Macy’s Outlines Ambitious Plan for Herald Square

Macy’s wants to build an office tower atop its Herald Square location.

Macy’s is proposing the construction of a commercial office tower on top of its flagship Herald Square store in New York as part of a broader redevelopment plan that would aim to improve the surrounding area and its subway stations.

The retailer said in a statement on Monday that it would commit $235 million to help improve the Herald Square subway stations and to “transform Herald Square and Broadway Plaza into a modern, car-free pedestrian-friendly urban space for New Yorkers and visitors,” according to a website it created for the proposed project.

Before Macy’s proposal can move ahead, the area needs to be rezoned to allow the new structure to be built atop the retailer’s iconic Herald Square store, which opened more than 100 years ago and would remain open during any new construction. The project would also need to go through an approval process with the city.

Macy’s added that it was eager to begin a public review process on the project and that it would “work closely with local officials, Manhattan Community Board 5, the 34th Street Partnership and other community stakeholders on final designs.”

Macy’s, which released renderings of the proposed building and pedestrian area, said that it supported the construction of the office space as part of an expected boom in new office jobs in New York this year. The beleaguered retailer added that the city was expecting a return to prepandemic office employment levels by the fourth quarter, and it estimated that its proposal would ultimately generate more than $250 million in new tax revenue for the city while supporting nearly 16,300 jobs.

Colonial Pipeline fuel tanks in Maryland. The company operates the largest petroleum pipeline between Texas and New York.
Credit…Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

An oil and gas pipeline system that was forced to shut down on Friday after a ransomware attack is not expected to be “substantially” restored until the end of the week, its operator, Colonial Pipeline, said on Monday.

“While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach,” the company said in a statement posted on its website. “This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week.”

The company said it was monitoring its customers’ supplies and was working with shippers to move fuel. Oil and gas prices, which had jumped earlier on Monday, came off their highs of the day after Colonial’s statement.

The sudden shut down of 5,500 miles of pipeline, which the company says carries nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel supplies, has been a troubling sign of vulnerabilities in the nation’s energy infrastructure and raised concerns about fuel supplies to large portions of the country.

Experts said several airports that depend on the pipeline for jet fuel, including those in Nashville, Baltimore-Washington and Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., could have a hard time later in the week. Airports generally store enough jet fuel for three to five days of operations.

The F.B.I. said on Monday that the attack was the work of a hacking group called DarkSide.
The confirmation of the hack comes as the Biden administration in the coming days is expected to announce an executive order to strengthen America’s cyberdefense infrastructure.

Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies, said Monday that the government believes DarkSide is “a criminal actor” but is looking for any ties the group may have to nation-states. She added that Colonial has not sought cyber support from the government, and could not confirm if the company, a private corporation, has paid any ransom.

Roblox went public in March with a  billion valuation.
Credit…Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Roblox, the online gaming site popular among children, said on Monday in its first earnings report as a public company that its revenue more than doubled while its losses widened.

The company’s revenue rose to $387 million for the first three months of the year, up 140 percent from the same period a year earlier, which was mostly before the pandemic. An average of 42 million people visited Roblox each day in the quarter, up 79 percent from a year ago. The increased activity on the site mirrored a larger boom for the gaming industry as people stuck indoors searched for online entertainment.

But Roblox’s losses widened to $134 million in the first quarter from $74 million a year ago. The company spent on hiring and improved safety and moderation tools, and also upped the share of money it gives to the independent developers who create games on the site, said David Baszucki, Roblox’s co-founder and chief executive.

Roblox, which allows players to create avatars and explore millions of unique worlds and play games with their friends, went public in March with a $45 billion valuation.

The company faces risks as the pandemic subsides. It could see playing time begin to slow down as vaccines become more widespread and daily life starts returning to prepandemic norms. This month, Newzoo, a gaming analytics firm, projected for the first time ever that gaming industry spending would shrink in 2021, by 1 percent, as the turbocharged pandemic growth decelerates.

Mr. Baszucki said some people are spending fewer hours on Roblox as restrictions ease. But he said the fact that more people are logging in for at least some amount of time each day has him feeling optimistic.

“As we have had this burst in daily active users, that number has shown to be quite sticky going forward,” he said. Even in countries where the pandemic is slowing down, he said, Roblox’s numbers “show a lot of persistent strength.”

Credit…Amr Alfiky/Associated Press

Attorneys general for 44 states and jurisdictions called on Facebook to halt plans to create a version of Instagram for young children, citing concerns over mental and emotional well-being, exposure to online predators and cyberbullying.

In a letter on Monday to Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, the prosecutors warned that social media can be harmful to children and that the company had a poor record of protecting children online. Facebook, which bought the photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012, currently has a minimum age requirement of 13 to use its products. According to federal children’s privacy rules, companies must ask parents for permission to collect data on users younger than 13.

The law enforcement officials pointed to research showing how the use of social media, including Instagram, has led to an increase in mental distress, body image concerns and even suicidal thoughts. A children’s version of Instagram doesn’t fill a need beyond the company’s commercial ambitions, the officials said in the letter.

“Without a doubt, this is a dangerous idea that risks the safety of our children and puts them directly in harm’s way,” Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, said in a statement. “There are too many concerns to let Facebook move forward with this ill-conceived idea, which is why we are calling on the company to abandon its launch of Instagram Kids.”

Facebook defended its plans, saying its development of a children’s version of Instagram would have safety and privacy in mind. It wouldn’t show ads on the app, the company vowed.

“As every parent knows, kids are already online,” Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, said in a statement. “We want to improve this situation by delivering experiences that give parents visibility and control over what their kids are doing.”

Stocks fell sharply Monday afternoon, as shares of major tech companies stumbled.

The S&P 500 fell 1 percent, and the Nasdaq composite fell 2.6 percent. Tesla, one of the biggest companies in both indexes, was one of the worst-performing stocks of the day, with a 6.4 percent drop the first trading day after Elon Musk, its chief executive, hosted “Saturday Night Live.”

Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet all fell more than 2 percent and as much as 4 percent.

Energy prices came well off their highs on Monday afternoon, after the operator of a major petroleum pipeline in the United States said it hoped to have it “substantially” restored by the end of the week. The pipeline, which supplies oil and gas to much of the Eastern United States, had been shut down over the weekend because of a cyberattack, and concerns about the supply of gasoline had lifted prices by as much as 4.2 percent earlier in the day and at their highest level since late 2018.

But gasoline futures were unchanged by the end of the day, and futures on West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, ended the day just 2 cents higher to $64.92.

  • The British pound rose more than 1 percent against the U.S. dollar and the euro after the results of Thursday’s local elections were confirmed. The Scottish National Party, which is pushing for a second independence referendum, fell one seat short of gaining an outright majority in its Parliament. But it will still govern with the support of another pro-independence party.

  • The pound’s gains on Monday were as much about the weak dollar as the election results, Kit Juckes, a strategist at Société Générale, wrote in a note. “I don’t know anyone who thinks the risk of a second Scottish referendum has gone away.” The pound can rise against the dollar because the U.S. currency “remains under pressure from global economic optimism,” he added.

Chipotle is looking to hire 20,000 employees to staff the more than 200 restaurants it plans to open this year.
Credit…Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Hoping to attract more employees, Chipotle said on Monday that it was increasing its wages to an average of $15 an hour by the end of June.

The fast-food chain, which is looking to hire 20,000 employees for its peak season and to staff the more than 200 restaurants it plans to open this year, said the wage increase would result in hourly workers making between $11 and $18 an hour.

Chipotle is the latest restaurant chain to raise wages or offer incentives as it struggles to staff its restaurants. As coronavirus vaccinations have increased and government restrictions eased, the restaurant industry, which laid off or furloughed millions of employees during the pandemic, suddenly went on a hiring spree, as did several other service-related industries.

That sudden high demand for restaurant workers has been tough to meet. Some potential employees, whether concerned about the safety of serving customers dining indoors or buoyed by government stimulus checks, are wary of returning to work.

The April jobs report released last week showed a significant jump in the number of workers hired in the restaurant and bar sector, but employment levels at full-service restaurants in February remain 20 percent lower than a year ago, according to the National Restaurant Association. That’s the equivalent of 1.1 million jobs. Employment at fast-food and fast-casual restaurants was down 6 percent over the same period.

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour has been one of the items on the agenda of President Biden. An attempt to add the provision to the pandemic relief bill signed in March failed after Congress removed it from the package.

At the time, the restaurant industry had argued that a wage increase would imperil the recovery for the industry because it would result in higher prices and mean not as many workers could be hired.

Now, struggling to attract candidates, Chipotle is not only raising its hourly wages, it is offering referral bonuses for crew members and managers.

Consumer expectations for price inflation are ticking higher — but only when it comes to the near term, a fact that might make the move up less alarming for economic officials who are closely monitoring such measures.

Americans’ year-ahead inflation expectations rose to 3.4 percent in April, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Survey of Consumer Expectations found, the highest level since 2013 and up from 3.2 percent in the March survey. At the same time, the outlook for inflation over the next three years held steady at 3.1 percent.

That discrepancy between the short- and longer-term outlook is roughly in line with what economists and central bank officials expect. Price gains are expected to pop this year, both for technical reasons as they lap very-low readings from last year and thanks to the economy’s reopening. Shortages are cropping up in many places as businesses try to readjust, temporarily pushing prices higher. But those increases are expected to fade with time.

Fed officials have been clear that they plan to look past short-lived increases and maintain cheap-money policies. Even so, higher 2021 inflation readings — including a consumer price inflation report set for release on Wednesday, which economists in a Bloomberg survey expect will show a big 3.6 percent gain from last year — are likely to keep attention focused on the incoming price data.

Inflation expectations are particularly important, because many economists believe that their stability at low levels has kept price gains contained in recent decades. When consumers expect only gradual increases, they may be less willing to accept big business price jumps.

Some market-based inflation expectation measures are also increasing. So far, central bank officials have suggested that they aren’t worried, especially after years in which expectations drifted lower and price gains came in shy of the central bank’s goal of 2 percent annual gains.

“If we see inflation moving materially above 2 percent in a persistent way — that risks inflation expectations drifting up — then we will use our tools to guide inflation and expectations back down to 2 percent,” Jerome H. Powell, the Fed’s chair, said during a recent news conference. “This is not what we expect, but no one should doubt that in the event, we will be prepared to use our tools.”

Versha Sharma is leaving NowThis to be the next editor in chief of Teen Vogue.
Credit…Brandon O’Neal

The last person hired as the top editor of Teen Vogue resigned before her start date. Now, the wide-ranging Condé Nast online publication is trying again, with the announcement on Monday that Versha Sharma, a managing editor at the news website NowThis, will be its next editor in chief.

“Versha is a natural leader with a global perspective and deep understanding of local trends and issues — from politics and activism to culture and fashion — and their importance to our audience,” Anna Wintour, the global editorial director of Vogue and the chief content officer of Condé Nast, said in a statement.

Ms. Sharma, 34, was in charge of news and cultural coverage at NowThis, a site owned by Group Nine Media, the publisher of Thrillist, The Dodo, Seeker and PopSugar. She was part of a team that received an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2018 for a documentary on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

She was named to the job nearly two months after Alexi McCammond, a former Axios journalist, resigned after more than 20 Teen Vogue staff members publicly condemned tweets she had posted a decade earlier.

Ms. McCammond’s old tweets included derogatory stereotypes about Asians and slurs for gay people. She had apologized for the tweets in 2019 and deleted them. She apologized again after they were resurfaced in March and resigned from the Teen Vogue job before her first scheduled day.

Asked about the furor, Ms. Sharma said in an interview: “I don’t really feel it’s my place to comment on that. All I can say is I share the values of the Teen Vogue staff and audience, and I’m very excited to work with them and work together moving forward.” She added that Teen Vogue “does a good job of showing how interconnected everything is, whether it’s fashion or politics or culture.”

Danielle Kwateng, Teen Vogue’s executive editor, published a note to readers in April acknowledging “the pain and frustration caused by resurfaced social media posts.” She added that the staff of the publication, which is known as much for its progressive stances and essays on social issues as its fashion and beauty coverage, would “evolve with our readers, because we can’t be the young person’s guide to saving the world without you.”

Ms. Sharma is on the board of the Online News Association and previously worked for TalkingPointsMemo, and Vocativ. Her start date at Teen Vogue is May 24.

A pop-up vaccination site in Miami Beach, Fla. Companies are debating vaccine mandates for their workers.
Credit…Eva Marie Uzcategui/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Last week, the DealBook newsletter wrote about one of the most vexing issues facing boardrooms: Should companies mandate that employees get vaccinated before returning to the workplace? Many readers shared opinions, personal experiences and suggestions for handling this complex issue. Here is a small selection, edited for clarity:

  • “The way we’re doing it at our company is, if you submit a reason from your doctor or you have a religious belief or some other valid reason not to get the vaccination yet, you are required to be tested weekly and submit the results to H.R.” — Patricia Ripley, New York City

  • “We don’t know the long-term dangers of these vaccines. They may be bad or good. No one knows. Our employers should not be able to simply ignore any of our worries and concerns.” — Brandon Atchison, Verbena, Ala.

  • “I strongly support employer mandates. A few well-publicized firings will end the ‘hesitancy,’ but the firings must be backed up by classifying them as ‘for cause.’ That means no severance for executives and no unemployment for staff who refuse.” — Paul Levy, Carolina Beach, N.C.

  • “Individual rights are the cornerstone of American democracy — trampling them for the vaccine rollout is a dangerous precedent. People seem to forget that these ‘temporary changes’ end up as permanent, with the result that your employer can now compel greater access to your personal decision-making.” — Anonymous

  • “An unvaccinated person exposes everyone in the office, including visiting customers and clients, to the virus. Why should everyone else be jeopardized because of one person? Simply let unvaccinated people continue to work at home and suffer any consequences to their career paths that may result.” — Joseph Carlucci, White Plains, N.Y.

  • NBCUniversal announced Monday that it would not broadcast the 2022 Golden Globes, an abrupt blow to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that puts on the film and television awards show and that has been under intense scrutiny for its record on diversity, among other things. “We continue to believe that the H.F.P.A. is committed to meaningful reform. However, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the H.F.P.A. needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes. Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

  • Norwegian Cruise Line is threatening to keep its ships out of Florida ports after the state enacted legislation that prohibits businesses from requiring proof of vaccination against the coronavirus in exchange for services. The company, which plans to have its first cruises available to the Caribbean and Europe this summer and fall, will offer trips with limited capacity and require all guests and crew members to be vaccinated on bookings through at least the end of October.

  • The operator of the largest petroleum pipeline between Texas and New York, which was shut down on Friday after a ransomware attack, would not give a timeline on Sunday on when it would reopen the pipeline. Colonial Pipeline, the pipeline operator, said on Sunday afternoon that it was developing “a system restart plan” and would restore service to some small lines between terminals and delivery points but “will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so.”


CreditCredit…By Derrick Schultz

Today in the On Tech newsletter, Shira Ovide talks to Wirecutter’s Thorin Klosowski about what we can learn from Apple’s privacy labels, and how we can better protect our information.

Elon Musk, the chief executive of SpaceX, mentioned Dogecoin while hosting “Saturday Night Live.”
Credit…Will Heath/NBC, via Associated Press

Is Elon Musk really taking Dogecoin to the moon? That’s what the Tesla chief executive has been pledging to do with the jokey cryptocurrency, mostly in terms of cheering on its skyrocketing price. But on Sunday, he tweeted that one of his other companies, SpaceX, is launching a satellite called Doge-1 on a mission paid for with Dogecoin, the DealBook newsletter reports.

The announcement came the morning after Mr. Musk dropped a few Dogecoin references as host of “Saturday Night Live,” at one point calling the token “a hustle.” Dogecoin, which is based on an internet meme about a Shiba Inu, fell by nearly a third in price on the night of the show. It was such an eventful night for the cryptocurrency that the Robinhood trading app couldn’t keep up. The crypto token is still up more than 10,000 percent in price this year.

SpaceX and Geometric Energy Corporation, a Canadian technology firm, are teaming up to carry a 90-pound satellite on a Falcon 9 moon mission, according to a statement on Sunday. “Having officially transacted with DOGE for a deal of this magnitude, Geometric Energy Corporation and SpaceX have solidified DOGE as a unit of account for lunar business,” said G.E.C.’s chief executive, Samuel Reid. (A company representative confirmed to DealBook that the project was not a joke but declined to explain further.)

Away from the memes and manias, the cryptocurrency industry is maturing, as shown by its growing contingent of lobbyists in Washington and a recent hiring spree of former regulators. This month, the House passed a bill backed by crypto lobbyists to create a working group to examine frameworks for regulating digital assets.

The bill, said Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Democrat of Massachusetts, was a chance “to act proactively toward financial innovation rather than to address gaps in our regulatory framework after the fact.”

The bill is now with the Senate Banking Committee. “Financial regulators have been slow when it comes to protecting consumers from private-sector digital assets that add more risks to our financial system,” Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the committee chair, told DealBook in a statement. He declined to provide a timeline for advancing the legislation.

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