It boggles my mind to think that I grew up in a country where most private enterpreneurship was a criminal offence, a felony. It was like this: create a business, be scorned by your customers at best, and at worst get caught and go to a labor camp.
There were of course people engaged in small business that escaped persecution. One particular example stuck in my memory: my father once pointed out a disheveled man rooting around in books at our favorite second hand book store. The store accepted books on comission, with the book owner setting the price. The disheveled man, my father explained, did not work anywhere. He made his living from his encyclopedic knowledge of the Soviet book market. He picked underpriced books and relisted them at market prices. I did not know it back then, but this is a very common tactic called “arbitrage”. In the US it is employed by multitudes of people, from library sale scroungers as disheveled as that man, but armed with handheld computers and laser scanners hooked up to Amazon.com, to venture capitalists buying bad software companies from badly run companies and selling them to even worse run software companies at billions in profit.
In the US “Rich Dad, Poort Dad” author is making millions explaining the benefits of enterpreneurship over salaried proffesionalism, and I am in fact workin for not one, but two business magazines: Fast Company and Inc. I spent almost five years here, but it’s almost time for me to go. I did not line up the next job yet, but months ago I told my boss that I was leaving so that he could hire a replacement. My replacement is here, and I’m close to finishing knowledge transfer.
I have a few startup ideas, but what scares me is not the Soviet Militia, but the lack of affordable healthcare and the lack of a trusted technical co-founder. I am mulling taking another corporate job, and luckily Google and its ilk hoovered up web professionals, so the market looks promising.
For months I would tell myself that I would leave when the Freedom Tower would eclipse WTC 7 where I work. I’d say that time is near.
I don’t want the Freedom Tower. I want the Twins back. This is a somewhat controversial opinion – some feel that the Twins are gone forever, together with the lives of the people on the planes, in the towers and those who came to help them.
To use M. Diddy’s expression, in Corporate America controversy is not considered “a good thing”. Chock Full O’ Nuts, for instance, removed the towers from its logo.
On the other hand, many other companies still use their old skyline logos that feature the Twin Towers. I have a much bigger collection of these logos, but it’s a little hard to find all of them.
The person who designed Evergreen Diner’s cup either chose an unusual viewpoint or just drew random boxes to represent skyscrapers around WTC.
Manhattan Mini Storage even got the positions right – Citicorp then Empire State then the Twin Towers (if you look from the park towards Brooklyn).
Midtown Electric‘s view is from Brooklyn.
The painter who worked on this kiddy ride did not strive for accuracy, but I guess for the 10 or so years that I’ve seen that particular kiddy ride around I bet nobody was confused about which particular skyline was depicted there. Can any of the Freedom Tower designs do that? Because every time I am looking at the rendering with the Freedom Tower proposals I am thinking – holy crap, that’s Philadelphia (and it looks like I am not alone in that particular opinion).
For a long time the nighttime skyline of midtown Manhattan had a small but very unsettling detail. There, amongst gleaming lights of skyscrapers, it floated. A red neon “666”. Were the Satanists so bold as to purchase a giant advertising like that? Were they that wealthy? There is a company called 999 Pharmaceutical and for a while I thought that it was actually 999 somehow reflected from a mirrored surface. I haven’t seen the red neon 666 lately and kind of stopped wondering.
Yesterday, while researching Isamu Noguchi, I noticed that he designed the lobby at 666 5th Avenue. On a whim I decided to find the picture of the building – and lo and behold – the mysterious 666 turned out to be the building number made into a decorative neon sign atop that particular skyscraper.
Known then as the Tishman Building it served as headquarters for the company that built amongst other buildings World Trade Center and John Hancock Center. They will be building the Freedom Tower as well.
In 2002 either because of 9/11 or because Tishman sold the building (although the corporation still has offices there) or maybe because they finally understood that having a giant neon 666 on a building that is right next to St. Thomas Church is not kosher, “666” was replaced with a more powerful symbol of evil – the Citicorp umbrella :
(earlier I wrote about a different evil Citi neon umbrella logo )
The top floor of the building used to house an awesome restaurant called “Top Of The Sixes”. These days it houses an exclusive cigar lounge called The Grand Havana Room. Check it out: floor to ceiling windows with views to die for, overstuffed (I’ve never heard about an understaffed one) chairs, cigar vaults with personal, shared and corporate humidors and other niceties.
Unfortunately, from what I learned on Usenet, membership is 3K per year. I guess they follow the gym pricing structure (in fact a gym membership in NYC can easily cost that much).
I also remembered that Lebedev Studio(or whatever it’s called these days) has a forwarding mailbox at 666 5th. There must be a mailbox store in the building, but I did not notice one when I was there today.