Signs of swagger, Wall St dares to indulge | business | Hindustan Times
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Signs of swagger, Wall St dares to indulge

business Updated: Nov 24, 2010 21:37 IST
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Exuberance made a comeback this year at Josh Koplewicz’s annual Halloween party. More than 1,000 people packed into a 6,000-square-foot space at the Good Units night club in Manhattan. The open bar was sponsored by Russian Standard vodka, and Koplewicz, an investment analyst at Goldman Sachs.

The scene was more extravagant in September, at a 50th birthday party in Hong Kong for Brian Brille, the head of Bank of America Asia Pacific. Brille, is well known on the New York social scene, wore a gray Hugh Hefner-esque jacket.

Two years after the onset of the financial crisis, the stock market is recovering and Wall Street’s moneyed elite are breathing easier again. And this means in some cases they are spending again — at times cautiously, but sometimes with a familiar swagger.

It’s true that firms scaled back the corporate excesses, like fancy retreats and private jets, for which they were vilified as a brutal recession gripped the country. Many of those constraints remain in place, like flying commercial on business trips, or more limited private car service for employees.

But when it comes to personal indulgences, there are signs that the wallets are beginning to open up. Traders and executives say that jobs seem much more secure. Businesses whose fortunes ebb and flow with the financial markets are thriving again.

“Wall Street is back spending as much if not more than before,” said the New York cosmetic surgeon Francesca J. Fusco, whose business is booming again after a difficult few years.

Expensive restaurants report a pickup in bookings. At the Porter House restaurant in the Time Warner Center across from Central Park, the head chef, Michael Lomonaco, said business is up about 10% over a year ago and “people are starting to shake off what happened.” The restaurant is a favorite of A-list Wall Street executives.