Author Wednesday Martin made waves this summer in her book “Primates of Park Avenue” that offered an inside look at the peculiar habits of Manhattan’s old-money families (remember wife bonuses?) .
Now, she’s back with a new startling message: These old-money people really aren’t so rich anymore. After all, if you divide a $100 million fortune between 20 family members over 100 years…well it does run out.
Faced with this crisis, Martin says, Upper East Siders have started (*gasp*) taking real jobs to earn a living like consulting newer, richer people on what art to buy or how to invest their money — because they’ve obviously done such a great job with their own.
“This generation has been forced to pretty much behave like everybody else: hit the Drybar for $45 blowouts and worry about getting their progeny into the private schools that were once their exclusive right and domain.”
That’s right — Dalton and Riverdale are no longer reserved for the old money elite — as an Upper East Side mom told Martin, “Dalton’s whole thing for a while now is a push for diversity,” oh dear. “And at Brearley, Collegiate and just about anywhere else really good you were sure your kid could go, the flood of hedge fund money means being a legacy [a person whose parent attended] doesn’t count the way it used to.”
The most infuriating thing about all of this, according to advertising mogul Richard Kirshenbaum who is quoted in Martin’s article is that the new money people aren’t even flattering the old money people by copying them. “They’re not as interested in living in their co-ops because they aren’t interested in prewar aesthetics. They’re not interested in joining their clubs because they can build new clubs with more modern amenities. It’s almost as if the not-caring upsets their equilibrium by making them invisible.”