Amid a surge in some New York City violent crime, Wall Street bigwigs continue to encourage younger staffers to come into the office — but to do so with caution.
At Bank of America, senior executives have quietly encouraged younger employees to “dress down” to attract less attention as they make their way to B of A’s tower at 1 Bryant Park.
These execs have told their staffers that dressing up, or wearing anything with a Bank of America logo, could make them a target. One bank employee told On The Money he is on high alert after he spotted someone with a knife near the office during a recent trek to the Manhattan office.
Of course, it’s not just Bank of America where worries over crime pervade. The city reported a 15 percent increase in felony assaults over the past 28 days, as of Nov. 28, when compared to the same period a year ago, according to NYPD statistics. (Murder rates have surged 42 percent over the past two years, but remained largely flat over the past year.)
One top executive at a large money-management firm even recently began carrying a Taser as he commutes to his Midtown office, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told On The Money.
And after daylight-saving time ended last month, more people are commuting home in the dark, giving worries over crime a renewed focus.
In areas surrounding Hudson Yards, the problem has been especially acute: For commuters coming into Penn Station or the Port Authority Bus Terminal, walking the few blocks to the Far West Side after dark on largely deserted streets, except for sometimes menacing vagrants, can feel dangerous, sources told On The Money.
Bank of America is adjacent to Times Square — and like Hudson Yards, many employees use Penn Station and Port Authority as transportation hubs en route to the office.
Bank of America declined to comment for this story.
Some companies like Citibank are offering employees private shuttles so they can avoid public transportation altogether. And most major banks will offer employees car service if they work after-hours.
It’s not just Midtown where crime has taken center stage. A Wall Street source who works downtown told On The Money “it’s been a topic of conversation on the floor frequently over the last few months.”
“Some people I work with have been accosted … I’d say it’s becoming frequent, if not common,” the source said. “There’s probably a dozen incidents that I saw, or have been involved in,” the person said — mostly verbal, but some physical, the person said.
Some executives say the new state of affairs could be here to stay.
“Undoubtedly, part of getting people back to the office in NYC is about making the streets and subways safer,” Ronn Torossian, CEO of PR firm 5WPR told On The Money. “I would venture less than 50 percent of people are back to the office full-time — and I don’t know if that ever changes in NYC.”
He said only 35 percent of his 275 employees are back at his firm’s Park Avenue headquarters, where staffers work with people in the finance and other corporate industries.
Still, some are optimistic the impending mayoral regime change could usher in a new era of safety and prosperity after the mayor-elect ran on a public safety platform.
“I’m encouraged that Eric Adams will take a hard line,” one Wall Street executive told On The Money. “But it’s almost like he can’t get her soon enough to restore law and order.”