New York City, the greatest city on Earth, or so they say. In truth I have only ever been there once and spent four days bouncing around, Jamaica Queens, Time Square, and various touristy spots having gone with some friends we stayed with. Little did I know that I was staying not far down the street from where 50 cent was once shot. I also didn’t know that was something to brag about but as I was soon to discover New York was a vastly different place from the small country town I came from. We survived on street pizza and hot dogs, walked countless miles each day and knew absolutely no privacy or personal space for the entire for days. The greatest city on Earth felt crowded, loud, dirty and downright rude to me. The hustle that everyone else had seemed to embrace only left me tired and confused. But then again, I didn’t have Donald Trump money to live it up.
As it happens we walked by West 57th street that would become known as Billionaires Row. I of course wouldn’t know it at the time but you couldn’t live in anyone of the sprawling towers for less than a few million dollars. Numbers that ware far from my imagination considering I was an unemployed college graduate at the time. These shining steel and glass mega structures were something I really couldn’t comprehend. I had assumed they were an office building until one of my friends pointed out they were residential towers. As I bumped shoulder to shoulder of countless strangers just walking from one street corner to the next, I wondered who in the world could live around such noise and endless streams of people without a front yard or a moment of silence. Let alone find comfort in never being alone. As would happen more than once, my friend the resident New Yorker, would tell me my way of living was just as shocking to her.
A few hours later when my feet could take no more walking and I was to the point of hyper ventilating from the Claustrophobia of the subway and city buses we headed back to her mother home in Queens. Resting at her kitchen table I brought up again how I couldn’t comprehend how a place to live could be so expensive. So she got out her phone and pulled up a YouTube video from Business Insider that showed an apartment from the very building. I stared in amazement at the small screen while the narrator talked about the twelve foot ceilings, imported Italian marble bathrooms and Jacuzzi style bathtubs. Every room came decorated with art and the latest décor. I had never seen anything so emasculate in my whole life. It could all be mine for the rock bottom price of $28.5 million dollars. While I had never wanted to find out what the black market value of my kidney and bone marrow was. However, at least once I can admit to being tempted. It was then and there and a kitchen table in Jamaica Queens.
I’ve never thought that opulence was a terrible thing and now I knew I wanted some of it for myself. I wasn’t mad at those who had it when I didn’t. I was envious not jealous or upset. Once I thought about cost of a maid and a chef I knew I’d need a few million more before I was ready to make the purchase. Here’s hoping no one scoops it up before I make my fortune. At the end of the day plenty of people would throw stones at people who have and live in such over the top surroundings when so many others have nothing at all and struggle to get by. Not me. We all would live in such surroundings given the chance. At the end of the day, no matter what we say, we all want to live in a penthouse like that. People like fancy, decadent and indulgent things and always have. If we didn’t, New York wouldn’t be what it is today. A place where everyone is fighting for their own definition of the good life.