For Richer and Poorer, 40 Riverside Boulevard and VIPs

Photo by Colin Miller via NYYIMBY

The talk of the town is of the building 40 Riverside Boulevard, which has separate entrances for its richer and poorer tenants. It’s all about tax breaks which demand 55 out of 219 abodes are for the unwashed masses. Everyone thinks this is the end of the world, and the developer, Extell Development Company, and The City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development are taking a lot of heat. The unwashed masses have to go through some back alley to get to their homes, feeling lucky all the time to be in such a great building in such a great neighborhood and just a knock on the wall away from the upper crust.

I’m not sure what the all the  screaming is about, as this is nothing new. Clubs have been doing this sort of thing for eons and no one who counts complains. At least that’s the thought process. Like 40 Riverside, clubs have door people that usher the well-heeled to tables and VIP areas, while the less washed are relegated to the bar areas and sometimes a dance floor. The truly unwashed are actually kept outside on the pavement. The less washed feel grateful to catch a glimpse of a model or even a celebrity. They count the bottles that cost more than their rent on nearby tables occupied by rich men and their arm candy. On occasion the poorer can meet the richer and more famous in common areas like dance floors or bathrooms. It is their opportunity to breathe the rarified air that travels with the beautiful people. If they can muster up something clever to say or look hot enough, who knows if they too can rub elbows with their dreams. 

Poor, hot girls get invited to hang with the bottle set all the time. It makes them feel upwardly mobile. We live in a world where good tables and reservations at restaurants and pricing are out of reach for most, but it is rare that the disparity is shoved up our butts like at 40 Riverside. I wouldn’t live there if I were rich or if I were poor. I’d live in a place where classes and fashion and gender and new ideas from the young and the old, richer and poorer mingle with ease. Clubs that have VIP rooms or segregate the haves from the have less are invariably dull affairs. Still, I say shame on the Department of Housing Preservation and Development who are mandated to mix it up. This is a colossal and disgusting fail.  

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