A question about the forthcoming Nordstorm Tower, freshly rendered by YIMBY: At which floor of the one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five foot tower—which, though it is one foot shorter than One World Trade Center, because of the elevation of midtown, will be the tallest point in the city—will residents' view of Central Park be blocked by clouds? Not that it should matter terribly much during the fall and winter, when the building will cast a four-thousand-foot shadow across the park, since they should be some place much warmer anyway, like Miami or São Paulo.
Here is a pretty epic and accurate description of the hubris of the new Internet-rich. Now that a small group of people has accumulated vast amounts of money, employing desperately few Americans, paying very little in taxes, isolating itself in wealthy bubbles while the rest of America slowly smolders, what will we do when they try to take over the government? Nope, not in some hypothetical far future; pretty much it all starts right now. First one off the Internet wins.
Appearing here Wednesdays, Turning The Screw provides existential crisis counseling for the faint of heart. "Like a really wise friend who doesn't respect your personal space!"
I grew up in a tiny, rural, working-class town in the middle of the country. My family was wealthy—old money. Mom didn't work, and my dad tinkered at an obscure craft/art in what was mainly a ranching and coal town. In contrast to my peers who had never left the state, my family traveled internationally, did the country-club thing on vacations, and ordered Parisian dog collars for our mutts. When I was a kid it didn't matter that I was [...]
Goldman Sachs has a new ad campaign for their Asset Management division! I'm not really sure why this is something they need to market. It's probably less true in asset management but in Private Wealth Management, certainly, they inherit their clients, and it's not like it's a tough sell to sign up a few more millionaires at GS. The company makes them money! And even though their clients don't like the firm necessarily, it's not like they ever leave with their money. For where? Wachovia? Anyway the new campaign is pretty funny because, in this iteration, from their website, there's a woman in cowboy boots—taking a train! (A very [...]
Well, there are some places where the Gilded Age lives on! Like the sorta-locale for Sex And The City 2 Abu Dhabi, where one of the fancier hotels now has a gold-dispensing ATM. This machine — which I guess could be alternately referred to as an "AMM," but never an "AMM machine" — keeps track of the current price of the precious metal (currently $1,245 an ounce) and offers dispensation in either small bar or coin form. The coins are even customizable. I wonder if the designs are at all similar to the ones laid down by those penny-stamping machines we see at rest stops? After all, [...]
This account of New York City's private school graduations this season is delicious! First of all, there is a young person named James Englander Underberg. Which, ha! Play quarters all night and say THAT five times. Also there is Sam Sullivan, the wonderful student speaker at St. Ann's.
Greed is right, greed works… Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much. — Michael Douglas in the character of Gordon Gekko, in Wall Street c
Gordon Gekko was meant to be a villain, but he became a plutocratic folk hero. There has been greed enough in the last thirty-seven years, surely, to have transformed the USA into a positive utopia according to the Gekko formula, with prosperity for all.[...]
In the introduction to Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette, first published in 1952, the author asks: "Who needs a book of etiquette?" Her answer: "Everyone does." The question has not aged well. She should have inquired of the future: "Who needs this 60-year-old etiquette book?" The answer: "Society people in 2013, because they wear tennis shoes outside of the racquet club."
Ms. Vanderbilt was too accommodating to the march of time, as the 1962 edition of her book included a section on bowling. Perhaps she should have also detailed the proper manners for youths who wish to pass drug cigarettes around the unisex bathroom whilst between frames. I’m fairly [...]
Old fashioned people may continue to argue "public vs. private," but here in the actual future, the world's richest people have solemnly taken on the task of solving our lucrative problems. At this moment, a rocket launched by space industrialist Elon Musk is bringing ice cream to the sad astronauts aboard the faltering International Space Station. NASA would've probably sent freeze-dried "pink slime" to the ISS, if the welfare-state space agency still knew how to launch rockets.
One-third of the houses in Nantucket are $1-million-plus, and these days, when you have a local economy that is based on the until-recently rich, you know they'll take you down with them. Good news (?) then that allegedly (?) the upswing is back on: "Wall Street vacationers are spending money freely once again, especially since July 4th weekend, when the super rich seemed to have finally returned, wallets open." Fortune's example of that? "That week, ex-Goldman Sachs honcho Jon Winkelried finally signed a contract to sell his property for just below the new asking price of $29 million — an island record and a figure that has some [...]
What kind of world is this, when a Page Six item begins, "Some people still have money to buy real estate." Well of course they do! And now is a fantastic time to buy. Especially if you are James and Whitney Fairchild, who old folks among us will remember as having one of the most fantastic wedding announcements of all time. (His second, I believe.) Let's look back! Both ride horses and play tennis in whites, collect walking sticks and silver cigarette cases and are the sort of people who would instinctively know how to dress for afternoon tea in the Antarctic. On their first date, he [...]
We could quibble, if you wanted, about when the sociocultural phenomenon known as "Williamsburg" "began" and when it "ended"; neighborhoods do have a tendency to "end" right around the time you can longer afford to live there, or perhaps a touch before then. (The average rent for a studio in Crown Heights today, by the way, is $1760, up from under $1500 a month ago, according to one firm. We still have Quooklyn, right?)
Let's focus, instead, on this: He noted a firm analysis finding that Williamsburg residents are now on average 25 to 35 years old with per capita income of $108,000 a year.[...]
When a society spends thirty years not only allowing a small number people to amass ludicrous amounts of money for valueless transactions that serve mostly to further exacerbate the dangerous imbalance in income stratification at a time when "equality of opportunity" is no longer a concept to which the monied class and its elected representatives can pay lip service with a straight face, but also creating an environment in which the members of that same small group are praised for their avarice and paraded in public as benevolent engines of commerce whose success is all that fuels a supposedly vibrant economy for which the rest of us are supposed to [...]
The last few decades have basically been about (slowly, and sometimes poorly) chipping away at entrenched secrecy and exploitation by rich people and corporations. To the point where we at least know that certain things happen. For instance, this just in! "The United States attorney’s office in Miami accused Renzo Gadola, the head of RG Investment Partners, an investment-advisory firm in Zurich, of conspiracy to defraud the United States by helping wealthy Americans evade taxes from 2000 through this month." It's notable that Gadola was with UBS for 13 years, not just because "a former senior UBS private banking executive had worked as Mr. Gadola’s partner to help [...]
I was settling into this steady warm feeling about Mike Bloomberg in recent months but that has pretty much evaporated with his latest insane bit of pro-business mouthing-off. Plans for a 6% tax hike on people earning half a million per year and more is going to destroy New York City, says New York City's billionaire mayor: "I think it's the best thing that ever happened to Connecticut. I can't imagine why every hedge fund wouldn't pick up tomorrow and move. The first common-sense rule of taxation is, don't tax people that can leave." Yes, just tax the poor ones who can't. Bloomberg then went on to describe [...]
The New York Times, which knows from the super-rich, is now declaring them over. Gone are the days of the super-rich! "For every investment banker whose pay has recovered to its prerecession levels, there are several who have lost their jobs – as well as many wealthy investors who have lost millions." So… yeah, no, not really. I think however they are missing the point in the data entirely! What is actually happening is the creation of a smaller, richer and far more exclusive uber-rich class.