TIMUR GALEN, the global head of corporate services and real estate at Goldman, spearheaded the group that imagined Goldman Alley. In 2006, Goldman bought the 15-story building behind the headquarters location, which contained a midpriced Embassy Suites hotel, a movie theater and dining choices that might fit well in a suburban strip mall. It had a markedly different vision for what would be reborn there.
As Mr. Galen expressed it, Goldman wanted to shift to "what we thought of as the best of New York." It didn't rely on chance. "Mostly we went out and invited who we wanted," he said.
That included Danny Meyer, the prolific New York restaurateur who heads Union Square Hospitality Group, and he opened three restaurants, with his latest outpost of the Shake Shack already a popular attraction on the corner of Murray Street.
Goldman people like wine. Enter the Poulakakos family, whose Wall Street restaurants Goldman knew well. The family opened its first wine store, Vintry Fine Wines, and Harry's Italian restaurant.
Alan Phillips had three existing restaurants in the acquired building. Goldman was willing to keep one, his Pick a Bagel, and gave him space for two new ones, Wei West, an Asian restaurant, and Beans and Greens, a salad place.
Gourmet groceries? Battery Place Market was on the other side of the World Financial Center, and Goldman workers who lived in Battery Park liked it. It was offered an alley spot for a second outlet.
Flowers? Bloom, a luxury uptown florist, was invited down. For eyeglasses, Goldman went to Artsee, with its handmade frames in styles like buffalo horn and surgical steel, and asked it to also find an eye doctor.
The pastry chef François Payard was regularly serving sweets to Goldman executives at other Goldman locations, and so the company gave him the nod to open a bakery.
Goldman's far-flung employees travel a lot to New York, and many used to stay at the Battery Park Ritz-Carlton until Goldman bought the Embassy Suites and directed them there. They would refer to it as Hotel Goldman. They didn't adore the place, even with the free all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet.
Also, an Embassy Suites wasn't really in keeping with the Goldman image or what it felt would excite tourists. It converted the hotel to a Conrad, a higher-end Hilton brand. Goldman owns the hotel, while Hilton runs it. There's a rooftop Loopy Doopy Bar and a giant ballroom that Goldman uses for events like analyst training classes.
When Goldman Sachs, the potent financial services firm, opened its new 43-story, $2.1 billion steel-and-glass headquarters on a former parking lot at 200 West Street in October 2009, it was an area sorely in need of more shops and restaurants. So Goldman, helped along by $1.65 billion worth of tax-exempt Liberty Bonds and an additional $115 million in tax sweeteners, simply created its own.
Fanning out from its headquarters bounded by Vesey and Murray Streets, next to the World Financial Center and a block northwest of ever-rising ground zero, there is now a kind of Goldman village anchored by Goldman Alley, as the locals call the public passageway between Vesey and Murray that's shielded by a tilted glass canopy.
In this Goldman-enabled world, any of its 8,000 employees can dart downstairs and acquire spicy onion rings at 1 a.m. Or, if the need arises during the day, pick up a Cymbidium orchid. Or grab a bottle of A. Edmond Audry Tres Ancienne Grande Champagne Cognac.
Its location and thick wallet allowed Goldman to assemble its environment as few companies in New York ever have. Since it is a busy user of black cars and cabs, it carved out a driveway in front of its building. It contracted with two parking lots nearby for black cars to sit, keeping them from idling on the street. (Residents say traffic has still worsened.)
Goldman employees visiting from out of town must sleep, so the company bought a hotel and then upgraded it to fit its particularities. And when you need a place to park, a good solution is always to buy a parking garage. So Goldman did, acquiring the lease to the public garage at the Riverhouse condominium building nearby. The hotel offers valet parking at the garage.
Goldman occupies another tower across the Hudson River in Jersey City, and owns the pier there. Ferries already plowed back and forth, but Goldman paid the BillyBey Ferry Company to increase frequency to every seven or eight minutes from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Residents have repeatedly lamented the noise and pollution, so Goldman has built two quieter ferry boats of its own, though they are not yet in service.
Just what effect Goldman's village will have on the encircling Battery Park City neighborhood remains unclear. It's still early. Most of the alley has come alive just in recent months, and a couple of spaces await occupants.
Nonetheless, Elizabeth H. Berger, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, a business group, said: "The sense I have is there's a buzz. Certainly it's good for local baby sitters, because more people are going out at night."