New York City has always been a capital of greed, excess and world-historical indulgence. Sure, the threat of a whole new Depression may have curtailed some of our larger desires, but even if we were all reduced to wearing barrels, New Yorkers would still find a way to satisfy the need for vice. With that in mind, we've provided a way to balance your predilection for sin with some occasions for virtue. You can be a good person, right?
The INDULGENCE: Expensive Comic Books
At this years annual meeting of NYC's geek elite that the suits call Comic-Con, the Holy Grail of Comic Books was on sale — Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, who graces the famous cover lifting a car. Priced at a quarter of a million dollars.
The PENANCE: Donating Comics to Charity
Instead of spending enough money to buy a house (not in this city, though) on a single comic book, why not donate those tattered superhero adventures occupying your parents' attic space to Collectibles with Causes? They use the money to help people with medical, educational and developmental challenges. Look: no matter how long your cling to that unopened issue where Superman dies, still in its black mylar, it's never going to be worth $250,000. We all still have it.
The INDULGENCE: Buying Expensive Perfume
Saks Fifth Ave. sells Clive Christian's No. 1 for Women perfume at over $500 per ounce. It's made from unicorn horns and angel halos.
The PENANCE: De-Stinking NY
Rather than working hard so you can afford to smell like God's vagina, you could devote your energy to improving the odor of your fair city. The Department of Sanitation will help you organize a volunteer clean-up event by lending brooms, rakes and shovels — so you can sweep up litter, gather leaves and then dig a hole in which to bury them, so future generations won't know the mess we made.
The INDULGENCE: Expensive Cognac
Order a glass of Remy Martin's Louis XIII Black Pearl Magnum Cognac at the Plaza's Rose Club, and a manager will put on white gloves and pour it for you. You also get some dried fruit and nuts — which is the least they could do, considering the $2,500 price tag.
The PENANCE: Becoming an AA Sponsor
Instead of indulging your drinking problem with expensive cognac, you could clean up your alcoholism and then volunteer to be an AA Sponsor and help others to do the same. If we all pitch in, our children could live in a world without shots worth more than everything in our closet combined.
The INDULGENCE: Park Avenue Penthouses
Our career intern Henry lives in a Brooklyn room not much bigger than his parents' pantry. If he were willing to pay 350 times as much for rent, he could afford a $200,000/month Park Avenue penthouse with more than two bathrooms for every bedroom, a separate upstairs living area and a library. As it is, he sleeps on a bed of carefully stacked paperbacks.
The PENANCE: Volunteering for Habit for Humanity
Or Henry could devote the time he'd have to work (at plotting bank robberies) to be able to afford that rent by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity's NYC chapter, which not only builds homes for the underprivileged but advocates for affordable housing, as well.
The INDULGENCE: Hamburgers with Real Gold-Flakes
Stop by the Wall Street Burger Shoppe with a stimulus check and lunch like a Rockefeller by ordering the "Richard Nouveau," a $175 hamburger made from Kobe beef and topped with black truffles, foie gras and aged cheese. Oh, and it's topped with gold. Because rich people don't just hoard gold — they eat it, too, as a snack between meals, when they feast on orphan bones.
The L sought out virtuous New Yorkers and asked them what vices they indulge in, mainly to feel better about ourselves. And we do. Feel better.
May 13, 2009