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Interns’ Day in Manhattan

June 22, 2017

IMG_4960Tuesday I went with five interns from our New Brunswick office into Manhattan for a day of exploring some of the business and cultural aspects that are available to all of us, yet lots do not get to experience. Joining us was Karen Koch a CPA and supervisor in our office.

A few weeks ago a friend told me of his inspiring visit to the Louvre when he was in Paris on a vacation. He also showed me many photos he took each accompanied by an animated story. When I asked him if he had been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY he sheepishly said he didn’t remember if he had been there. That got me wondering why people go to every museum they can when they travel but neglect some of the best museums in the world not more than an hour from where they live. That led to our “field trip.”

I spoke to Joe Picone who schedules the interns and we mapped out a day that we felt the interns would enjoy and take with them a favorable impression of Withum. I asked Karen to join us so that they could also speak to someone closer in age to them. We started out on Wall Street visiting the exact spot where George Washington was inaugurated as our first president. Federal Hall is diagonally across from the New York Stock Exchange so we also had some feelings about our financial history. Next we went to Trinity Church at the beginning of Wall Street. Then a quick stop at a Fidelity office to pick up applications to open a brokerage account. I suggested they consider buying one share of Berkshire Hathaway “B” shares [ticker: BRK-B] for about $180 including brokerage commissions. This will establish a stock account, will not unduly empty their bank accounts and will qualify them as stockholders to receive the BRK annual report each year. That report is pure financial literature which includes Warren Buffett’s letter to shareholders and is a must read for anyone interested in investing in any manner.

We then tried to get a photo with the Bull statue but it was just too crowded. In the words of Yogi Berra “Nobody goes there anymore, it is too crowded.” But we came back later and got our picture taken there. We also got a shot of the two women in our group with the young girl statue. We walked down to Battery Park and had lunch at historic Fraunces Tavern where Washington bid farewell to his troops before going to Annapolis to resign his commission so he could return to private life. We got our photo with the bull and took the subway uptown to get to The Met. While downtown I ran into a friend’s son and he took our first group photo.

I set up a brisk route of The Met that took us through all the major galleries on both floors. Interests were many and varied and we had “unscheduled” stops when some of our group wanted to see more of something. We also tried to locate the exact spot where Holden Caufield sought sanctuary in the Egyptian section. I did indicate that since they now knew about The Met they could return anytime they wanted to revisit sections they would like to explore more thoroughly.

I pointed out four accounting related items: 1) A cuneiform clay table from ±3000 BCE with accounting information which placed accounting at the beginning of recorded history. 2) An account book cover from ±1350. 3) A painting by Vincent Van Gogh of L’Arlesienne: Madame Joseph-Michel Ginoux looking over her account books. And 4) Rembrandt’s Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer which was acquired in 1961 by The Met for the highest price ever paid for a painting at that time, $2.3 million. The relationship to accounting was the valuation and how it provided tremendous ancillary benefits and value to The Met. I also gave them a reproduction of the NY Times front page reporting that purchase.

In all, we had an enjoyable day, fine camaraderie and an easy way to get to know each other better. The weather helped by being perfect.

There are many other museums that can easily be visited and not to do so causes an injustice to yourself and prohibits you from being able to enjoy some of the finer things in life. In addition to The Met, some of my favorite NY museums are the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Historical Society, the Frick Collection and The Morgan Library. In NJ the Princeton University Art Museum is a must see.

In all, we had an enjoyable relaxed educational and cultural day and somehow, all our work still got done on time, just not on Tuesday.

Shown in the photo at The Met left to right: Ed Mendlowitz, Anthony Mongelluzzo, Karen Koch, Annie Pennington, Kevin Surace, Michael Decker, Matthew Giddon.

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