Manhattan’s Shrinking Middle Class

jump-8-articleInlineHave you ever dreamt about buying an apartment in Manhattan and attending every cultural event, art and restaurant opening, joining the morning free dog run in Central Park, shopping on Madison Avenue daily, taking classes at The Art Students’ League or Columbia …? I have.

But, it’s probably not going to happen. Actually, it won’t because I can’t afford it. This is why: Manhattan is being infiltrated with the wealthiest of the wealthy. And all of the attendant costs are going up. Let’s start with real estate.

“A lot of people are hanging on by the skin of their teeth,” said Cheryl King, an acting coach who lives and works in a combined apartment and performance space that she rents out for screenings, video shoots and workshops to help offset her own high rent.

“My niece just bought a home in Atlanta for $85,000,” she said. “I almost spend that on rent and utilities in a year. To them, making $250,000 a year is wealthy. To us, it’s maybe the upper edge of middle class.”

Then there is the price of food, doctors and dentists, medicines, gyms, haircuts, TAXICABS, doggy day care, theatre tickets, museum fees, etc. “And yet the middle class stubbornly hangs on, trading economic pain for the emotional gain of hot restaurants, the High Line and the feeling of being in the center of everything. The price tag for life’s basic necessities — everything from milk to haircuts to Lipitor to electricity, and especially housing — is more than twice the national average.”

So, if you can afford this, are you middle class? And, what exactly constitutes “middle class” in New York’s most stellar borough? How much you make, when did you arrive, do you have children, what are you willing to put up with/do to stay there? And how long will there be one? Amy O’Leary walks us through all of that and reminds us that “Reports of the middle class’s demise also appeared in 1978, 1998, 2006 and 2009, when The New York Observer chimed in with ‘City to Middle Class: Just Not That Into You.‘”

If you love Manhattan, as I do, read this article and be sad:

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