Want to Live Like the Rich? – Or Maybe Not.

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

Wednesday Martin’s memoir, “Primates of Park Avenue tells the story of her struggle for acceptance by the women of her newly adopted neighborhood in the tony section of New York City known as the UES or Upper East Side of Manhattan after moving from Downtown. With a background in anthropology and primatology, she describes the rites and rituals as if speaking of an ancient culture. The tone is humorous, but the points are well-made.

If mommy isn’t accepted, then the kiddies can’t get playdates. If mommy doesn’t make the right choices early enough for much coveted spots in certain preschools, her children’s educational futures can be in serious jeopardy for years to come. If mommy isn’t glamorous enough, then hubby’s aura of success is diminished. In the UES, mommy is the barometer of a family’s success, i.e., acceptance into the UES social scene and acceptance by the co-op board into the apartment building of your choice. Now, that’s pressure!

The New York City borough of Manhattan is unofficially divided into Uptown, Midtown, Downtown, East Side and West Side. For primate purposes, Midtown is lumped with Downtown. Downtown and West Side women are chic, trendy, casual, individualistic and avant – garde. UES women, however, must follow the rules. Uniformity, conformity, adherence to the guidelines are de rigueur.

What must one do in the quest for acceptance in the UES?

* Educate yourself – at least a college degree and a Masters degree but it helps if you don’t work outside the home. (If your career is important to you, move Downtown or to the West Side. Life will better accommodate you and your family.)

* Conform. Artistic temperaments don’t fly here.

* Work out at either Physique 57 or SoulCycle which also have Hamptons locations. Aim for a size zero. Don’t be caught doing yoga or walking. These activities are passé.

* Be aware that Physique 57 and SoulCycle attract very different women. Choose your side.

* Do not vocalize in exercise class. Stay focused on your reason for being there.

* Wear only Lululemon for exercise class – black pants or capris and racerback tops.

* Choose footwear carefully – ballet flats, wedges, wedge sneakers, stilettos, platforms, high black soft leather boots, Pucci or Chanel rain boots are appropriate for different occasions and in different seasons. Pay attention.

* Buy skinny jeans, leather leggings with demure silk blouses, long-sleeved leather dresses, Chanel fringed jackets and dresses, short, fitted MCQueen dresses, classic trench coats, Moncler down puffer coats, fur vests and full length fur coats.

* Flaunt your latest “kick-ass outfit”  ( my words) before season so the other women will be copying you if they wear the same style. This insures your place as a style setter.

* Forget fat-free and low cal. Concentrate on organic, biodynamic, detoxifying and antioxidant rich food.

*Learn to say, “No thank you,” when a server offers you a canapé.

* Enjoy massages, facials, etc. monthly, if not weekly or bi-weekly. Also, a weekly blowout insures straight, glossy hair. No curls, please.

* Allow a budget of at least $100,000 a year for your personal grooming, aesthetics and wardrobe.

* Carry a Birkin handbag. It adds clout. Try for black, Blue Jean, or gold.

* Hire a wardrobe consultant to guide you to the right choices for drop-off and pickup at your children’s school.

* Reproduce. The more children you have, the richer you and your husband look. From three to six children is the UES norm.

* Worship your descendants, not your ancestors. Children are “priceless but useless” as famously observed by Meredith Small.

* Utilize drivers, nannies and helicopter rides to the Hamptons where you and your children should spend the entire summer, or at least, weekends.

* Engage preschool tutors for music, voice, French, Mandarin, Little Learners, cooking classes and to prep them for kindergarten entrance exams and interviews and playdate consultants who teach the children how to “play nice.”

* Expect to be segregated from your husband at a dinner party or charity events. Men and women do not mingle. A woman who engages in conversation with men invites ostracism.

* Accept and expect luxurious gifts, lavish vacations, allowances for wardrobe and face and body upgrades and charitable work and contributions. A “year-end bonus” is often outlined in a prenuptial agreement or may be given out of “largesse.” No economic parity going on here. It’s slanted in the men’s favor. Women must behave themselves in order to insure a sizable “year-end bonus.”

While Wednesday Martin initially struggled, she eventually was accepted by a number of women so she and her sons had playdates.

Wednesday Martin suffered a miscarriage in the sixth month of her third pregnancy, losing her baby girl “Daphne” with inconsolable sorrow. This is where the primates of Park Avenue rallied around her, each expressing sympathy and bestowing kindness while sharing similar stories of loss and bereavement. Wednesday found the chink in their armor. Women who previously ignored her hellos, now offered kindness. Underneath the brittle exteriors, hearts broken by the loss of children during pregnancy and after birth, softened to express sympathy in this shared experience.

Wednesday and her family eventually moved to Manhattan’s West Side, her husband tired of the crosstown commute. I expect she’ll be much happier there.

© 2015 All rights reserved.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea
    Jul 04, 2015 @ 11:44:00

    Interesting peek into the lives of the 1%.



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