Photo: Katya Wachtel for Business Insider
Yes ladies and gentleman, it’s that time of year again.And what would a Clusterstock Christmas be without a brutal rating of every financial firm’s – within a reasonable distance – attempt at spreading Christmas cheer through the office.
We went downtown and to midtown, in search of the best and worst Wall Street Christmas decorations.
We begin our journey at Goldman. Look at the photo. You'd never even know it was the holidays. If Goldman Sachs was a Christmas movie, it would be The Grinch.
I suppose the bank has to lose at least one competition.
Morgan Stanley used those presents last year & they don't look any less nasty.
I know there are giant, sparkly wreaths hanging inside the building because I saw them, but I was removed by the security guard when I got out my camera. But with no photo evidence, unfortunately, no points.
Ok Barclays - that pretty much looks like a regular bouquet of flowers with sparkly red objects thrown in.
Although considering Barclays is where Lehman went to 'pass', it's understandable the decorations aren't super swanky.
The Fed's tree was actually very pretty, so I don't know why on earth they'd stick it up above a door where, unless you happen to be looking for Xmas decorations for a slideshow because you work for a business news website, you'd never see it.
It didn't take much to beat Goldman's effort and Citi is probably a little wary of hanging extravagant decorations considering the government only just exited the firm.
Compared to its competitors, pretty paltry... On the other hand, their security guards didn't chase me away.
AIG Consultants were very pretty. Maybe a touch restrained? On display was this beautful, big tree, and also two huge matching wreaths hung over each revolving door.
Sparkle without gaudiness is always hard to achieve and they've managed to do it. No menorah though. For pure elegance and simplicity, they deserve a decent mark.
FINRA's tree and wreath looked really perfect in the space. The tree was clearly made for this lobby and looked very cool in front of that Versace-esque screen.
FINRA didn't have much space to play with so I think they executed the decoration display perfectly.
Except I didn't see a menorah.
I barely got within 10 feet of Deutsche's Wall Street office before I was halted by a security guard. They were not excited about this slideshow AT all.
Thank goodness Deutsche has another office in midtown, which, by the time I got to it, was a cinch for image capture because by that stage I had become more adept at being a paparazzo.
The German bank's Park Ave outpost was pretty decent. The decorations were pretty and there were lots of them.
I would have gone higher but I have to be ruthless, and there was nothing incredibly unique about this batch. Admittedly I might have been turned off by the dated lobby and abundance of indoor plants.
I loved BNY's massive wreaths, which looked pretty spectacular against the yellowy-themed interior.
This was moments before the lady starting flailing her arms around to gesture at me to stop my paparazzi activities.
The trees - there were a couple - were very pretty but in the context of the open plan of the bank's ground floor, they could have been much bigger. Still, very nice and I'm really grasping at straws here because I'm trying to not give everyone an A.
The decorations at the Amex building had a narrative. You begin with a pre-show, a couple of pretty, but not overbearing wreaths as you enter the building. Extra points for the totally unsupiscious security guards who didn't hassle me once.
Then these two stunning trees appear in your vision as the escalator escalates. The trees are standing in front of a wall covered in a giant mural, and the green and silver in the tree clearly mirror the palate of the painting behind it - obviously no coincidence.
And the menorah has a prominent position and it's almost like a person greeting you hello. There was another wooden menorah, plus another giant tree around the corner. Good job. And one made even more glorious because I had just come from the Goldman Sachs building.
Those French sure know how to dress. A few displays were worthy of the words 'sophisticated' and 'elegant' but none more so than Credit Agricole. It was the Christmas decoration incarnation of some sexy, yet elegant, French style icon.
If it there was a little something more to it, I would have gone higher, but based on pure aethetics, it deserves a high mark. I mean look at that 'statement' wreath.
Brown Brothers decorations were pretty; modern; copious. Menorah got a nice prominent position. There were at least 6 trees that I could see, with giant golden orbs underneath that looked like those massive rubber excercise balls - but classy ones.
It's always a pleasure to be in the presence of fairy lights, but the reflection of them on the windows (because Brown Brothers had strung them up in the trees facing their office) was really - and I know this sounds trite, and maybe I was just delirious from the cold - but magical. It just was.
For their modern take on Christmas, without the minimalism of modernism that would make it boring, they deserve a top grade.
My first JP Morgan stop was the Wall St office. No theme here, though the tree was awesome. There was a menorah and charity box thingy. But the lobby is huge and this little trio seemed kind of sad just sitting there, all alone. The security guard was lovely - so extra points there.
Then, I got to Park Avenue: pretty impressive. All the trees outside were lit up in JP Morgan-blue lights. And every column outside of the building had a huge bow-bauble-wreathy-sparkly affair hanging off it, which was super pretty.
And inside was one big decoration party. Several huge trees; luminous wreaths; a lit-up menorah! And JP had done this not only in this office building, but in the opposite office too. They had a lot of ground to cover and they did not fail.
Like last year, UBS had these giant nutcracker toys outside the Park Avenue office - amazing. The display was so good, people were having their photo taken in front of it and Christmas tunes were blaring out of from somewhere in garden bed. I took about 30 pics and if I'd been a less self-conscious, I would have asked someone to take my photo in front of them. PLUS - there was music! Christmas music! Blaring out of the garden bed.
And the interior was not neglected despite the outside extravangza - it didn't stop them from decking the halls too. This was at the 6th Ave.
Plus they're obviously thinking about all those who aren't in as lucky position as they are this holiday season, and bankers are forced to remember that everytime they exit the elevator bank. For aesthetic splendor, music and abundance UBS gets one of the highest grades.
There are two BlackRock buildings on 52nd St. These trees and wreaths are pretty stunning. Only qualm is with that 'tree' under which the presents are piled. What is it? Why not put an actual tree there. Obviously they can afford it.
Also, no menorah.
BUT what REALLY increased the BlackRock love, was this, building #2. What is it? Some sort of miniature bear village filled with little bears doing Christmas-y things. The bears moved up and down and danced and twirled. There was music and snow.
And upstairs, they had a tree, and a ton of presents, and off to the left, fake snow and a mini sleigh. Also no security guard flustered-ness at all.
But what realllly got me, was this: StarBears Coffee.
Starbears... Coffee! So good.
The fact that I just couldn't get enough pics of this display and I wanted to put about 12 of them in this slideshow, means something.
For uniqueness, music, humour, security guard kindness and 10 other reasons, BlackRock is the winner!
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