Sunday, May 03, 2015

Last One Out

I took my last walk down Reade Street on Thursday.

For the last four years I’ve been taking a bleary-eyed stroll down this quite block to attend a 7AM boxing class twice a week at the New York Sports Club’s Tribeca facility.

There was a time when getting up so early for such a brutal workout was absolutely unthinkable to me, but I gradually got used to it and now I actually prefer the dawn patrol routine.

The people in the class are great and you once you’re done, you’re done for the day.

But like so many other businesses in the city, the Reade Street gym got muscled out by Manhattan’s stratospheric rents.

The building’s owners jacked the current fee from $21,000 to forty grand a month and the NYSC front office elected to shut down the gym down rather than fork over the dough.

It was a surreal experience having the class on that last day of the gym’s existence.

The place was sparsely populated, the young woman at the desk didn’t bother checking our IDs and I had to ask her for a roll of toilet paper. Luckily she had a spare behind the counter.

We’ll be moving our class to the nearby City Hall gym, which is actually a little closer for me. But it’s going to be strange after all that time at Reade Street.

My company is also on the move, relocating from our fabulous building at 195 Broadway to a new location across the river in Hoboken. It means a longer, more expensive commute, of course, but the company will be saving money and that’s all that matters.

And 195 Broadway is being overhauled. The vast lobby that dates back to the early Twentieth Century, the former headquarters of AT&T, is going to have a high-end sushi restaurant and some other retailer built within that beautiful space.

Pack It In

I thought the city’s landmark preservation laws would’ve prevented this kind of thing, but it looks like I was wrong. It’s so infuriating because that spacious lobby was a part of the architect’s vision—it’s supposed to be empty.

But today’s real estate piranhas only see dollar signs when they lay their greedy little eyes on empty space and they must build, build, build.

This is a very challenging time for me. I’m due for a sharp course correction in my career and my life and it’s liable to be a very painful one.

There’s so much change going on, and while I know that change is inevitable, it’s still a bit unnerving. I find that far too often in my life I’m not an agent of change; I’m a victim of it.

I’ve been far too cautious and fearful for far too long. So it’s time to let go out of all these worries that are strangling me.
My father used to say “scared money never won,” and I know he was right, but I have to confess that I’m pretty scared right now.

However, I also know that fear only blots out the light and that leads to desperation.

I went to the NYSC club in my neighborhood on Saturday morning and I walked by the Middle Eastern grocery store where I used to buy walnuts and almonds.

But it’s closed now and the lovely elderly couple that ran the place chose to shut down and move to Philly to be with their son’s family rather than pay higher rent. A Norwegian specialty store on the next block shut its doors back in January after being in business for 30 years, another victim of climbing rents.

I did a cycling class to help cut down on the stress and depression and I did feel better, at least for a little while.

On the way out of the building I passed a young father and his little girl who were coming up the stairs.

“I’m scared,” she said as they reached the second landing.

“You won’t fall,” the father said soothingly.

No, she won’t. And neither will I.


Ron said...

Rob, I love the way you ended this post. Brilliant!

" jacked the current fee from $21,000 to forty grand a month."

OMG...forty grand a month?!?

And I am so sorry to hear about your company moving to another location because I've seen where you work and that building is beyond fabulous! Plus, it's in a great location.

This same sort of thing is happening in Philly as well. And even though it's much, much cheaper to live here than NY, Philly is starting to think that it's NY (NOT!), so it's raising the rents on offices, stores, and apartment rentals. In the past several years, I've seen so many business close down, due to rent increases.

And speaking of change, I too have gone through a recent change that I will be sharing on my blog next week. But allow me to say that I too was hesitant to make this change, but I'm so glad I did because it all worked out for the better. And it will for you too, I know it.

So keep the faith. You never know what great things lie ahead for you. Just believe.

Have a super week, buddy!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, thank you so much. I really need some serious encouragement right now and your kind thoughts really hit the spot. I am nervous and frightened but I am also determined to succeed.

I'm sorry to lean that Philly is also losing businesses due to rent increases. The country will soon be one vast shopping mall with nothing but chain stores.

I'm glad your change turned out better for you and I can't wait to hear about it.

Take care, buddy!

Bijoux said...

It's always sad to me when long-time businesses get priced out of the market. Change is inevitable, but never less painful!

Rob K said...

It is painful, Bijoux, especially when you know the store owners.

You feel like a portion of your life is being erased. But we have very little choice in the matter.

Take care!

Stephanie Faris said...

Change is tough...but if you look back over your life, some of the most exciting moments happened because of change...I hope your new location is as good to you as the old one was.

A Cuban In London said...

Loved your post's ending. The innocent question and the parental reassurance. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Rob K said...

Oh, thank you! I find I'm observing children a lot more lately--and I'm learning some valuable lessons.

Rob K said...

@Stephanie--thanks so much for the support. Without change we become dull and disinterested. That's what I'm going through now and I'm going to change.