New York, Sept. 15 (Reuters): While regulators and bankers flocked to the New York Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan on Sunday to decide Lehmans fate, shutterbugs descended on the banks midtown Manhattan headquarters to catch a piece of history before it disappeared.
I dont know if its still going to be Lehman in a couple months, said Dulles Wang, a fuel analyst at power company NRG Energy, who lives near Madison Square Garden.
It took a hundred years to build up a firm like this and its sad if it goes away. I wish Id taken a photo of Bear Stearns, too, he said.
Lehmans headquarters on Seventh Avenue between 49th and 50th streets, just north of Times Square, may have some of the big video screens so associated with the Crossroads of the World, but it isnt the kind of architectural wonder that usually attracts the T-shirt and camera crowd.
It features a recessed entrance with glass doors leading to the lobby. The companys name is affixed in grey, metal letters to glossy black walls flanking the doors. The nameplates, usually ignored in favour of the massive screens touting swirling, colourful videos, became an object of curiosity on a humid, sunny Sunday morning as people gawked at the home of the latest financial giant to face ruin.
Several people posed and smiled next to the nameplates before a security guard shooed them away. Nearly a dozen people took photos over the course of several hours Sunday morning. Outside Lehmans offices, employees mostly refused to talk about the negotiations or what life is like inside the building.
For some people its business as usual, but other people are worried about liquidation and that they wont have jobs, a man who worked in Lehmans investment bank unit said as he left the building.
Some people are upstairs and working on their projects, he said. Others are worried that theyll be out of work and are packing up, said the man, who declined to be identified.
Men dressed in suits came and went, while some employees entered the building with what appeared to be empty duffel bags — some sporting the Lehman brand — then left with them full.
Others — some dressed in Lehman T-shirts, emerged with accordion files, binders stuffed with papers and full valises.
A Lehman employee who spoke from home, but declined to be identified, said: Weve had no communication from the top. If Ive to find another job, Id like some warning.