Wall Street really has come to an end:
Staying at the Embassy Suites Hotel in lower Manhattan has its perks: The nightly manager’s happy hour features free beer and popcorn. Flash a room key and earn a seat at the complimentary all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and a 10% discount at the Chevy’s Mexican-style restaurant next-door…
It’s a far cry from the plusher digs Goldman employees used to enjoy at the Ritz-Carlton and the Carlyle. But cost-cutting and government oversight mean finding out how the other half lives.
Some of the bankers aren’t happy with the switch. “No one’s supposed to complain out loud, but, let’s face it, we’re spoiled,” says one Goldman employee. “They turned us into hotel snobs.”
One night recently, a dozen Goldman employees from the Chicago office were yucking it up at happy hour, which starts at 5:30 sharp. The group was huddled around three tables in a cafeterialike room overlooking the headquarters of Merrill Lynch & Co., now owned by Bank of America, drinking free Budweiser out of plastic cups and eating pretzels and tortilla chips. Another evening, topics of conversation around the bar ranged from Bermuda reinsurers to hedge-fund fraud.