Party at a Rich Dude’s House

Photo by: Steve Brennan

It’s no secret that there is, pardon my French, a shit-ton of money in New York City.

I remember, in my early 20, dating someone in Chelsea that was wealthy. Well—at least, I thought we were dating, and at the time found it wildly romantic that he always paid for me to get a taxi home to 181st Street. (Now, I understand that he was just trying to get me out of the apartment.)

It wasn’t his apartment that blew my mind, or even all of the expensive dinners he took me to—it was the taxi rides home. Usually around 1 or 2 a.m., my head buzzing from a bottle of wine that I could never afford (and still can’t), a taxi would speed down the West Side Highway, and I would look at the city. So many buildings; so many apartments in those buildings; so many people inside those apartments. I’ve never been able to afford anything below 125th Street. How do SO many people have SO much money?

The other day, my friend Kyle was house-sitting and invited a few of us over for dinner and games. (Codenames was the game of choice.) I got off the train and couldn’t believe I was at the right address: an apartment right across the street from Central Park.

A doorman guided me to the elevator, which took me to the sixth floor. There were only two apartments on the sixth floor. When was the last time I was in an apartment that didn’t have at least eight apartments on every floor?

I knocked, and Derrick came to the door. Kyle was in the kitchen making homemade Bolognese sauce. I passed the first living room into the second. Jack was sitting in an expensive-looking chair, reading a book. “You look so… right,” I said, taking off my jacket.

“There’s an available apartment in the building; I looked it up online.” Jack’s eyes widened. “Four bedrooms, $15 million.”

“I’m sure I have that stashed away in my Swiss bank account,” I shrugged, noticing a hole in my sock. (I’ll probably still wear them a few more times.)

Six of us sat at a long table for dinner while Kyle recounted an odd interaction with the family’s housekeeper, who didn’t want to clean up after anyone who wasn’t in the family. There’s nothing like being in a $15 million apartment (give or take a million) to make a 29-year-old aspiring writer feel like a child again. I felt like a high schooler in the popular kid’s McMansion, afraid to touch anything or spill something on the beige rug. (Not that it stopped me from drinking the $12 bottle of red wine that I brought.)

I couldn’t help but feel inadequate. My boyfriend and I have three roommates in a four-bedroom in Washington Heights, far from the glamour of Central Park West.

Shouldn’t I feel like an adult by now? At nearly 30 years old, why do I still feel like a kid just trying to figure it all out?

We stayed playing games until 11 before my tired ass called it a night. I decided to get a taxi home—I couldn’t afford it, but I really wanted to watch all the apartments pass by again.

Ian-Michael Bergeron

Iowa-born writer Ian-Michael Bergeron has written his weekly column in Get Out! Magazine since 2015, as well as editorials and interviews. He lives in New York City in a one-bedroom with two cats, Alexander and Thomas, and spends most of his income on shoes.

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