The 1 percent's vile new fad: Buying a second home -- in the same city

Galling trend piece finds rich Manhattanites snatching up properties in gentrifying neighborhoods across the city

Published June 10, 2016 8:30AM (EDT)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.


If you thought the lifestyles of the richest one percent couldn’t get any more absurd, the Wall Street Journal's got you covered. Apparently, the latest real estate trend among the nation’s wealthiest people involves owning vacation homes—in the same city.

It’s no longer necessary to adhere to the time-honored tradition of buying luxury homes in the countryside to escape from city-dwelling plebeians during those hellish periods when you feel righteously overwhelmed by how much damn money you have. Now, if you’re Eric Straus and his wife Varinda Missett, a Manhattan couple profiled in the Journal, all you have to do to escape the monotony of your weekday life is to go downtown.

Per the Journal:

“Last summer, Mr. Straus and Ms. Missett paid $1.988 million for a two-bedroom apartment in the Manhattan neighborhood of Tribeca, which they use as their weekend getaway. ‘What I love is that unlike the Hamptons, it’s a quick subway ride down there, and it totally feels like you’re on vacation,’ Mr. Straus, 56, said. In comparison to the hustle and bustle of Midtown, their cobblestoned Tribeca street is ‘quiet—it feels like a country home.’”

While over 60,000 people in New York City shuffle from homeless shelter to homeless shelter every day, rich people do a little shuffling of their own, from one multi-million-dollar home to another. Apparently, the driving force behind the trend is rich urban professionals who don’t feel like waiting in traffic to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and would rather take up a second residency with a different kind of hustle and bustle—the kind you can only find 50 blocks away.

According to the Journal, rich folks buy expensive second homes in the same city in order “to experience the new restaurants and art galleries popping up in gentrifying neighborhoods.” Which is to say their main neighborhoods have been gentrified for years, so to satisfy their desire for authentic city dwelling, they’re doing the most gentrifying thing possible: buying second homes in up-and-coming areas, driving up the cost of rent and ultimately forcing middle-class families to find new neighborhoods for rich people buy homes in.

As for Straus and Missett, their reasoning behind buying a second home was simple. “I’m so in love with Manhattan, and my wife is too,” Straus said. “We wanted another Manhattan experience."

By Elizabeth Preza

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