The Ghettoization of Nantucket


Vacation islands, we have always suspected, are particularly vulnerable during a recession. Think about it: If the shit goes down, you're all alone out there in the middle of the ocean, cut off from the rest of the world, and what do you have? Some tiki torches, ten to twelve lobster crackers, and a couple of jugs of margarita mix? The Times today gives some credence to our theory with a story about Nantucket. Things haven't entirely gone to seed there, we learn — not yet — but society does seem to be unraveling. The market value of the real estate on the island has declined from $20 billion in 2008 to $14 billion, according to one estate agent. The RopeWalk, a restaurant that overlooks the Nantucket marina, has deigned to open for breakfast for the first time. And an old-timey fudge shop is struggling, owing in part to the Wachovia Corporation’s decision not to hold its annual equity conference on the island. (Banks! Damned if they do, damned if they don't.) Worse:

A posh new yacht club, planned six years ago in the days of easy money, opened last Wednesday with its membership roster just 78 percent full.

Shudder. Mark our words: Soon we'll be hearing that the scrimshaw and wampum jewelry markets have collapsed, that ice-cream places are discontinuing exotic flavors, and that Nantucket residents are being subjected to the ultimate indignity: croissant lines.

In Summer Hideaway for the Rich, Slump Is Visiting, Too [NYT]