And the place to get the latest information on when

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And the place to get the latest information on when we would be moving in was Salvatore’s Barber Shop in the basement of One New York Plaza. A significant proportion of the guys on our trading floor used to go down for a quick “wig adjustment” and a hot towel after the market closed. A lot of honchos and power players also used to go there, including Hank Paulson and Duncan Niederauer, former Goldman partner and then CEO of the NYSE. I was once having a haircut and then–New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo pulled into the chair next to mine for a snip. As October turned to November, my barber, Mike, was tracking the move-in date closely. “Mr. Cohn was in here yesterday, and he said two weeks,” he’d tell me. Or, “Harvey Schwartz [cohead of Global Securities] said no later than Thanksgiving.” Much of the anticipation about the move centered on the new cafeteria. The cafeteria on the forty- third floor of One New York Plaza had been, to put it mildly, uninspiring if not outright unappetizing. The new facility, with its high, glorious ceiling and sparkling fixtures, looked like a cathedral by comparison. From the moment we moved in, however—the Equities division, the guinea pigs, moved over just after Thanksgiving—we realized that something was terribly wrong with the new cafeteria. Maybe it was poor management; maybe it was bad feng shui, but the place turned out to be absolute chaos. There was some flaw in the design or layout that no one could ever quite figure out. People were constantly running into each other, literally knocking each other over. There were frequently multiple lines at the grill, salad, sandwich, and omelet stations. There were always long lines to check out. It was all very strange. Clearly, no expense had been spared on the facility; the space was tremendous. Crowds formed anyway. Things got so bad that, at one point, Human Resources sent out an e-mail saying that anyone who came for lunch between 11:00 and 11:30 A.M. or between 2:00 P.M. and 2:30 would receive a 25 percent discount. (Believe it or not, there were a couple of managing directors, earning $1 million-plus a year, who were always very eager to take advantage of these savings.) This same e-mail also encouraged people to use the “external” options (aka takeout) in the World Financial Center, so as to reduce crowding and chaos in the Goldman cafeteria. The firm never seemed able to fix this problem. Some employees seemed to relish the Early Bird Special. Indeed, one of my colleagues got in the habit of lunching at 11:15 A.M. every day, but he was also the sort of managing director who once took a client skiing, bought a ChapStick at the bottom of the mountain, and then put in a one-dollar expense report to cover the cost of the lip balm. This parsimonious behavior did not go unnoticed by our boss, who upon seeing the one-dollar expense report, started berating the fellow.
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“Are you fucking kidding me? A one-dollar ChapStick? How much money did you make last year?” yelled our boss. “Fair point. Fair point. Fair point…” was all the managing director could mutter in his defense.
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