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“Everybody hates each other here”
Several years ago I was taking a cab from LaGuardia into Manhattan. It was the first time I had been to New York in couple years, and as I looked at the skyline I was surprised to see a super tall, super skinny not-quite-completed-rectangle of a building shooting up into the sky at the north end of Midtown Manhattan. I took a photo of it and tweeted it, asking my New York friends, “what the hell is that ugly thing?”
The answer was 432 Park Avenue, which was about to become the tallest residential building on the planet. It has since been surpassed in that department, but it remains the most noticeable building to result from a boom of ultra-tall, ultra-expensive residential towers in New York over the past decade.
These buildings were built to cater to affluent all-cash buyers, most of whom remain anonymous thanks to the transactions being made in the name of shell companies. Many of the apartments in these buildings are only occupied part of the year or, in some cases, are not occupied at all. It’s something of an open secret that a great many of these apartments were purchased by shady interests, many from overseas, in order to park money in real estate. Or, perhaps, launder it.
That all seems sketchy as hell, but at least the condos are nice, right? Well . . .
Six years later, residents of the exclusive tower are now at odds with the developers, and each other, making clear that even multimillion-dollar price tags do not guarantee problem-free living. The claims include: millions of dollars of water damage from plumbing and mechanical issues; frequent elevator malfunctions; and walls that creak like the galley of a ship � all of which may be connected to the building’s mmain selling point: its immense height, according to homeowners, engineers and documents obtained by The New York Times.
The details in the story are kinda delicious in an eat-the-rich sort of way. I mean, water damage and engineering failures are what they are — no one expects or can predict those things � but peoople complaining about a tower built halfway to Heaven creaking in the wind and experiencing elevator issues? The trash chutes being super loud due to garbage hitting terminal velocity? The uber-expensive private restaurant where residents are required to pay a certain amount of money per year seeing its rates jacked up? I’m not sure what anyone was expecting.
And before you are tempted to have sympathy for these people, make damn sure you the sorts of people you’re dealing with here:
Ms. Abramovich and her husband, Mikhail, retired business owners who worked in the oil and gas business, bought a high-floor, 3,500-square-foot apartment at the tower for nearly $17 million in 2016, to have a secondary home near their adult children.
Not that I don’t have at least a small soft spot for Ms. Abramovich, who seems like she tells it like it is:
The tension in the building has been simmering for years, Ms. Abramovich said.
“Everybody hates each other here,” she said, but, for the most part, residents want to keep the squabbling out of the public eye.
Someone think of the billionaires in their high rises.
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