the eavesdropper

Listening In Outside Goldman Sachs’s Headquarters

Photo-Illustration: by Curbed; Photo Getty Images

Living in New York means constantly, discreetly listening in — to breakups at bars, friend fights on the subway, and gossip about complete strangers or, from time to time, people you do in fact know. But what happens when one situates themselves in ultraspecific spots around the city over extended periods of time and listens intently? One learns a surprising amount about the state of things. Here, we stood in front of Goldman Sachs’s headquarters at lunchtime — the employees were nervous about layoffs and generally uncertain about the winter dress code.

I feel bad for him. The guy is always so happy. I’m like, Why is he so happy?

So we used to make cleaning products and now we make flamethrower fluid.
Yeah, it’s all the same thing. This Chicago parking-meter company is now making rocket grenades for the U.S. Army.

I’m going out this weekend.
Bro, I’m going out.
Bro, I’m down.

They raised my rent but didn’t raise it that much. I’m paying $2,500 for a one-bedroom in Tribeca, and I wouldn’t say I’m the best tenant, so I did another year.

So we’re sitting there, and every time I’m like, “Does it feel like it’s perfect? Does it feel like it’s the best? Does it represent our values?” [X] is always like, “Oh, it’s good enough.” I’m just like, “Does this represent your best? Because we just lost credibility with all the fitness teams globally.”

You have to register your bio data.
Just to get to the 21st floor?

So, getting serious. I didn’t show you what I did this weekend. It came out nice. I know you have this appreciation. I put in this stone path with these hydrangeas. It came out nice.

These big banks are not in trouble in terms of people coming in and disrupting their entire business. But they are in trouble with having people pick them off for parts. Someone will pick off the trading, the lending. It’s like death by a thousand cuts.

He was, like, concerned for a second he was going to be fired.
He’s not gonna be fired.
He’s fine now. But in that moment, he left the building and didn’t come back. He was shook.

When they broke up, she’s like, “Are you not gonna be my friend?”
You don’t owe her everything. She literally did what she said she would not do with the person she said she would not do it with.

I was like, “When it comes to a trade, you do verbal, no matter what.”

Isn’t she studying for her exam?
She failed all of them.
That looks so bad on her.
I was like, “You’re gonna get fired.”
I go out, too, but my shit is in order.

I’m so happy we got to see you because when we were on the vineyard–
We were gonna do two weeks next year.
We were there five months last year.

Literally [X] and [X], half of those guys are asshole management

This shit is problem staffed.
These Wall Street guys. It is what it is.

How’s [X] been doing?
Last I talked to him, he was doing AP on spec.
He seems kind of shy.
A little bit. I tried to help him out with the severance package thing. He was very nervous about it.
From what I understand, he was at 1.5 and went to 1.7.

Hiring people sucks.
It’s just how you get scale.

So what’s the dress code in winter? Overcoats?
Traditionally, a hoodie.
I wear a sweater.
I wear a coat.
My general setup is a button-down, a sweater, and then my overcoat.
So you dress with class.
But also people generally don’t come in in the winter.
I’ll probably be in Tampa.

I’ve heard he wasn’t, like, super-engaged. He’s, like, raising four kids and, like, working from home permanently.

She definitely led some of these dudes on, but at the end of the day, that’s on them

But yeah, it’s like a whole other level of responsibility. I think anyone who is upwardly mobile, I think one thousand percent, just do it. I was very much ready for it.
It is what it is.
It’s also fucking expensive. Especially if you’re gonna work and she’s gonna work as well. Day care is mad expensive.

That’s another cheap option
Oh, hot dogs? I feel like I would die of food poisoning.
I feel like I have to get one at some point. But I am not feeling it today.

Do a lot of clients call in daily? Weekly?
When I was at UBS, the people had $500,000. They’d be calling in daily through the market turmoil we’re in now. But these people have $500 million. So they’re cool.

Who did you meet yesterday?
I met [X].
Was I saying the wrong name?
Whatever, same thing. He’s the one with red hair who dresses so nice. He’s gonna be your main guy.
Oh my God, I didn’t know that. He’s so young.

They were checking our IDs all the time. They’re like, “Yeah, IDs.”
That’s because you don’t look that old.
It’s because I’m Asian. Come on.

Just keep, like, receipts.

Listening In at Goldman Sachs