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New York Surreal Estate

Having recently become the owner of a Brooklyn co-op, I’ve learned that New York City real estate is a universe unto itself. But I didn’t realize just how little it had in common with the rest of the world until I saw the Real Estate section in yesterday's Times. The lead article, headlined “Town House Living: The Untold Story,” breaks the news that when you live in a house – as opposed to a full-service doorman building – you’re responsible for such “dirty work” as hiring repairmen and (gasp!) taking out the garbage. (The article helpfully includes a photo of a homeowner sorting his own recyclables.) Living in a house, we learn, means that when you come home from a vacation, you have to bring your luggage up the stairs yourself. And oh, those stairs! One couple admits to “doubling up” on kitchens, laundry rooms, and espresso machines to “ameliorate the strain.”

The Times lifestyle pages have been catering to the super-elite for some time now, but this is insane. Two kitchens? Former New Yorkers lament that the Real Estate section isn’t distributed beyond the New York environs, but it’s probably best to keep stories like this under wraps.

-- Ruth Franklin