaza Hotel is offering rates starting at $89 per night through March 14; meanwhile, the Caribe Royale has a buy two-nights, get one free Winter Escape package that is valid through April 30.

Find more of the best Orlando hotels, Disney World resorts, and Orlando Airbnbs

 

New York, New York

Central Park Mall  - New York, NY

Seeing “the city” in its most innovative and resilient form, as it rehabs itself and starts to attract tourists again, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and your support of its businesses will go a long way. 

Recently opened in New York and accepting visitors with 75% reduced capacity is Edge, where it’s wise to book ahead to experience this stunning outdoor observation deck with panoramic skyline views. Just around the corner, you can also snap photos in front of The Vessel, despite the attraction being closed to explore at the moment.

With fewer crowds than normal, you can also be the first to set your eyes on the recently renovated Moynihan Station, especially if you decide to arrive by train. The modern, light, and bright new commuter hall is currently attracting architecture buffs as it attempts to restore some of Penn Station’s former glory. 

Tolerable winter conditions in March mean you should pack a warm coat so you can explore Central Park, which, if you’re lucky, may get a picturesque dusting of snow this time of year. It’s also where you’ll spot New Yorkers of all kinds, getting some much-needed exercise in socially distanced ways.

While indoor dining has just reopened in New York, the hospitality industry there has been no stranger to shutdowns and, therefore, figuring out innovative ways to serve outdoor diners. Some of the best right now include Scarpetta‘s dreamy, private dining chalets; Sola Pasta Bar’s private cottages filled with gorgeous Floratorium silk flowers and small firefly lamps; and Crown Shy‘s individual yurts. Double Chicken Please, a quirky Lower East Side bar that opened during the pandemic, is also serving quirky hot dogs and drinks from a classic frankfurter cart.

Where to stay in New York

the high line hotel new york

With average daily hotel rates in the city under $150 in March, according to Priceline, the once-cost prohibitive metropolis is within better reach than ever. We found rates from $90 to $191 for mid-month weekend dates at Gild Hall, Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, and Nomo Soho. Even posher, trendier hotel players including The High Line Hotel, The Ludlow, and The Knickerbocker Hotel can be secured for under $250 per night.

Visitors looking for a little more privacy and less interaction in New York will want to browse the current deals on Airbnb, which include this attractive studio with rotating artwork and furnishings that has birds-eye views.

Discover more of the best New York City hotels

 

Washington, DC

washington dc cherry blossoms

Whether or not you’ve visited DC before, you haven’t seen it in its glory until you’ve experienced the cherry blossoms while they’re in bloom. Be warned though, this is technically high season in DC, and even during the pandemic, hotels might be busy, especially mid-month and afterward. According to STR, a hotel market data company, average daily rates for hotels are technically down 20 to 30% in DC depending on the week, but you should still expect crowds around the pretty, pink trees that line the Tidal Basin when the city is most abuzz.

Pro tip: Even with social distancing in place, The Tidal Basin is usually the busiest spot to see the cherry blossoms, but there are also picture-perfect scenes with fewer crowds in East Potomac Park which extends to Hains Point.

In addition to flower-gazing, there are other outdoor activities to enjoy, like hopping over to the fabulous gardens at the Smithsonian. The museum itself is currently closed, which means it’s the perfect time to enjoy the attractive but often overlooked outdoor spaces here (free of charge) that feature seasonal plants, a pollination garden, a World War II vegetable garden, and more.

Discerning foodies will also want to check out the city’s food scene, which is finally receiving the accolades it deserves. Head to The Wharf, which is within walking distance from the cherry blossoms, where you can enjoy numerous shops and restaurants, many with outdoor seating. Delicious dining options here include the Vietnamese Moon Rabbit and old-fashioned-style (and highly Instagrammable) treats from the Southwest Soda Pop Shop.

Where to stay in DC

Rosewood Hotel Washington, D.C. exterior

The recently-opened Rosewood Washington, DC is the city’s finest choice for accommodations right now. Featuring 55 rooms, including 12 suites and six townhouses, the plush, contemporary furnishings throughout are ideal for stretching out and relaxing. Rooms start at $250 per night, a good value for this luxury offering, and feature something unique in the city: stunning, nature-centric views.

Discover more of the best DC hotels

Park City, Utah

Main Street - Park City, Utah

A quintessential US destination for skiers, there’s something in this mountain-adjacent town for everyone. The slopes are the obvious draw here, but you can snowmobile in the majestic Uintas, hop on a dog sled or even take a horse-drawn sleigh ride if you please. For those who prefer shopping and a more apres experience, the shops and restaurants that pack Main Street and all their small Western town charm can easily fill an afternoon. 

Those comfortable with beauty and spa services at the moment should consider all the R&R opportunities available to them in Park City as well. Whether you need a massage or not, the heated outdoor infinity pool at the Stein Eriksen Residences’s Silver Aspen Spa is worth checking out. 

In order to offer guests a safer, outdoor dining experience this season, the St. Regis Deer Valley has set up yurts that seat up to eight. Each of the yurts are based on three skiing disciplines—slalom, moguls and aerials—and feature constantly-rotating menu items for lunch, après and dinner seatings. For a small town, Park City is also filled to the brim with extraordinary restaurants and bars. Treat yourself to award-winning Italian fare at the Cena Restaurant, or head to Yuki Yama Sushi for a world-class experience.

Where to stay in Park City

Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley - Park City, Utah

No hotel is more synonymous with abundance and luxury than the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. In addition to their divine on-site restaurant, The 7880 Club, this splurge-worthy hotel offers exquisite on-mountain dining experiences. Room types range from standard deluxe rooms to expansive and immaculately-designed homes available through Stein Eriksen Residences, which are ideal for families or those looking to spend an extended stay slopeside. Rates start from $696.

Meanwhile, even in a resort town like Park City, weekend rates as low as $236 can be found in the month of March at Treasure Mountain Inn, which is notable for its close-to-the-action location at the top of Main Street. 

Find more of the best ski resorts in Utah

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 top execs at hedge fund Elliott Management have put their New York apartments up for sale as the firm moves to Miami. See inside one of the $39.5 million homes.

30 Park Place
The living room of a TriBeCa apartment that’s being listed for $39.5 million.

  • Top execs from Elliott Management are selling their New York homes, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The apartments are for sale amid a migration among Wall Street firms and executives to Florida.
  • Elliott Management plans to move into a new office in West Palm Beach, Insider reported in January.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Three top executives from hedge fund Elliott Management are putting their multimillion-dollar New York apartments on the market. 

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal’s Katherine Clarke and Cara Lombardo, the three luxury properties are being listed for sale amid a migration to Florida among Wall Street firms and executives. Insider’s Daniel Geiger and Alex Nicoll reported in January that Elliott Management was close to signing a deal to move into a 40,000-square-foot office building in West Palm Beach, and Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, and Citadel are also reportedly planning moves to the Sunshine State. 

Wall Street luminaries like Carl Icahn and Charles Schwab have also relocated from New York to Florida, and in January, hedge-fund billionaire Dan Loeb purchased a mansion in Miami Beach for $20 million. Earlier this month, the Journal reported that David Tepper is reportedly planning to buy a $73 million mansion in Palm Beach. 

The properties now up for sale in New York include a $40 million apartment, which the Journal reports belongs to Elliott’s founder, Paul Singer. The roughly 7,500-square-foot apartment has five bedrooms and six bathrooms and is located on New York’s Upper West Side. Singer plans to leave New York City but continue to live in the Northeast, the Journal reports.

Elliott’s co-CEO, Jonathan Pollock, is living in South Florida and is also selling his Upper West Side home, the Journal reports. The listing includes two adjacent apartments, which are listed for a combined $25 million. They span approximately 8,373 square feet and, combined, have seven bedrooms and a total of nine bathrooms. 

And Elliott partner Jesse Cohn, who led the attempt last year to oust Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and now sits on Twitter’s board, is selling his New York apartment as well and plans to move to West Palm Beach, according to to the Journal. 

A spokesperson for Elliott declined to comment. 

Cohn’s apartment, which spans 6,000 square feet, is being listed by Compass for $39.5 million. Take a look inside. 

Cohn’s penthouse apartment is located inside the Four Seasons in the TriBeCa neighborhood of New York City.

30 Park Place

It offers panoramic views of Manhattan and has a terrace that runs the full width of the building.

30 Park Place

The living room has 12-foot-high ceilings and a gas fireplace encased in marble.

30 Park Place

There’s a private study …

30 Park Place

… a dining room …

30 Park Place

… and an eat-in kitchen.

30 Park Place

The kitchen has professional-grade appliances and a butler’s pantry.

30 Park Place

While there’s a staircase that leads to the upper levels, they can also be accessed via a private elevator.

30 Park Place

The master bedroom has a fireplace and a wall of windows …

30 Park Place

… a private dressing room with space to work or lounge …

30 Park Place

… and a bathroom complete with a soaking tub.

30 Park Place

The playroom has its own small kitchen, as well as an adjacent bedroom for a nanny.

30 Park Place

There are five bedrooms total, as well as a separate, one-bedroom apartment on another floor, which the listing says could be used as a guest suite or private office.

30 Park Place

The building itself includes a 24-hour doorman, concierge, on-site gym, 75-foot pool, parking garage, and full-service salon and spa.

30 Park Place
Read the original article on Business Insider

Manhattan DA’s office has reportedly issued a subpoena to the NYC Tax Commission as part of an investigation into former President Trump’s company

Trump Tower
People walk past the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

  • The Manhattan DA reportedly issued a subpoena for Trump Organization records from a NYC tax agency. 
  • Reuters reported that the NYC Tax Commission confirmed it received the subpoena. 
  • The DA’s office has not publicly accused Trump or his businesses of wrongdoing.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A New York City property tax agency has been issued with a subpoena as part of a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s company, Reuters reported on Friday. 

Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance’s office reportedly issued a subpoena to the New York City Tax Commission, which is responsible for reviewing assessed values of properties.

Reuters reported that the commission confirmed it received the subpoena. 

In recent court documents, Vance’s office said its investigation is focused on “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the Trump Organization, the umbrella company for Trump’s various business interests. Vance’s office has not publicly accused Trump or his businesses of wrongdoing, Vanity Fair reported.  

Last week, it was reported that Vance’s office hired Mark Pomerantz, a prosecutor specializing in white-collar and organized crime. 

Property owners in New York City can file applications with the NYC Tax Commission to correct the assessed value of their properties, according to the agency’s website.

Records held by the agency would likely include income and expense statements from the Trump Organization, which the company may have filed in an effort to lower its tax assessments, Reuters reported.  

Vance’s office has reportedly sought documents related to the value of Trump Organization properties in New York from other sources, too. Last fall, Vance’s office issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank, according to The New York Times. That bank had served as the primary lender for Trump’s businesses for about two decades, reports said. Prosecutors last year reportedly interviewed bankers who had worked with Trump. 

Reuters reported that investigators may be looking into whether the Trump Organization sought to increase the value of its properties when seeking loans, then tried to decrease the value when paying property taxes. 

The Wall Street Journal last Saturday reported that Vance’s office was looking into loans taken out on the Trump Organization’s flagship properties in New York City. 

 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

New York prosecutors subpoenaed a property tax agency as part of a criminal investigation into Trump’s business dealings

trump impeached
  • Officials are investigating if Donald Trump manipulated the value of his assets for loan and tax benefits.
  • The Manhattan DA’s office subpoenaed a property tax agency as part of the criminal investigation.
  • It is just one of many legal challenges facing Trump since he left office last month.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office subpoenaed a property tax agency as part of a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business dealings, Reuters reported on Friday.

The New York City Tax Commission confirmed that they received the subpoena, which could likely result in detailed income and expense statements from the Trump Organization being turned over to the DA’s office.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has been conducting an ongoing investigation into Trump’s company over whether it has been inflating his property values to reduce taxes.

Last year, The New York Times reported that Trump had valued properties at significantly different amounts at different times.

For instance, his Seven Springs estate, located north of New York City, was purchased in 1995 for $7.5 million. When trying to get a loan in 2014, Trump’s company valued it at $291 million. On an ethics disclosure form in 2019, it was listed at $50 million.

Manhattan prosecutors previously subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, Trump’s primary lender for decades, seeking documents that could point to potential fraud.

They also interviewed Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, on Thursday as part of the investigation, Reuters reported.

A separate investigation is also being conducted by a New York state official, Attorney General Letitia James. James is also examining Trump’s company, as well as his personal finances, as part of an ongoing civil investigation into whether the former president manipulated the value of his assets for loan and tax purposes.

While there is overlap in what the two investigations are looking at, they are being conducted independently.

They are also just a fraction of the legal woes facing Trump now that he has left office, Insider’s Dave Levinthal has reported.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider