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The lights at Goldman Sachs stay on through hurricane: Electricity as the new symbol of Wall Street greed

By S. Mitra Kalita
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

During the Great Recession, Goldman Sachs’ corporate jets were linked to a culture of excess. Hurricane Sandy has lowered the bar for public outrage: Now it’s directed at the investment bank’s generators.

As Wall Street lost power and plunged into darkness, the lights stayed on at Goldman’s signature tower at 200 West Street. Charlie Walk took this photo and posted it on Instagram (used with permission):

Charlie Walk via Instagram
Charlie Walk shot this photo as the area around Wall Street flooded.

That, along with a few other images of Goldman all lit up, upset some people. Here’s one observer:

Another drew attention to a nearby hospital’s failed back-up generator, its ensuing scramble to evacuate patients, and the inequality of it all.

The outcry over the jets prompted the company to ban their use for personal travel. Four years later, Goldman finds itself awkwardly caught again with the coveted: Power. Yet what action could it possibly take to calm the masses? A referral to its generator company might just suffice. Or it can ignore the criticism. Because this time’s different, and will likely be forgotten, once the lights come back on for all.

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