Mount Sinai vs. Central Park

The massive Mount Sinai Hospital fills a few blocks on Fifth Avenue alongside Eastern Central Park. The big Annenberg Building, built in 1976, literally towers above all other structures. Many have called it an eyesore and are keen on the block’s destruction. In what can only be called a revenge act, the hospital management has fought back by building another tower nearby.

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Schomburg Plaza

Up ten blocks from the Mount Sinai is this additional beauty from the 1970s called Schomburg Plaza (thanks to Julius for the hint!). The two towers have been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the past. Looking for information, I also stumbled upon an interesting exchange about how safe it is to live in South Harlem.

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NYC housing

Another big issue in New York – and perhaps more so than in other big cities – is the scarcity of affordable housing. The Democratic mayoral candidates have all come forward with ambitious plans to increase the supply of subsidised units. Is that the best way to address the overall problem?

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NYC crime

The mayoral campaign is a great occasion to get newcomers like myself acquainted with the big issues in this town. One of these, stop-and-frisk, the US equivalent to the UK’s stop-and-search policy, has been under attack as it disproportionately targets Blacks and Hispanics.

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New York

Welcome to New York City! We arrived here a few days ago and are slowly settling in. In what has become tradition since Japan, my instincts immediately led me to two iconic 1950s buildings on Park Avenue. Jotting down some observations is one thing, yet I feel that exploring this city may need some more structure this time.

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Lever House

Just across the street from the Seagram Building is another classic from the early period of modernist New York skyscrapers. It was the pet project of “boy wonder” career-changer Charles Luckman. The building inspired other skyscrapers around the world, even reaching my native Berlin in the process.


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Seagram Building

The Seagram Building is German architect Mies van der Rohe’s sole contribution to New York’s skyline. In a city full of skyscrapers, his 1958 commission to build the Canadian liquor company’s headquarter manages to stand out until this day. Unlike any other NYC building, it also epitomises the downside of modernist architecture – its dismal environmental record.

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Some NY startups

New York is a veritable Silicon Valley rival. I stumbled upon this great list of about 600 NY-based startups. To get a feel for what’s happening in my new home I clicked through all of their websites. Herewith some of the tabs I kept open.


Kapitall is a venture that attempts to break down the barriers to investing. It uses simple and intuitive interfaces that make investing in the stock market accessible to those normally left out. Its mission is simple, it aims to cut out the complexity (e.g. make investing as simple as drag and drop) while still allowing for intelligent investing. In the end, there’s a clear business case as well – Kapitall has an attached brokerage.

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