Business











Bottoms' Up, Slackeys
Another Dot.Com Gets Raped

Some time ago, AGT (Applied Graphics Technologies) and APT, sister companies, were thinking of sharing 4 floors of offices at 28 West 23rd Street. In fact I think at one point, AGT actually had their offices in the space. Top 4 floors of a 12-story building on 23rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, prime space ten blocks directly south of the NYC skyline’s Big Mo’fo (and beyond question one of the splendidest buildings ever built) – your Empire State Building. But then hard-ass lawyer, real estate magneto, publisher, and aspiring Steinbrenner, Freddie D. (who owns both APT and AGT) decides he wants to have APT's corporate offices on-site with the printing plant in Moonachie, and have AGT under his watchful eye in the News building way over on like 11th and 33rd Street. So the 4 floors were sublet to various entities – Readers Digest, Bozell, and US Interactive which took the tippy-top floor. 

Reader's Digest subsequently sub-sub-let the space on 10-11 to Forbes.com, Bozell I think is still on 9, and US Interactive – who’s  stock was once $60 a share, with nearly 500 employees in 13 locations across the country and in Canada, including 140 souls in their NY city office – was on the top floor.  

New Economy Workforce of 2000

Well, all of US Interactive’s growth and activity and infrastructure was supported on revenue of $35 million/yr!  And you know, it was New Economy and Slacker Workforce all the way. They had a huge conference space that was devoted to a really nice pool table, plush leather chairs, and a gigantic ceiling mounted video system that would probably be showing such Slack TV bullshit like "Survivor" and "Ally McBeal” – apparently every Friday they threw beer blasts in there; and you can imagine with sparkling views of Big Empire Kahuna and midtown, and loud music from kick ass speakers (which now reside at Acorn Manor), there were some fun office parties with plenty of groping in the many labyrinthine offices and cubby-cles. I have abducted their softball team's bases by the way and even if I only use them once a year at my gangs’ Annual Picnic, they’re a steal!. And based on a little wall schedule which someone thoughtfully kept account of their record, this team was not that good – showed a lot of losses - doubtless like their final income statement.   But what do you expect from slacker propeller-heads?

You know this kind of New Slacker Workforce existence, where people come roaring in droves out of college and come into work and put in say a good, oh, four- or five-hour day before kicking back with the brewnos and board games, well, how long can that shit last? Hah? You tell me. These kiddies haven’t worked an honest day’s labor in their coddled lives.  Well I think around the middle of December (Merry Christmas, Slackers), someone "blew the whistle" on these offenses against capitalism and 140 slacking and sulking souls got the boot out into the Real World, and they literally just got up and left, leaving behind computers, furniture, half-eaten fruits, nasty messages on the whiteboards, etc. 

While they paid APT as the main tenant in full through their occupancy, they broke their lease which of course is usually grounds for a good screw-tight lawsuit and financial drubbing on the lease breaker. But what was Marty Krol (what a piece of work this dude is), Freddie D's chief legal hatchet man going to do? Bleed a fucking stone? Even them shysters can't bleed the stone. So the deal was, since all of the computer equipment (and it was a LOT of expensive shit) was leased, they had to move it out for their own liquidation purposes, but everything else in there was fair game for APT, and specifically the guy APT "put in charge" of overseeing the space transition (hopefully quickly) to a new sub-tenant.

Of course I hooked up my old boss Nico, singlehandedly furnishing his spanking new futuristic apt digital division with some top-notch furnishing in a series of devilishly complicated moves and proverbial logistical nightmares. I had to be duking and deking the building people for not charging me for using the freight elevator, shit was/is flying out of there like a fucken Baghdad bazaar.  Everyone was glomming onto grabbing stuff and I was shooing them away like they were annoying dames.

At one point, the building super's gofers - who resemble a couple of illiterate pirates with eyes missing but no eyepatches - must've had a good rummage through the space looking for valuables because I walked in there one morning and I thought the joint had been robbed - shit was everywhere, paper clips all over the carpets, draws emptied, pens all over, the works. 

Big Blonde Hitleresque Dame

One of the real estate agents for the building's owner - a big blonde Hitleresque dame who you'd die banging – took some prospective tenants through the space and hit the roof.  Three different moves (files, computers, various furniture, etc) and the ensuing jostling of furniture and leavings of bubble wrap and wrapping paper didn't help the appearance. Threats by Ms. Hilter of calls to Marty the K to report on the atrocious condition quickly got my attention.  With immediate authorization from my boss, Big Al, I quickly secured financing for some fly-by-nite cleaning outfit to blow through with some day-laborers and scrub the joint out – two street DUMPSTERS full of trash and detritus, and had them vacuum the carpet nice nice. Coincidentally the Hitlerian broad comes into the space just as the laborers are finishing up, she's ECSTATIC. "Rich the place looks great, it looks great!  I will be so proud to show it. We will rent it."   I hope so, for when it’s rented, I am out of it.  I helpfully open one of the big windows so she could get a "view shot" of the Con Ed tower with her digital camera to showcase the space on the net, and the dame nearly goes out the window!  

Naturally the boys who bought the dumpsters, couple of real operators from Long Island, who I swear were a couple of Italian Baldwin Brothers, expressed keen interest in the apparently ownerless items adorning the vacant space.  Such are the joys of property management.

Meantime, I got copier companies that want access to get their leased copiers; I got Pitney Bowes, wants their postage meter; I got Coca-Cola wants their soda machine with which US Interactive, financial giant, gleefully dispensed free sodie-pops to its eager beaver slack-force.   

Cherry-Picked Clean

Finally, I have to get two phone lines installed in the space (and tied to our existing NJ bill) so the fire and burglar alarms for the space - which have not been tied to the central station since the phone company killed US Interactive's lines a few weeks back -- can be reactivated and I can sleep at night; knowing that some Palookaville thieves aren't going to sledgehammer through the wall and scavenge what's left; which ain't much baby cause the good stuff's been cherry-picked clean for the greater glory of APT.  However, I do have an amazing amount of tape dispensers and staplers, and scissors and markers, pens and other office desk flotsam items.  I have a whole bunch of those black clips of various sizes, thousands upon thousands.  I have many many of those file folder step racks, perhaps hundreds.

As the guy who purchases these kinds of items for APT, these trinkets are like sex toys; and I can liberally dispense them throughout the company and not pay a dime, which every dime APT needs, to avoid the startling and awful fate of an internet company gone south.

END  

To make a long story short, I work as an admin dude/buyer for a printing company and I moonlight as a property manager and furniture salesman. Ya foller?

-- Dick Acorn