Some columns make us nervous that we have been sucked into an elaborate hoax. At Huffington Post, a woman with three names lists some “anecdotal benchmarks” of financial crisis seen on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Some are purely economic — “I heard that one weekend in December not one sale was made on the designer floor of Bergdorf’s” — but others suggest an actual fear of being perceived as rich. “Those still shopping request brown paper bags instead of ones emblazoned with store names,” says Melissa Biggs Bradley. “At private schools where dozens of parents have lost their jobs, even the most oblivious masters of the universe have stopped sending their drivers to pick-up — some at their kids’ request.” Maybe they think they’ll be torn to pieces by the mob. If so, about goddamned time.
Meanwhile Bradley visits London and finds no such cringing nor label-cloaking among the moneyed. “Glistening Bentleys and Vipers idled outside of Cipriani.” she marvels. “Ladies lunching in popular spots around Bond Street remain fur-trimmed and diamond studded in broad daylight.” Her friend dares her to hope: “Maybe we will be the place that the rich can still go to live opulently.” We can imagine Bradley’s tears of grateful joy. Still, we won’t believe that New York’s wealthiest are really laying low until we’ve seen some concrete evidence of a healthful Terror. Wait — might No Pants Saturday signal the rise of the new sans-culottes?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 26, 2009