Overheard: The $2 million ghetto

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How much total do you plan to tip the building staff this year?

The price of NYC real estate may have dropped a lot, but that doesn't mean it's affordable. An apartment hunter passes along this observation in a StreetEasy discussion about which direction the market is going:

The affordability question really hit home for me when I recently walked into a $2mm apt in a new building. The couple living there had two little boys and every inch of the apt was being used. The small living space was taken over by the kids gear and toys. The dining table was pushed into a wall in the corner and you clearly had to move it every time you wanted to seat 4.

I was reminded of the time in college I did surveys in 3 poor cities for HUD. I went to impoverished neighborhoods and walked into small 1 bed apts where 8 or 10 or more people were living-- usually 3 to 4 people per double mattress. There was no space to breathe and their few belongings were stacked in piles everywhere.

It was the same feeling in the $2mm apt except the strollers and belongings cost thousands of dollars. This was a very wealthy family that could not afford enough space for their family and their belongings in NYC. It was very little wonder they were leaving. I walked out and told my husband that we had just seen our first $2mm ghetto.”