Sure New York may seem like a cripplingly expensive prison of GrubHub ads and broker fees, but it's totally an illusion. Today the Times looks at a study and finds that NYC is actually a pretty good bargain! And to think, we spent all this time with our heads bowed, staring at the ripples of dirt in the pavement, wishing dearly to be transformed into an ant, an innocent ant that doesn't receive automated overdraft notifications or—wait, sorry—we misread this thing. New York is a pretty good bargain if you're rich.
According to a study by UPenn economist Jessie Handbury [PDF], people who earn $100K or more in cities like New York actually pay less for things like groceries or high-end goods because there is more competition for their business, and because market factors allow the cost of distributing nice things to be spread around evenly.
What's puzzling (some might use the phrase "provoking an insatiable desire to toss a shit-smeared cinderblock through the nearest Dean & Deluca," not us though) about the Times' take is that they dance around this salient point: who makes $100K or more in New York City?
Lo, the path to Happiness lies in a thorough regimen of cold showers, self-flagellation, and turning a blind, humble eye to the lobsters people are having delivered to their office at the click of a button.
Catherine Rampell, economic reporter for the New York Times:
Professional-class workers who like to moan about the cost of living in New York—and I’m including myself in this group—don’t realize how spoiled we are by both variety and competitive pricing. Truthfully, things seem more expensive here because there’s just way more high-end stuff around to tempt us, and we don’t do the mental accounting to adjust sticker prices for the higher quality. We see a sensible shoe with a $480 price tag or an oatmeal cookie for $4 and sometimes don’t register that these are luxury versions of normal items available from Payless or Entenmann’s.
Didn't some famous lady say this recently at a TED talk or something?
And sure, you could pay less for a place in Richmond or Austin, but no one there has even heard of a lobster roll, much less a decent lobster roll.
Still, it’s somewhat unfair to compare housing costs here to those in a place like Buffalo, or even Atlanta, since perks like access to amenities and unusually lucrative jobs are baked into the cost of New York real estate.
Also "baked into the cost" of most New Yorkers' real estate: wall-hidden rat orgies, those lonely faucets that turn on briefly after being shut off, and the muffled throb of Benny Benassi mingling with the choked sobs of the old man who lives in 4B that no one has actually seen.
And yet, our delis deliver.