Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 12:22 UK

Ripples spread from Wall Street losses

By Dumeetha Luthra
BBC News, New York

"What I've noticed is, the drinks are going down faster."

Sunil Rali
People only buy the newspaper, they don't buy Snickers bars anymore
Sunil Rali

That's the analysis of one barman who works around the corner from Wall Street.

A crisis - the biggest shake-out since the Great Depression - which is unparalleled in recent finance history, has brought the sector to its knees.

As you walk by the financial powerhouses, which are now crumbling, you can easily make out those who work in the sector.

It is not only the suits that give it away, it's the eyes, which are slightly glassy, and a walk that is rather uncertain.

A sigh of relief is not that there is good news, it's just that the news is not as bad as it could have been. But right now even that sigh is hard to come by.

"We've gone from a golden era of banking and financial services," said Kenneth D. Lewis, the chief executive of Bank of America as the bank he heads prepared to buy Merrill Lynch.

"It's going to be tougher," Mr. Lewis said. "There are going to be fewer companies, and we are going to have to be better at what we do."

Wall Street has gone through tough times before, but this is different, or certainly that's the feeling, and perception of value so often constitutes value.

Economists question how soon the sector can rebound from a period in which the giants of the market are collapsing.

The repercussions are being felt around the world, but they are also being felt closer to home: in Manhattan.

In its heyday, every job created on Wall Street was estimated to create four in peripheral industries, from high end luxury goods, to the coffee shop down the road.

Now those "little people" are feeling the impact of a global crisis that they had no part in.

No chocolate

At a newsstand on the corner of Wall Street, Sunil Rali enjoyed dipping his toe in the American dream.

Marco Rosco
I've been here 10 years, it has never been so bad. These are difficult times
Marco Rosco

He comes from Delhi and has run the little kiosk for 15 years. The differences are little things, slightly amusing, but they are still serious - it has still halved his income.

"People only buy the newspaper, they don't buy Snickers bars anymore"

At the shoe repair shop around the corner, Marco Rosco came from Ecuador. He is shining shoes: one person in the seat and one person waiting.

He says there has been a sharp drop in customers - after all, you can always shine your own shoes. He is worried.

"I'm going to wait and see what happens, but the bills need to be paid. Rent, electricity they've all got to be paid."

He told me his income had also halved.

"I've been here 10 years, it has never been so bad. These are difficult times."

'Putting our seatbelts on'

I walk a little further and come to Delmonico's. It is one of the city's oldest restaurants, and I visited it six months ago to speak to the manager Corado Gogglia.

Delmonico's restaurant
Wall Street job losses have hit demand for Delmonico's lunches

Then they said business was down, but were still confident. Now it has changed.

"This is going to be a very difficult time. We're all bracing for it, we're putting our seat belts on, I don't think it's going to be very pleasant."

Delmonico's has always been a popular venue for business lunches, but that is changing too.

"A lot of our clients are from AIG, Lehman brothers and Merrill Lynch. We've already had party cancellations. In the past six months, since Bear Stearns, 20-25% of our lunch crowd has dropped down."

Wall Street has shed 25,000 jobs in the past year. Some of Lehman's employees have been given a temporary reprieve, but there is no doubt more job losses are on the way.

The global impact is huge, the fall out is still uncertain. On a local level, the ripple ratio of one job creating four could work in reverse.

Glassy eyes could well define the new Manhattan.



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