Posted by Leonard Steinberg on September 5th, 2012

This month Vanity Fair termed Greenwich Village the “GILDED GHETTO”:  is this the appropriate description of the neighborhood everyone, including foreigners, Uptowners and Downtowner’s, agree is the ultimate New York living environment? The area’s unique combination of (guaranteed) low lying buildings that provide the best light in the city, charming tree lined cobbled streets with their eclectic mix of apartments, chic townhouses and mega-mansions, a superb mix of retail and restaurants, and it’s proximity to the Hudson River Park and Meatpacking District make it the kind of utopian ‘bubble’ that seems to be a trend around the globe.

Other cities all have their ‘gilded ghetto’s’ I guess, from Rome to London to Beijing, Cape Town, Sidney, Moscow and Rio. With the divide between wealthy and the rest of the world growing I see a growing trend: this is where the Village is possibly a bit unique in that it probably will always have some element of ‘West Side Story’-looking real estate mixed in….A Burberry store next to a store that’s very far from that price-point. The human scale of the Village is what makes it so very desirable: where else could a mega-mansion blend in so discreetly and not be a gilded limestone wedding cake? This is all very characteristic of the new, younger discreet wealth.

This is the new luxury. The un-luxury of the new-new global wealth that appears more drawn to the brassier, flashy versions of luxury that are beginning to look all alike.