The Rich Are Still Able to Exclude You, Even in Recession

740 Park
740 Park, looking down on you. Photo: Newscom

Economic downturn be damned — it's still impossible to get past the city's most elite co-op boards, even though all over the city, the rich are getting poorer. That's what the Observer posits in an article today, which, like all great stories in the salmon paper, seems merely to be an excuse to get self-important fools to give ridiculously offensive quotes about themselves and their social caste. Even if you are a titan of finance, you're unlikely to make it past the snootiest of boards, in famous buildings like 740 and 765 Park, 820 Fifth, and the River House. "I'll tell you why! They don't want you going belly up, they don't want you, your fabulous company — Bear Stearns, excuse me — all of a sudden going face down, and you have to sell apartments and you can't pay your maintenance," broker to the rich Edward Lee Cave told the paper. "The current crunch doesn't affect them at all." Sounds fun (even though we knew all this before). What else do these impossible snobby people have to say?

• "I don't recall ever hearing of any [minorities moving in]," said financier H. Fred Krimendahl II, an 820 Fifth board member and a past president of the Philharmonic. "But if Tiger Woods wanted to live here, we'd be happy to talk to him."
• When asked to describe the co-op 19 East 72nd, probably the hardest building off Fifth and Park Avenue to get into, one top broker said: "You wouldn't bring in a rap singer into 19 East 72nd Street — just as you wouldn't take 19 East 72nd into some rap building. They're divergent cultures." [Ed: What is a "rap building"? And how do you take another building into it?]

• "Let's suppose that you know somebody on the board who belongs to a certain country club in Westchester, and the applicant belongs to the same club," posits lawyer Richard Siegler, who works as counsel for 720 Park and says social discrimination is entirely legal. "Wouldn't you think, as the seller, that the board is more likely to accept the person? I don't think that's illegal, I just think that's an inducement to accept one over the other."
• Says River House resident (and ambassador to Hungary) Donald Blinken: "You find that people at River House are rather serious and not as exposed to the vicissitudes."
• "First arrivals like the Russians, I don't think they can get in, they're too new," broker Alice Mason said. "A lot of them just arrived in the last 10 years, five years."

Come on. Aren't you dying to live with these people?

Top Co-ops Amid Dismal Economy: No Fear, Still Loathing [NYO]