This is the top for New York City. It’s all downhill from here.
A new condo building is going up in Manhattan’s Hudson Square neighbourhood — the triangle on the river between Tribeca, SoHo, and the West Village that has until recently been mostly commercial and industrial buildings.
15 Renwick isn’t just any building: it’s a steampunk-themed luxury development. Steampunk-themed. Luxury. Development.
What is steampunk? It’s mostly a literary and artistic genre. Think Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd, but much less murderous, riding atop a floating, steam-powered sidecar.
American novelist Caitlin Kittredge described it as “sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more whimsy and fewer orphans,” according to the steampunk movement’s official website. An overly optimistic nostalgia for an earlier time… where have we heard that before?
Condos are priced between $US2 million and $US7.5 million (with hefty maintenance fees, natch). The building’s amenities include the regular: parking, roof deck, laundry. But there are also on-brand steampunk touches: a “high design boxing gym,” a zen garden, and a 24-hour butler (listed as a feature in the lobby, so presumably more like a doorman in a puffy shirt?).
There’s never been a clearer sign that 21st-century New York is nothing but an amusement park for the world’s wealthy and their children. It has ceased to be a real place for the rest of us.
The building’s website is filled with model-like characters that appear to have just stepped off the set of Hollywood films, as if actually living in this building is also just a fantasy. Given the number of foreigners buying condos in New York at the moment, that it would be totally sold, but no one would actually live in this building is not all that far fetched.
The developer joked to Danielle Tcholakian that it was a building for “rich hipsters.” Here’s how the building is described on its website.
Let’s talk about the fact that there are characters in an apartment building. Not staff, but characters. Not residents, but characters. Living in this building is all about not living a real life.
It is questionable that living in New York City these days bears any resemblance to reality.
It’s more like this: