I always laugh at this scene from the 1983 classic “Trading Places”. Two hapless old men are successful in completely messing with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd’s characters’ lives, until they aren’t. At the end of the movie, when the Duke brothers are bankrupt, they are yelling in vain: “Get Those Brokers Back in Here! Turn the Machines Back On! Turn the Machines Back On!” They wanted to get back their losses. And there was nothing to be done. Trading was done for the day. Margin calls were due. Whatever hit the fan had done its work.
This is a little bit of the way we felt in March. We had not done anything wrong, in particular, just as no other broker in the rest of the United States with houses to sell had done anything particularly right. The pandemic just happened. And New York City and San Francisco were the two cities that really took it on the chin.
We scratched our heads, thought of ways to stay motivated, including writing and recording music, launching spring cleaning philanthropies and gearing up for the June reopening of our market. Brokers everywhere else saw their markets appreciate 20-50% year over year. Good for them! We looked to the future.
And here we are. The machines are clearly back on again. And the brokers are back in here. It’s a clear day, the sun is out, and in New York, if you squint just right, things look almost normal. Traffic, neurosis, people yelling to themselves walking down the street. Reservations at good restaurants are harder to get. People are in business suits, worried about looking good. Times Square is empty, but it’s still not a place any locals want to go.
We take a moment of silence for the year that just happened. We mourn those we lost. And we look forward to the lives that are ahead of us. New York is not dead. It’s not on pause. It’s back. More and more so each day. -Scott