Monday, May 20, 2013

New York Trends: The Rich Are Furious That Poor People Are Looking Through Their Glass

Rich people have had enough. Shortly after moving their pony-skin sectionals and Philippe Starck ghost benches into their top-end designer condos, they realized that those sparkling walls of glass had a serious drawback.

Sure, they let the residents see out. But they let other people see in.

Cissy Margolis loved her new apartment. On the third floor of a new super-luxury development in Tribeca, she could see all the way to New Jersey from her Roche Bobois chaise. She could watch planes take off at JFK from her sunken Ligne Roset tub. But then one day she spotted something she'd never have expected in her wildest dream.

Somebody was standing outside her apartment, looking in -- at her.

"I was flabbergasted," she said. "I knew I'd get to look at everybody walking by and maybe criticize their clothes. Instead, they're standing outside and laughing at me! Sure, I bought a glass apartment, but I had no idea I'd be living in a fishbowl."

Mandy Lebrun echoes her neighbor's comments, but she accepts some of the guilt. "I don't know what I was thinking," she says, trying to ignore a dozen homeless people watching her speak to a reporter while practicing her Downward Dog. "I guess I assumed New York glass was smart enough not to let everybody use it. I actually get furious at what I have to put up with. I feel like I've spent all this money on my dream home and somehow poor people are allowed to enjoy it too."

Luckily the hyper-rich have a powerful ally: Mayor Bloomberg. The tiny billionaire doesn't hesitate to leap to their defense. "When I changed the zoning laws to allow replacement of any existing building in New York with a 500-story tower hand-blown from Baccarat crystal, I assumed poor New Yorkers were smart enough to know that actually looking at one of these towers was an invasion of privacy. These homeowners have spent a small fortune to be able to see Central Park from their oversized pony-shaped toilets. They don't need the envious unemployed bringing them down."

Mr. Bloomberg resisted a reporter's idea that these homeowners are idiots. "You don't get rich by being stupid," he snapped. "Clearly there's a misunderstanding about glass. You don't need a dozen Peruvian cleaning ladies to make it crystal clear: LOOKING AT RICH PEOPLE IS NOT OKAY."

In his search for a solution, the Mayor has allocated $200 million of the city's budget to devise a solution to glass's transparency. "At this very moment my staff is looking into a whole slew of possibilities," he says, "from automated blinkers for poor people to RFID sunglasses that enable or disable transparency based on your 401K. The rich have always had more vision, so it makes sense that New York City would spearhead a system that would literally allow them to see more."

The mayor says he won't hesitate to use the law if technology doesn't work. He's instructed the Attorney General to write up a bill that will make it illegal to look into glass, while protecting the right to look out. Unfortunately, a problematic first draft would have saddled someone with twenty years at Rikers simply for walking past a Ferrari dealership. Until the details of such a law are ironed out, the Mayor is appealing to poor people's sense of morality. "I would like to reiterate: glass is not a two-way street."

Emboldened by the city's inaction, the trend has sparked a hobby of questionable legality. Rather than standing outside the transparent apartments of celebrities, many New Yorkers have actually mounted tiny videocameras to record everything that happens inside.

"It's hysterical," says Dino Blickner, a Williamsburg resident who's admitted to owning a dozen or so cameras that gaze at everyone from Giselle B√ľndchen to Calvin Klein. "When you watch the film at thirty or forty times normal Gwyneth Paltrow looks nearly human."

In fact, the fad has proven so popular that some underground clubs now show these subversive videos. On Tuesday nights at the Village Armory, for instance, eight large-screen TVs show twenty-four hours of Martha Stewart's life sped up into ten minutes. The overflow crowd laughs and maybe feels a smidgen of guilt, but mostly wonders why she has an assistant whose sole task is to make origami elk and six drawers in her bedroom armoire that contain nothing but spatulas.

Ms. Margolis, for her part, is organizing other tenants into a class-action suit against the building's developer. "I am convinced they knew that people can look through glass," says the ex-model who's currently designing a line of jewelry made out of precious gems and gold-plated rabbit skulls. "There's no other word to describe it than just plain old stupidity."

"It's unbelievable," sniffed J. Walter Dibner, a hedge fund analyst who recently moved into a split-level loft in NoHoBo. "They just stand there and stare at me. It's like they're watching Downton Abbey."

The fourteen people outside weren't sympathic. "Nowhere near," corrected Miguel Apolito. "Downton Abbey never had any douche bags doing blow with $800 hookers."

1 comment:

Yet Another Steve said...

When I lived in Hermosa Beach, someone built a tall single-family residence right next to the beach. The owner's wife wanted to have a panoramic view of the ocean from her bathtub on the top floor, so an angled mirror was installed over the tub, which gave her a splendid daytime view. It wasn't for two or three years that they deigned to notice the passersby stopping on the sidewalk outside at night, to gawk upward at the splendid full-length view of the lady in her tub, while she presumably focused on the lights way out to sea.