I had the very good fortune to have had the experience working on trading desks in New York back in the 90's (was it really that long ago?) and to have met some very bright and fantastic folks along the way. Many have remained friends to this day.
I had a particularly good commute (as NYC commutes go), leaving my home, Baxter House in Port Washington (north shore of Long Island) and walking to catch the 5:36 am train to Penn Station every day. I was usually at my desk by 6:30. It was an energized city in an energized time (for me).
The Thanksgiving tradition from that time is something that will endure for our family: Bond markets closed at 1pm on Wednesday and after my 3 daughters finished school, my family would jump on the train to come join me in the city.
My uncle and his family lived on the upper west side, W81st and Central Park West, where it happens that some of the character balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade were inflated. We would bunk in at the Excelsior Hotel for the night, a half block west on W81st.
We would arrive early Wednesday evening to see the likes of Spider Man, Clifford The Big Red Dog and Buzz Lightyear laid out flat surrounded by large tanks of helium gas and the all night crew that would make them into the larger than life characters for Thursday's parade.
In the meantime it was off to Wolman Rink in Central Park to go for a skate. If you haven't done it, night skating in Central Park is like something out of a movie, it always felt surreal and with that there was a unique sense of peace in the heart of that very noisy city.
Then it was off to dinner at a restaurant on Columbus Ave and by the time we got ourselves back to the hotel, those balloon characters had started to take life. The girls, aged four, six and eight were tired but thrilled.
We got the wake up call at 5am on Thursday, and down to W81st we would drag ourselves to see all the floats fully inflated and ready to go. This was the parade for us, walking amongst all the participants and handlers looking for Snuffelupagus as they prepared for the call to "join the parade!". It was a magical time.
We have been back many times to celebrate (having since moved back to Toronto) but when we don't get to NYC, we still try to keep "US" Thanksgiving because of the wonderful memories.
In 1995, while I was working at the World Trade Centre (where our trading desk was located on the 104th floor of the North Tower), I received a job offer to return to Toronto, which I accepted.
To this day, I remain thankful to the gentleman who "brought me home" and for all the others that I worked with at the time who decided to find other places to work over the course of the next 6 years.
Scott Tomenson,CIM Managing Partner, Chief Investment Strategist