How do people relax on Wall Street

New York City

"I miss life"

Three busy workers in New York City. Three models that make your everyday life easier.

Text: Mischa Täubner
Illustration: Jan Robert Dünnweller

• My friend Tim Wine and his wife practice division of labor: he brings the money, she takes care of everything private. The classic model, only the two of them take it to the extreme.

He is an investment banker at a Japanese bank based in Manhattan and works ten hours a day, six days a week. Tim makes enough money that the family can afford a condo on Broadway and an expensive private school for their two daughters.

To call his wife Carrol, who used to be an investment banker, a housewife would be wrong. A cleaning lady ensures that the apartment is tidy. Babysitters are responsible for accompanying the children to their musical and sporting activities after school. She herself coordinates the staff, plans the summer camps for the children and family vacations, is responsible for ensuring that everyone eats well, is well dressed and that everyone goes to the cinema or a nice restaurant with friends at the weekend.

At one of these dinners, at "El Toro Blanco" on 6th Avenue, it was recently revealed how far Tim and Carrol have carried their division of labor. To take the order, the waitress turned to Tim, who then referred to Carrol, saying, "My wife knows best what I like."

The clear responsibilities are practical, but unsatisfactory in the long run, he confided to me afterwards: “I'm missing my life.” By the way, his name is not Tim Wine. His real name is just not supposed to appear here because his wife doesn't yet know about his frustration.

New York is one of the metropolises in which trends are born - also because many things are extreme there: for example, the cost of living and the lack of time. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Americans work an average of 1,780 hours a year, 424 more than Germans. And within the USA, comparisons show time and again, New Yorkers are particularly busy. So it's no wonder that business models are emerging there that make this kind of life possible for people in the first place.

There is a high-rise building on Wall Street in which the WeWork company offers office workplaces on five floors and apartments on another 20 floors. For its members, as the tenants are called there, the company organizes daily happy hours with free beer, as well as regular barbecues on the roof terrace.

One of the reasons life in New York is so stressful is that the way to and from work takes up so much time that not much remains after work. The house on Wall Street seems like the perfect answer. Those who live there can take the elevator from the office to their apartment, the social contacts are right next door. I have come across many young people in this house who have shown how convenient and efficient it is to live like this.

One of the people who moved out for this very reason is Michael Nguyen. He says, “WeWork makes your life incredibly easy. You don't have to worry about anything. Even your bed is made. You don't even have to bring furniture with you when you move in. Everything is already there. I lived there for a year and a half and I loved it. As a company founder, like me, you have a passion for your work. And the house makes it easy for you to fully focus on it. Everyone there only has their work in mind, and it's only a stone's throw from bed to office. There is a café and a restaurant in the house, so I didn't even have to go shopping. I really loved it. But then I suddenly had the feeling that I have to get out of there. I realized that I was no longer aware of the outside world and that someone else was organizing my life. "

Michael Nguyen thinks it is possible that it is due to his age. As an over 50-year-old, he grew up in a time when work and private life were separate spheres - in contrast to millennials, who did not feel the need to break out of their filter bubble.

The New York company Hello Alfred offers a service that promises people to save time without losing their privacy. Founded in 2014, it has raised $ 52.5 million in venture capital to date and has expanded rapidly since partnering with major real estate companies. For the rent they pay, their customers get not only a chic apartment in a beautiful city location, but also the services of an Alfred, a kind of butler, who manages the household.

Hello Alfred helps people to "live a meaningful life", so the self-promotion. One who took advantage of this help until he recently moved to the country is Brian Jeffords, vice president of a cyber security company.

Mr. Jeffords, what did the butler help you with?

He came once a week and tidied up, filled the dishwasher, disposed of the rubbish, made the bed, brought shirts to be cleaned, bought groceries and flowers. Sometimes he would also do things like assemble a shoe cabinet that I had shopped online.

Were you satisfied with him?


Did you tell him which flowers you like?

I left the choice to him.

And that of the food?

At the beginning I told him what I would like to have. Later he knew that on his own.

Did you get to know him personally?

Yes, once.

How did you communicate?

Via the Hello Alfred app.

It's almost as anonymous as room service in a hotel.

When you come home from a long day at work, you are happy when everything is done and fresh flowers are on the table.

Thanks to Hello Alfred, so the promise, the user should be able to concentrate on the essentials in life. What is that with you?

The service relieves you of the unpleasant tasks of everyday life.

Can't shopping for flowers be nice too?

I prefer to spend the time outside of work relaxing.

How long have you been working?

13-hour days are normal. I travel a lot, fly to customers in Dallas or London. I spend around 120 nights a year away from home.

There is no time at all.

Little. ---