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March 4, 2021, 5:22 p.m. EST

Andrew Yang says the thought of Goldman Sachs opening a Tampa office is ‘depressing’

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By Nicole Lyn Pesce

New Yorkers flocking to Florida — especially during the winter, or once they retire — is a tale as old as time.

But as the COVID-19 pandemic and its push for social distancing has made the less-crowded suburbs and countrysides more appealing than the densely-packed urban centers, reports of Wall Street execs, businesses and a former president leaving the Big Apple for the Sunshine State have become more common.

And NYC mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang is taking this personally.

The former Democratic presidential candidate, who’s looking to succeed New York’s term-limited Mayor Bill de Blasio, told Bloomberg that a Goldman Sachs /zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite GS +0.23% executive said that the bank, which has headquarters near One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, will be opening a branch office in Tampa.

“We are losing people to Tampa? It’s a depressing story,” Yang told the news outlet on Wednesday.

And he intends to restore New York City’s reputation as a business capital of the world. “You can’t keep trying to squeeze stuff from business owners and not expect that’s going to have a reaction in the other direction,” he said. “The core of it is to try to convince them and say: ‘Look, the reason Goldman Sachs has been here and is a world class organization is that you can get the best people’ and we’re going to see to it that people are excited to come back to New York City.”

Howard Gold: New York City has come back from every crippling blow — but coronavirus could land a knockout punch

CityWatch: With most New York City offices closed, companies consider downsizing — or heading for the suburbs

A Goldman Sachs spokesperson told MarketWatch by email that, “We appreciate Mr. Yang’s description of Goldman as a ‘world class organization,’ and we can assure him that our headquarters remains in NYC and will for decades to come.”

The elephant in the room, however, is that Yang himself doesn’t appear to have spent much time in the city — where he wants to be the mayor — over the past year. True, the 46-year-old grew up in Schenectady, N.Y., and Westchester County, and moved to New York City to attend Columbia Law School when he was 21. He then worked at tech companies and raised two young children in the city, and he became well-known during his presidential bid for championing a universal basic income that would give every American adult $1,000 a month.

But he didn’t vote in any NYC mayoral elections between 2001 and 2017. And while his primary residence continues to be listed as on the west side of Manhattan, his social media posts, TV appearances and other news coverage suggest that Yang spent a large portion of the past year outside of the city in his second home, a four-bedroom home in New Paltz, N.Y. In fact, the New Paltz deputy supervisor  tweeted in 2019 that, “We love Andrew Yang! He is a New Paltz guy!!!” as reported by Politico . A December article from a local paper also stated that Yang “lives in New Paltz.”

So this has led to some critics calling him insincere and out-of-touch, especially after he tried to commiserate with how millions of New Yorkers have continued to struggle during the ongoing pandemic in a recent New York Times interview . “We live in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. And so, like, can you imagine trying to have two kids on virtual school in a two-bedroom apartment, and then trying to do work yourself?” he said; hence going to his upstate home. Critics blasted him for “running for mayor while not living in New York full-time.”

Read more: Andrew Yang blasted for ‘out-of-touch’ comment about struggling in New York City during the pandemic

And this is also why some of his early attempts to connect with voters across New York’s five boroughs have come across as insincere. For example, he recently tweeted that he was taking the A train to the Bronx, which led many New Yorkers to ridicule him for not seeming to realize that this particular subway line doesn’t go there, and he would need to transfer to another train. And then there was the bodega blowback , when Yang shared a video of himself shopping in a Hell’s Kitchen deli that was too wide and spacious for many locals to consider it one of New York’s signature corner stores.

In response to some of the backlash surrounding his residency and his voting history, Yang told Bloomberg that his outsider status is a strength. “I would suggest that most New Yorkers are most concerned about what I can do for them. I’m not someone who’s been scheming my way to city hall for years and years and years.”

As for Goldman Sachs reportedly looking to trade New York Harbor for Tampa Bay, some people took to Twitter to point out that the Sunshine State has plenty to offer businesses and individuals alike.

Florida “has no income tax. And it now has Tom Brady,” tweeted one.

And a Tampa resident tweeting under the name Taylor Wallace cited local “killer tax rates” and an “incredible business climate” — not to mention better weather. “I’m writing this in flip-flops on the beach,” he said. “Smart move Goldman Sachs.”

/zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 343.09
+0.78 +0.23%
Volume: 3.23M
April 19, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
8.53
Dividend Yield
1.46%
Market Cap
$115.18 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.31M
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