David Sirota writes:
In the apartment building the Times profiles, domiciles go for $7 million a year, including a 300-square-foot “en suite sky garage” that “would be valued at more than $800,000 if priced at the same rate per square foot as the rest of the apartment.” No doubt, the view from the garage is so good, the car’s owner can see the vast swaths of the city’s outer boroughs — the places where people are lucky to make $800,000 in their entire lifetimes.
This sounded fishy to me. It is: The apartments are for sale, not for rent, and the apartment in question is on sale for $7 million; it does not rent for $7 million a year.
Easy enough mistake to make (and Sirota corrected it after I pointed it out). But what about this? “No doubt, the view from the garage is so good, the car’s owner can see the vast swaths of the city’s outer boroughs — the places where people are lucky to make $800,000 in their entire lifetimes.”
The poorest borough in New York City is the Bronx, where the median household income is $34,264 a year, or $1.37 million over a 40-year working life. Given that they would have to be making a good deal less than the median Bronx income, you’d have to be unlucky to make only $800,000 in your lifetime. (About 44 percent of people living in the Bronx are either under 18 or over 65, so I’m using household income rather than per capita income.)
I lived in the South Bronx for a few years, and it is indeed poor. (My congressional district was the poorest in the United States.) But people in the Bronx would not be any wealthier if rock stars and movie stars (I’m told Mick Jagger and Nicole Kidman live in the building in question) had to park their Rolls-Royces on the ground level. The two things are not related.
Even if you take the less representative measure of per capita money income, New Yorkers outside of Manhattan would have an average 40-year income of $975,760, meaning that an income of $800,000 would make them unlucky, not lucky.
Sirota writes that even at $7 million once rather than $7 million per annum, the apartment is still [expletive deleted] “nauseating.” But why?
The apartment in question is selling for five times the median in Manhattan. Sirota lives in Denver. Here is an apartment selling for five times the Denver median. Two bed, two bath — nauseating? And it doesn’t even have a Ferrari elevator! If anything, Mick Jagger et al. seem to be getting a relatively good deal. New 1 percent motto: Better with money than you are.