Have you often felt but never divulged, not to friends and certainly not to colleagues, that the one thing that’s missing from your job is a designated time to dance your ass off? There’s just something about trading that makes you want to move, no? You’re sitting there, buying, selling, yelling at your sales guy when all of a sudden, you get that urge, one that can’t be sated by some foot tapping and finger snapping. No, that isn’t enough. This is a itch that can only be scratched by jumping on your desk and shaking it, while disco balls descend from the ceiling, the lights dim, and house music starts blasting, like bham bham bhamb and boom boom boom.
Unfortunately, at this time, few firms1 have set aside the resources to fulfill these biological needs (nor have they even acknowledged the positive effect a daily shimmy would have on P&L). Happily, one needn’t suffer in silence any longer, according to an amazing piece of investigative journalism by the Times.
When lunchtime comes around, Laurie Batista often grabs a salad near the Flatiron ad agency where she works as an executive assistant and eats it at her desk. But shortly after noon on a sunny, 65-degree Friday in April, Ms. Batista, 31, jumped into a cab with three co-workers and headed west to Marquee, a nightclub on 10th Avenue. After waiting in a line that wrapped around onto 26th Street (and attracted the attention of the police, who wanted to know what was going on), she redeemed a drink ticket for a free cocktail of vodka and fruit punch. A half-hour later, she was wearing purple lensless Wayfarer-style glasses, waving a footlong foam glow stick and mouthing the words to Warren G’s “Regulate.”
Around her, hundreds of other revelers did similar things: a guy in Chuck Taylors moonwalked across the dance floor, a man in a hoodie threw up his hands to form the “W” that stands for the rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Strobe lights bounced off a giant disco ball. Sweat glistened on foreheads. “Gin and Juice” thumped. Cheers erupted. It was midday, but inside Marquee, it could have been 2 a.m. Ms. Batista was one of more than 300 people who attended the latest Lunch Break, a free midday party series whose hosts are Flavorpill, the online culture guide, and Absolut vodka. Introduced last summer, it is the most raucous of a group of lunch-hour dance parties starting up in New York City and around the world. The goal: get the screen-addicted masses to move and groove, often with the lubrication of alcohol. But don’t get drunk: this is not the three-martini lunch of yore (or lore), ending with secretaries being chased around a desk. And please, leave the business cards at the office. “Networking is fine, I’m a big networker myself, but it’s work,” said Sascha Lewis, a founder of Flavorpill. “Let’s just call this what it is: a fun, daytime party for people to enjoy themselves for an hour.”
Naturally, the unquenchable demand presents an opportunity for a hedge fund manager–especially one who feels the impulse himself and was not prepared to allow societal norms or retail security forces hold him down. Read more »