At this point, no one should be surprised by the news that Manhattan is full of cavernous, bejeweled palaces, outfitted with fine linens and many pairs of fancy jeans, left to languish, empty, as their princely owners cavort overseas. Borrrrring. Tell me something I don't already know!
Still, the New York Daily News has seen fit to document once again this totally pedestrian phenomenon. "No one is home at some of Manhattan's most luxurious apartments," the headline reads, which, duh, why would you want to live in just Manhattan when you can live everywhere and nowhere, leaving a trail of Margiela and Alexander Wang behind you as you hop from Paris to London to Dubai?
In the article, we meet a broker named Daniel Hedaya who specializes in dealing with mega-high-dollar clients. "The ultimate luxury," he says, "is to travel the world and always feel like you're at home." What does that mean? For some, it means—well, I'll let Daniel explain:
Hedaya said one of his clients, whom he declined to name, has five global homes all with the same finishes, the same furniture, the same linens, the same clothing, the same toothbrush, the same gym equipment and even the same coffee mugs. Each pair of jeans he buys, he buys enough for all his homes.
Never mind the hollowness of those global pieds-à-terre, the sound of nothingness echoing endlessly off hardwood and exposed brick, or the unwashed masses in the streets. This is your home. Isn't it cozy?
Alex Birkenstock, heir to the multimillion-dollar Phish-fan footwear fortune, owns the world's most expensive Urban Outfitters-themed crash pad, right in the financial district. Guess how many times he's stepped inside.
The multimillion-heir inked a deal to buy a penthouse on Broad St. in the Financial District for $5.87 million in 2007 — then commissioned the designer of the world-renowned Soho House to travel the globe collecting chic, industrial-style items such as reclaimed wood floors from the former Portuguese embassy in Paris, Belgian street lamps fashioned into chandelier style pendant lights, Art Deco kitchen doors purchased from a theater in Hawaii, and a 1,000-pound steel and brass safe bought from the Bank of France in Vichy.
The improvements cost $4 million.
But before he even saw them in place or enjoyed the view from the top floor, Birkenstock bolted. He has visited the property only once and he hasn't rented it out.
New York is nice and all, but it would be even nicer if it were emptier and shinier. Treasure chests and Renaissance art, alligator skins and earthen urinals imported from Madrid—that's the stuff. And people? Who needs 'em.