Class War: Pt. 1 and 2

Class War: Part 1

One of our senior executives was complaining that they didn’t serve single malt premium scotch in business class on his flight back from LA. Just Dewar’s. How do you get to be so successful and so powerful and still be such a big baby?


Is it legitimate for him to expect better after the exorbitant cost of the seat, long hours spent away from his family and crushing pressure that’s inherent in his position? I have my judgment. How do you rule?

Class War: Part 2

Young, hot, fake blonde ESPN reporter Britt McHenry was picking her car up from an impound lot and got caught on a security camera berating a towing company employee. She was mad that her car had been towed and decided to take it out on the woman behind the counter.

“[You have] no education and no skill set. Just wanted to clarify that.”

“Do you feel good about your job? So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing? Why, because I have a brain and you don’t?”

“I’m on television and you’re in a fucking trailer, honey.”


I watched the tape over and over and was driven into a mad, blind fury. The depth of my rage was disproportionate to the offense committed. This cut me to the bone. Classism is my Achilles heel. The fact that I never went to college is a 50-pound stone that’s been strapped to my back my whole life. I’ve done the best I could with the hand I was dealt but the world is full of Britt McHenrys and senior asset management executives to remind me of my place.

In her tweeted apology, she said it was “…an intense and stressful moment…” Can you imagine your life being so breezy and care-free that retrieving your car from the impound lot qualifies as intense and stressful? I’ve got very un-Christian like feelings for Ms. McHenry coursing through my veins. I fear I’ll enjoy anything bad that happens to her. I don’t want to be that guy. Consumed with schadenfreude. Hoping to see the worst happen to someone. That would make me no better than her. But it’s hard to take the high road.

There’s a smart installation at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery on 21st Street in Chelsea. Artist Tomás Saraceno’s Hybrid Solitary… Semi-Social Quintet… On Cosmic Webs… is on view through May 2nd. His medium is…spider webs.


Each piece in the exhibit was created by spiders spinning webs.


Cubes are constructed from carbon fiber sticks. A spider is introduced into the cube and she begins to spin a web.


During their creation, the cubes are turned onto their various sides so that gravity becomes an element in the construction. Saraceno likens this to an hourglass being flipped. The title of each piece describes its creators and time of construction. This is:

Hybrid solitary social semi-social musical instrument Apus:
built by one Nephila clavipes-six days-
a small commuity of Stegudyphus duffori-four months-
and six cyrtophora citricola sipiderlings-two weeks


The spiders are nurtured and fed. A jar of fruit flies is dumped into the web. Since there’s a food source, the spiders don’t stray.


The pieces range in size and web complexity.


Once Saraceno feels the piece is complete, the spiders are liberated, the webs are treated for preservation and the cubes are sealed off with panes of glass.



You enter the darkened gallery by parting thick, black curtains. It’s startling to walk in from the midday sun. You’re temporarily disoriented.



Poor people are repulsive

There’s a new cruelty being foisted upon the middle income denizens of Manhattan. A whole new insult that was dreamed-up by real estate developers. Do you guys know what a ‘poor door’ is?

In a blatant attempt at fairness, New York City passed an ordinance requiring new residential buildings to include a small percentage of units that are to be sold as affordable housing. For example, a new building nearing completion on the Upper West Side has a few units that will be occupied by families earning $35-$55K annually. Don’t weep for the developers. They are given a significant tax abatement for providing these middle-market units.

Apparently, developers are worried that their upper-income tenants will be so unnerved by the sight of poor people that they managed to get an amendment allowing them to create separate entrances and lobbies; one for their wealthy residents and a second one on an opposite wing of the building for modest-income residents. It’s been unofficially christened the ‘poor door.’

In already existing buildings, amenities like rooftop gardens, gyms and playrooms for children are added to lure high net worth individuals. Access is being restricted to just those new tenants who are paying market-rate rents. The existing tenants who pay below-market rents are not permitted to use these new facilities. One developer was quoted as saying the gyms are being installed for new, market-rate paying tenants, not to please the existing ones.

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say that someone with significant wealth wants to live around like-minded individuals. Fair enough. That being the case, why, in God’s name, would you choose to live in New York City? This place is an economic and racial bouillabaisse. If you’re that put-off by the sight of poor people, go live in Los Angeles or some other economically segregated city. If you can’t live without the East Coast, move to Westchester County or Darien, Connecticut. Those places have laws on the books that make having a modest income a criminal offense.

I want to live on the Upper East Side
And never go down in the street.
Splendid isolation
I don’t need no one

Splendid Isolation
Warren Zevon

Class segregation has been around for a long, long time. Just ask the Brits. But there’s a mean spiritedness at work here. What is this dark, human desire for exclusivity? Is it biological? Something that’s a natural occurrence amongst tribes? Or is it a learned behavior? Isn’t this how horrible things like wars and organized religions start?

With a million neon rainbows burning below me
And a million blazing taxis raising a roar
Here I sit, above the town
In my pet-palliated gown
Down in the depths
On the 90th floor

Down in the Depths (on the 90th Floor)
Cole Porter

Of course, my outrage is because my mother would have been forced to use the poor door. I internalize everything. I’ll own that. I spent some time in therapy and developed a modicum of self-awareness. But aside from that, seeing people treated like second class citizens by a bunch of real estate and hedge fund douche bags irks me a little bit. Plus, they’re scarring this beautiful/hideous city of mine. They’re turning it into Phoenix or Seattle or Tampa or Houston or Omaha or Pittsburgh. All fine places, but each one as vanilla and interchangeable as the next.

Here’s another snappy summer outdoor art installation. I didn’t use to like Jeff Koons’ work but then I got over my bad ass self and now I enjoy it.

koons1His latest is Split Rocker in the plaza of Rockefeller Center, where they put the Christmas tree. It coincides with his career retrospective currently at the Whitney. (A show important enough for me to call in “sick” and attend.)

koons5It’s a flower-covered stature of a child’s rocker split in half. I brought the girls in to see it before they dragged me to Matilda.

koons3One side is modeled after a toy rocking horse that belonged to one of the artist’s sons, and on the other side is the head of a toy dinosaur.

koons4The sculpture is attended to by an army of gardeners. There’s an internal irrigation system that extends to the top of the sculpture. As the summer progresses, it’ll flower becoming fuller and more robust.

koons6I like it. I must be getting soft in my old age.