Sleeping at the office on Wall Street
Ø 1) Read the heading and the following words from the text and guess what this text is about:residential area, outdated commercial buildings, the financial district, to convert into apartment blocks, the transformation, office blocks are unsuitable for modern needs, senior executives, leafy suburbs, downtown rents are 15-20% cheaper, to trade something for no commute and a much bigger place at a much lower price.
Ø 2) Skim the text and name the “signal words” that help the author to introduce a new idea, to develop the idea, to provide examples, to explain the idea, to make a conclusion.
(1) When Paul Polichino said he wanted to work on Wall Street, he had little idea that he would end up living there, too. But thanks to rocketing rents elsewhere in Manhattan, Mr. Polichino has found himself caught up in an unlikely trend: the emergence of the central financial district as New York’s latest up-and-coming residential area.
(2)In what has been dubbed as Wall Street's other boom, developers are snapping up outdated commercial buildings in the financial district and converting them into ritzy apartment blocks that are rapidly filling up with young professionals.
(3)Three months ago, Mr. Polichino and three room-mates moved into a four-bedroom apartment costing $3,180 (£1,975) a month at 45 Wall Street, a 28-storey building that used to be the New York offices of Atlantic Mutual Insurance and US Trust.
(4)From there, Mr. Polichino, 22, enjoys one of the world's shortest commutes - a walk across the street to J.P. Morgan, the Wall Street investment bank, where he has just started work as an analyst. “It’s about 50 steps,” he says. “It takes a minute or two, depending on how long I have to wait for the elevator.”
(5)New York’s financial district seems an improbable candidate for gentrification. It is the biggest commercial district in the US after mid-town Manhattan and Chicago’s Loop, encompassing about 100m sq ft of office space and employing about 400,000 office workers.
(6)At present, few people live among the skyscrapers, and the stores and restaurants have no reason to stay open once the office workers have gone home. Like the financial centres of London and other big cities, it is a hollow, empty place at evenings and weekends.
(7)But things are changing fast. The last of 435 apartments at 45 Wall Street has just been let. Another 345 are being let at 25 Broad Street, the former headquarters of PaineWebber, and 565 are near completion at 127 John Street, the former Cotton and Cocoa Exchange.
(8)Behind the transformation is a fall in demand for downtown office space. The financial district’s elderly office blocks are unsuitable for modern needs. Besides, senior executives prefer a midtown location because it puts them within walking distance of Grand Central station and its commuter train links with their homes in the leafy suburbs.
(9)In 1995, with vacancy rates at 30 per cent and entire buildings standing empty, New York came up with a plan to revitalize the downtown area by offering big tax breaks to developers who agreed to convert office buildings to apartment blocks.
(10)According to the Alliance for Downtown New York, a joint public and private sector organization formed to promote the area, some 2,000 apartments are at or near completion, and 7,000 more are expected to appear over the next five years. “It’s exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations,” says Carl Weisbrod, the alliance’s president.
(11)New York’s rapidly rising rents help explain the high take-up. Nancy Packes, President of Feathered Nest, a leading New York real estate agent, says rents rose by an average of 30 per cent in the three years to last December, and shot up by 10 per cent more in the first six months of this year.
(12)Because of the tax breaks, downtown rents are typically 15-20 per cent cheaper than those in the more popular residential areas of New York - a boon to newcomers like Mr. Polichino and his room-mates, all recent graduates from Georgetown University in Washington DC.
(13)“We wanted to live on the upper East side or upper West side, nearer to Central Park,” Mr. Polichino says. “But we’ve traded that for no commute and a much bigger place at a much lower price.”
(14)One big drawback to the financial district is that, so far, it remains almost devoid of the amenities people take for granted in the rest of Manhattan, such as supermarkets, movie theatres, restaurants and bars.
(15)But Rockrose Development Corporation, the company that developed 45 Wall Street, says this has not proved to be a problem. “A lot of these people are not even buying groceries. They work hard and go out to eat,” says Mr. Thomas Elghanayan, the company’s President. “And it’s only a short walk to Soho, Tribeca, and the hottest restaurants in New York.”
(16)Mr. Elghanayan believes that local merchants open during the daytime will start to extend their hours as the residential population builds up. Meanwhile, in a sign of the times, Regal Cinemas, a Tennessee chain, has just announced plans to open a 16- or 17-screen movie theatre, the biggest in New York, across from the World Financial Center. “We think we’ve got a jump start on it,” says Mr. Polichino. “In six months, we think this place is going to be a lot livelier.”
Ø 3) Name the paragraphs which give the answers to these questions:
a)Why are downtown rents cheaper than those in the more popular residential areas of New York?
b)What is one big drawback of this new residential district?
c)Did Paul Polichino expect that he would not only work on Wall Street but live there too?
d)Where would he like to live?
e)Why then does he live in 45 Wall Street?
f)What kind of apartment did he move into?
g)How can New York’s financial district be characterized?
h)What plan did New York come up with in 1995?