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They’ll Go Broke

My mother had called very alarmed that a member of our extended family would go broke. He had been on a shopping spree. She accused him of being reckless with his money – he had purchased Calvin Klein sheets for his entire house. She did not understand the math behind the assets of the extremely wealthy. I went over some numbers with her and estimated the monthly return on the money that I guessed he might have. I showed her how he could likely buy a new house every few months with interest alone. In awe, she repeated this information to my father. However, she then just went on to show concern that this family member might still go broke.
More recently, an incident echoed the same type of lunacy. A friend told me of a mutual friend’s concern that she was witnessing a myriad of NYU students charging every manner of food or small purchase and that surely they’ll go broke. This was more ludicrous than my mother’s comment since this woman was college educated and surely should understand the underlying economics. NYU now costs a small fortune and parents are typically funding educations and giving their children credit cards for everyday expenses. How are even hundreds of $5 coffees going to break the bank of a family spending $40,000 per year for tuition alone? They’ll go broke has become a private joke with the friend who told me this tale.

New York City is awash in money, so much so that it befuddles the mind of the average wage earner. There are people who seemingly have access to an endless fountain of money. For them, the cost of things is completely irrelevant. Budget is not part of their vocabulary. Purchasing decisions are only based on what they want, not what they can afford. Even in a poor economy, expensive restaurants are packed.

There is no better example of the wealth of city residents than Manhattan real estate. In July 2012, an apartment went on the market in Manhattan that had the highest asking price in history – $100 million. A townhouse here typically fetches at least $10 million. A two-bedroom apartment can run $2 million plus.
Tuesday night I was strolling only a few blocks from my home in NoHo on the cobbled Bond Street when I discovered an very imposing building with an extremely ornate skeletal front. It was the ultimate in gleaming glitz with an enormous door. I noted the address – 40 Bond Street.

The developer was no other than the legendary Ian Schrager, co-founder of Studio 54. Schrager lives in the property itself in a penthouse valued at least $50 million. Everything about the condo development with its signature Coke bottle-green glass exterior screams luxury – 11-foot ceilings, dual gas and wood-burning fireplaces, wide plank oak floors, top of the line everything, and concierge services provided by the Gramercy Park Hotel on 24-hour call.
A cast aluminum gate – 140 feet long by 22 feet high – is graffiti-inspired. Apart from the 27 loft-style apartments, the building has five, three-story townhouses with 22-foot-high living rooms, front yards behind the gate along, and private gardens at the rear of the building. The 11-story property was designed by the renowned architectural firm and Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss duo Herzog & de Meuron in their first ever project in New York City. Opinions vary dramatically, as would be expected. Everything from positives to expletives. A block resident since 1958 called it “Frank Lloyd Wrong.”

All this conspicuous consumption, flagrant displays of wealth, ostentatious trappings, and arrogance that often accompanies the rich New Yorker is what gives many a distaste for this city and everything and everyone in it.  An understandable feeling that in New York, it’s all about money. For these, there will be little concern whether the residents of 40 Bond Street are living within their means or They’ll Go Broke :)

3 Responses to They’ll Go Broke

  1. Omg I LOVE this post! I love your word ‘befuddled’…as I am every time I pass this horridly ostentatious facade. And calling it ‘Frank Lloyd Wrong’ is utterly perfect! LMAO. I am so puzzled as to how someone could design (and want to live in) something so hideous, but to each his own…especially if one has endless amounts of money.
    Across the street there is an expensive condo that has lovely and ecological leafy plants spilling from each window ledge. If I was blessed with great fortune I’d be proud to live there.

  2. Mark colonomos says:

    Hmmmmm. Reminds me of Ayn Rands “fountainhead”. Shrug

  3. They’ll Go Broke | New York Daily Photo


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