The luxury home market may be stagnating in Greenwich, Connecticut, but some people are still living the dream. In this week's New Yorker, Nick Paumgarten enters the belly of the beast, and has a surreal experience visiting the home of Mark Mariani, a 43-year-old developer and garden-center owner who describes himself on his Website as "a sort of latter-day Thoreau crossed with an English gardener."
Out back, a battalion of gardeners was trimming boxwoods that had been sculpted in the shape of musical notes. "It's something Liberace should have done," Mariani said. The pool had rose petals floating in it. Allés led through the hedgerows to little cherub statues, corresponding to his wife and two children, then farther on to an orchard full of plums, figs, strawberries, olives, and pears. Inside, he showed me his basketball court and his movie theatre, where he urged me to sit in one of his plush velvet seats. He turned out the lights and out on a DVD of a Carlos Santana concert. "You like Santana?" Mraiani said. "I'm so glad he finally got noticed."
Thoreau would have approved entirely, we're sure.
A Greenwich State of Mind [NYer, print only]