Do you think the term “luxury” is abused?
I had written this article over two years ago, and never used it. Decided it’s still relevant (and a good “hangover” piece for this morning!)
What is Luxury?
I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve finally hit my boiling point with the excessive and unnecessary use of phrases such as “Luxury Apartment Rentals” or “Live the luxurious life!” when it comes to these real estate developments.
Take this big banner ad for the Curling Club. You think this place qualifies as “luxury”? Hell no! What you have here is a box of apartment units crammed in tight to maximize revenue. No stylized design, or unheard-of amenities. Yeah, it may be over-priced, but it’s cheap and in no way qualifies as luxury. WHY MUST THEY PASS IT OFF AS SOMETHING SPECIAL?
I hate quoting the dictionary, but luxury means:
1. Something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort.
2. Something expensive or hard to obtain.
3. Sumptuous living or surroundings: lives in luxury.
What’s inessential about an apartment with a living room, kitchen, a few bedrooms and bathrooms? It sure isn’t anything special. I wouldn’t call most of these Hoboken boxes “sumptuous” by any means. You throw some cheap granite as a counter or low-grade stainless appliances, and all of a sudden it has some magic luxurious appeal? I think not. Expensive? Yes. Luxury? No. The walls can be thin, construction shoddy, management worthless and neighbors suspect. Items get stolen, arguments about satellite TV, and sometimes, even a nosy concierge who deals drugs or has a criminal background. I suppose many consider a “view” of NYC a luxury. Maybe, maybe not. I think it’s just a “luxurious” way for the developer to suck more money out of your pocket. I feel that at least 90% of the buildings that say they’re “luxurious” don’t qualify.
When I think of luxury, take a high-end automobile as an example. Premium leather. Double-paned glass. 400 horsepower. Precision engineering. Quality warranty and superior service. Impeccable ride and handling. And stigma associated with owning it. Of course it costs a hell of a lot more, BUT YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR AT LEAST!!
I’d much rather live in a 100 year old brownstone with two dozen coats of paint, radiators, small bathroom and zero “amenities”. Because I’ll take the peace and quiet, spacious layout, solid construction and charming design over cookie-cutter condos any day.
At least some buildings in Hoboken can be considered luxury these days. There are some single-family brownstones with elevators, $100,000 kitchens and floorboard heating in great, safe neighborhoods. But it’s going to set you back a couple million dollars to truly be luxurious. A $500k condo next to the projects will never qualify no matter what. You think that counter top will give you peace of mind when you’re looking over your shoulder or ducking for cover?
I have no problem with these buildings per se, the realtors that profit or tenants that live there. But why must everything be so dishonestly over-hyped? Can’t these marketing gurus (liars) be honest? I’d have more respect for them if they said “Decent apartments. Clean, average size, priced similar to others in Hoboken” rather than making it sound like something on Central Park South. I suppose if you came from a homeless shelter and moved into one, you’d be living the high life. I imagine it has something to do with your perspective.
A butler, personal driver, live-in cook and a full-time assistant is luxury. Not many apartments in Hoboken.
I guess in the year 2008, Hoboken “luxury” is the new “so-so”.
What is your definition of luxury?