Bear’s gone. Lehman’s going, going, well not yet. Fannie and Freddie are in conservatorship. WAMU teeters. Wachovia lurches. How bad will the next quarterly reports be from Morgan Stanley and Citicorp? And when will the Federal government just stand by and let a big financial institution fail?

From my very unscientific survey of high end New York City eateries, the financial company fallout has begun to bite. I have dined at one four star establishment over the past 20 plus years and never saw empty tables until last night. Normally a two or three week call in advance for reservations type deal, we phoned in the afternoon to book a table and –”No problem, monsieur.”   Now Sandy Weill was sitting drinking a martini nearby. Safely retired, he had his big pay day and then some several years ago, and can eat in this place from now till kingdom come and not blink an eye about the tab. But the usual line-up of investment banker honchos and real estate kingpins was not in evidence. The place nearly filled when you’d expect at the 8 pm turnover, but still there were a handful of empty tables, wine glasses and silverware untouched… My dinner companions had dined at the best Greek Restaurant in town a few blocks over on Monday night. Usually over the top boisterous and packed to the gills (they feature fish flown in from the Mediterranean), this ultra expense account establishment in white motif was nearly empty–only three tables were filled, they said. The usual crowd of bankers, jet-setters, and pols was no where to be seen, and according to my companions the to-die for Greek yogurt and honey was just as scrumptious as ever.

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