Apparently It's Possible to Live in a Flat With Too Good of a View

By Alissa Walker on at

A building boom of supertalls in New York City is resulting in some of the highest residential units in the world—we’re talking flats that are at a dizzying 90 stories and higher. So where does that leave the people who live in the former-tallest residential buildings? Don’t worry, they’re just fine in their 80th floor flats—because the view there is supposedly better.

As part of the New York Times Magazine’s New York-focused issue out this Sunday, there’s a splashy interactive feature that explores the city’s supertalls. But the most intriguing story follows writer Jon Ronson’s quest to identify and interview the elite group of New Yorkers who live above 800 feet. The 800 Club, he calls them.

Ronson manages to find a few very wealthy people who welcome him into their penthouses. As it happens, these are people who live in the flats that are currently some of the highest but won’t be much longer, so they invent reasons for why they’d so much rather be in these shorter-supertalls. Consider the case of real estate lawyer Warren Estis, who lives on the 86th floor of what used to be the world’s tallest residential building, Trump World Tower. When looking out of his absurd home at the almost-finished mammoth at 432 Park Avenue, he can’t help but express his distaste:

Estis shot its penthouse — which is, at 1,396 feet, currently the highest condominium in the world — a derisive glance. “At a certain point, you’re too high,” he said. “You don’t want to be higher than this,” he added, meaning his own apartment. “Up there you lose the effect. You have to walk to the window to look down.”

Ugh, that sounds awful. I would hate to live in a flat like this and have to walk all the way to the window to look down at the plebs below, wouldn’t you?

To make matters worse, Estis may not even be in The 800 Club, thanks to the owner of his building, one Donald Trump. When Ronson double-checked the building’s height with Marshall Gerometta from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Gerometta found that only the building’s penthouse—four floors higher than Estis—was actually above 800 feet:

Trump was probably one of the first builders to skip floor numbers in order to inflate the total count. “What he markets as the 90th floor is often actually the 72nd floor, just to make it sound more impressive.”

“The Donald,” Gerometta said, laughing, “likes to exaggerate.”

Trump World Tower said Gerometta is wrong, but will not supply the blueprints that might prove otherwise. [NY Times]