Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Guest Blogger Jake Barnes: The Ultimate Luxury Item

Circle V Note: Here is another post from Guest Blogger Jake Barnes at our NYC Corporate Office.


I used to be one of those people who thought I was above "material" things. Friends and co-workers discussed their dreams of owning a fancy TV, a sportscar that could speed down highways at 180 mph, a speedboat to park in their driveway for all neighbors to see, diamond-encrusted necklaces or bracelets, Prada shoes, Burberry scarves, luxurious McMansions, etc, etc.

And I always said, "material things don't bring me happiness. Put me in a small apartment with good friends and a nice family and enough money to get by and I'll be fine."


The weird thing is: nothing changed. I still don't want a fast car, Armani suits, or a big house. I don't dream about speeding my new boat around the local lake or buying the latest electronic device. I don't even own an Ipod. But I've come to realize that all along, I dreamed of the ultimate luxury item. I dreamed of doing what I am doing now. To live in Manhattan.

I pay the price of a mortgage, boat payment, and Corvette lease every month just for the right to live in a tiny SoHo apartment and be able to write "New York, NY" on my return address. There tends to be a type of snobbery with people like me. I look at fast cars and big houses and think, "how empty." But I happily write out my check each month for the right "feel" cooler than Borough or New Jersey residents. I justify it. My commute is shorter (not true if I lived in Brooklyn), I enjoy the people in my neighborhood (I work until midnight and the people in my neighborhood would never accept a lawyer anyway), what if there's a blackout? (it's not like I would know what to do in Manhattan).

Point is, I love living in Manhattan because I, like everyone, enjoy luxury. The definition of luxury is different for every person. Some want cars and jewelry. Others want travel and concerts. Others want to live in Manhattan. We all do it for the same reasons: we enjoy the sense that not everyone can do it.

There is nothing morally superior about any of these options. After all, if you'd rather live in New Jersey, shop at Target, live in a boring planned community, and drive a $50,000 gas-guzzling SUV to meet your wife and kids at TGI Fridays after you finish your tedious mid-level management job, who is to say that is inferior to living in the most diverse, cultured, and exciting City on earth?

Certainly not me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word. I'm with you. I don't want a yard.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

My friends and I played a game in the car the other night, "If you could live anywhere in the world, etc." I chose Manhattan first, WITH the stipulation that I had enough money to live comfortably and not in some roach infested sinkhole walkup. That's the trick about New York or any major city: money. Either that or befriend vermin and give them names.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

As much as I love NYC, I don't think I could live there. Love to visit. Love the city. But to me it seems there are one too many pains in the ass about it to endure it 365 days/yr.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Working until midnight everynight for the sake of living in Manhattan is undisputably stupid. No two ways about it.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree that if you have money then it could be cool but as an entry level lawyer you are prob. living in a trashy walkup anyway, and thats not fun. moreover, there are always native new yorkers like me who will look down on pretenders forever and ever. sorry, some things you just canĀ“t buy.

5:07 PM  
Blogger dn said...

Yeah, Jake. You're not really a New Yorker unless you were born there. Didn't you learn anything from "Gangs of New York"?

You're a bigger pretender than Chrissie Hynde.

6:37 PM  
Blogger KassyK said...

I grew up in Jers and love Manhattan. 3/4 of my friends live there and so do two of my siblings and half of my extended family (that doesn't live in Israel)...and while its one of the greatest cities in the world...I couldn't live there.

I may make fun of DC a lot but I do love living here.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Jay Gatsby said...

Enjoy visiting NYC, can't live there. Why? It's not just the money (although my wallet hemmorages every time I visit), but rather the sense that I'd be living there for all the wrong reasons. I like culture and well-educated people as much as the next person, but attitude I can do without. The problem with many New Yorkers is that they have a superiority complex for absolutely no reason except the fact that they live in NYC. I'm a firm believer that it's not what you own or where you live that represents who you are, but rather hard work and discipline. Without those things, you're just another posuer.

8:33 PM  
Blogger dn said...

That's all fine and good, Mr. Gatz, but your testimony is in stark disagreement with Mr. Fitzgerald's.

10:27 PM  

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