August 29, 2008, - 2:55 pm

Quick Quiz: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

By Debbie Schlussel
Readers, I’m conducting a test of your instincts. If you had the same reaction as I did when reading this, you pass with flying colors. If you didn’t share my reaction, well, reasonable minds can disagree.
This morning, I read “People Who Live in Glass Houses,” a ridiculous sob story about trendy people who have it “hard” because they bought homes with wall-to-wall windows. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. It fades their furniture, books, and wood floors. Ya think? So sad, too bad.
I love modern and contemporary design . . . a lot. The IKEA and Frank Lloyd Wright stuff–that’s my kinda interior and exterior design. But it’s not for the stupid, which means ya gotta use some common sense and not decide to literally live in a fishbowl. It’s hard for me to feel sorry for gazillionaires who lack basic intelligence.

saraantani.jpg

23-Year-Old Grad Student Sara Antani in Her Lap of Luxury

But that’s not what struck me. Read this excerpt, and tell me what struck you:

Seeking views, Sara Antani bought a 17th-floor condo last August in a new Manhattan high-rise with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Hudson River.
The sun faded Sara Antani’s sofas and made it tough to read her laptop until she installed shades in her Manhattan high-rise.
She got her vistas. But she got other things she didn’t bargain for. The strong and relentless western light forced her to don sunglasses while reading. It made watching television and using her laptop computer almost impossible. The air conditioning could barely keep the temperature tolerable as sun baked the $1.5 million apartment on summer afternoons. And the sun bleached her pair of brightly colored European sectional sofas, which cost $20,000.
In June, Ms. Antani gave in, spending $12,000 on motorized shades that she keeps lowered during the day. “I love being able to see everything,” says Ms. Antani, a 23-year-old graduate student. But “the sun’s just in your eyes; you can’t focus. Everything is so bright.”

What bothered you about this?
Here’s what bothered me:


How the heck is a 23-year-old grad student able to afford a $1.5 million high rise condo in Manhattan? I thought this only happened on the fictional set of “Friends”.
Where did she get the money for $20,000 European sectional sofas? Or the $12,000 motorized shades?
What does Daddy Antani do for a living . . . ‘cuz you don’t have this kinda largesse as a young grad student (unless you’re the founder of Facebook, and she isn’t.)
These are the questions Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Lin completely missed. And, frankly, she missed the whole story. The bigger story is the answer to those questions, not about how her apartment is too sunny.
And most important: Why in the world should we feel sorry for this 20-something grad student who lives like a Rockefeller?
I’m not a believer in the politics of envy. But let’s get some perspective here.
The other people in the story–they’re investment bankers and business people who earned their money. But this kid?
It’s gauche, especially in tough economic times, to read about a real-life female Richie-Rich 23-year-old whining about how her $20K imported couch is fading. Cry me a frickin’ river.
Is this really the worst or even the 50,000th most pressing problem facing America . . . or even this spoiled young woman?
Only if your world is “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” And that show was canceled long ago. Even Robin Leach is laughing at this whinerette.

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26 Responses

The Paris Hilton of graduate students, I’ll say.
That did strike me, Debbie, obviously.
But this did, too:
If it’s the “western light” that’s getting in your eyes when you read, why don’t you turn to the East?
Maybe those European sectional sofas are just too heavy to rotate.

Second City on August 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Let’s just hope that the taxpayers aren’t asked to bail her out if she can’t meet her mortgage payments.

c f on August 29, 2008 at 3:20 pm

She’s probably one of the Govenor’s girlfriends, that’s how she can afford all that stuff. :)

PrincessKaren on August 29, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Perhaps her father is Sunil F. Antani…
http://www.linkedin.com/in/reachantani

GOLDENMIKE4393 on August 29, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Debbie,
I sputtered coffee all over the room laughing when I read that story. Where is the world’s smallest violin?

Harry on August 29, 2008 at 4:04 pm

ME oil profiteers divestiture efforts are taking full advantage of our mortgage crisis . . .expect increased numbers of unemployed Richie Rich “Sara Antani” homeowners settling into such harsh western exposure.
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/71740

heroyalwhyness on August 29, 2008 at 4:09 pm

By the name I’m going to say she is one of the thousands of foreign studnets who show up in the US with suitcases full of cash. It’s common for Mom and Dad to purchase an apartment for the offspring while they are in the US geeting an education. BTW, a school with the highest number of foreign students – U of IL (where Bill Ayers teaches). Meanwhile, state residents find it near impossible to gain admission to their taxpater supported school, while foreigners are shown an open door.

dm60462 on August 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm

I am guessing she was way too stupid to buy window shades / blinds before she moved in. Perhaps she is related to Ben Ladin, moved on up from a cave home to Manhattan? You know growing up in a cave, you forget about window shades. Perhaps she needs to face a specific direction, always?

StuLongIsland on August 29, 2008 at 5:10 pm

hasn’t that lady ever heard of curtains?

richardzowie on August 29, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Oh, Lord! I have a west facing condo in Seattle with floor to ceiling windows and I love it. I have the same issues as the article’s subject has but never even considered it a proble. That’s what my blinds are for!! If the furniture gets a little faded so be it. I even bought all brand new furniture for the unit. I can’t understand how anyone thought this was a story. Sheees!

RightInSeattle on August 29, 2008 at 6:24 pm

I read a story about a 25 year old man near me who lost his legs in iraq,but was still positive-here we have a story about a girl whining aobut her multi million dollar apartment. Am I really supposed to feel sorry for her?

mindy1 on August 29, 2008 at 10:07 pm

Moreover, she has no taste. wtf are those couches?! I can more easily pity her for the excessive sunshine in her multimillion dollar accommodations than I can pity her appalling sense of style.

Xoce on August 30, 2008 at 1:14 am

Moreover, she has no taste. wtf are those couches?! I can more easily pity her for the excessive sunshine in her multimillion dollar accommodations than I can pity her appalling sense of style.

Xoce on August 30, 2008 at 1:16 am

Yeah, this isn’t normal.

bhparkman on August 30, 2008 at 3:08 am

She should’ve had Howard Roark design the building and giving him instructions, too.
“There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

Underzog on August 30, 2008 at 7:41 am

Um, what bothered me was how a 23 year old college student could afford all this!! The other thing that bothered me was that she was TOO STUPID to have the foresight to know these effects of being in a totally sun-lit environment would happen. The THIRD thing that bothered me is that she sounds like a typical whining, bitching, complaining, spoiled, immature little poor little rich girl.

Madame Vengier on August 30, 2008 at 11:08 am

Sounds like she’s quite the little GOP Princess…ENTITLED to everythang…even weather that don’t ruin her furniture.

EminemsRevenge on August 30, 2008 at 3:41 pm

If a bunch of Muslims ever decide to attack us again with planes, I’d recommend this building… not only is this building more expendable, so are the morons who live there.

TheBloop on August 30, 2008 at 3:46 pm

First of all, I think that all of you are reading into this way too much. None of you know anything about her, where she comes from, or what any of her future goals are. You are using a misconstrued, superficial wall street journal article to type cast one of the most intelligent, hardworking women I have ever met in my life. She was not complaining or whining, and was simply asked to comment on the issue of floor to ceiling windows between her schedule load of 24 credits, job, research, and one of the most competitive internships at her University. Later, her words were turned into a paris hilton manifesto to all of you via the Wall Street Journal. To “Eminem’s Revenge,” I hope you know how hurtful and thoughtless your comment was. Sara and I both think this article is silly and useless, and would much prefer to see articles about the current situation of our economy or the housing crisis, but as you have all demonstrated, articles like this cause much more interest in our superficial society than those of any great value. Your reaction and your taking time to write a response to this article says so much about your values and beliefs, and how you choose to spend your time: This makes me wonder why you all feel that you are in a position to judge her in the first place. I wish you all the best of luck in all of your endeavors. I also sincerely pray that your life poses more for you than the short-term satisfaction of judging a person you know absolutely nothing about.
[N0416: NICE TRY, BUT YOU STILL HAVEN'T TOLD US HOW YOUR FRIEND HAS GAZILLIONS AT AGE 23, EVEN THOUGH SHE'S STILL IN GRAD SCHOOL. AS FOR THE 24-CREDITS AND HOLDING A JOB, I DID 30 CREDITS AND HELD A JOB IN BOTH COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL. THAT'S WHAT MANY OF US WHO DIDN'T LIVE IN A $1.5 MILLION CONDO HAD TO DO TO GET THROUGH SCHOOL. BIG WHOOP THAT SHE DOES IT. YOU CONSPICUOUSLY HAVEN'T TOLD US HOW SHE GOT INTO THIS LUXE SITUATION. THE THOUGHTLESS, SUPERFICIAL PERSON IN ALL OF THIS IS THE ONE WHO WASTES $20K ON A SOFA . . . A VEEEERY UGLY SOFA. DS]

NA0416 on August 30, 2008 at 5:34 pm

NA0416, Kudos to you for standing up for your friend, it is thoughtful of you. However, before you criticize those who have posted comments to this article you should do your own assessment of the demographic of NYC. People who live in this city, move here to be the best professional they can be in their field. They have a zest for life and the motivation to carve their own path and want to be successful by taking the road less followed. These are not priveleged persons by any means, like your friend. They work there ass off for years and years, and pay off student loans until they are 65 just so they can get ahead. They come from poor families, and often don’t have a support system which they can rely on. These writers, designers, scientists, teachers, entrepreneurs have only themselves to rely on, and often live in shoe boxes til they are 40 so that they can follow their dreams professionally. They care about the economy, as they are the ones often collecting names for clipboards come election time. They support the small businesses, and refuse to live in buildings with a doorman because in all honesty if you can’t live in this city without one then you shouldnt be here. They read the New Yorker, they have foodie blogs, they shop at the farmer’s market, they buy artwork from locals and they are the American Dream. You talk about the economy as if its a current event, well its not. It may be what is on the front page of the paper but the financial services industry is the epicenter of this city. To write people off and say that they are not concerned about important issues is sick, as this article about friend sounds like something for “ultra high net worth.” The distribution of wealth in this country is out of control and hard working middle class Americans are sick of watching more and more taken away from them, by people who in some degree are undeserving. Take a walk down 6th avenue one day or head to the soup kitchen in the 20′s and you will see what I mean. Don’t complain about your curtains until you put yourself in the shoes of a true new yorker, because only then you will realize what the important things are in life and will realize a $20,000 couch is not one of them.

SmartHipster on August 30, 2008 at 7:52 pm

This story shows that some people just have no common sense regardless of IQ.

Carl on August 31, 2008 at 12:22 am

People living in ordinary digs with normal size windows also have to close the blinds when the sun shines in.
How she lives her life or where the money comes from is her business, assuming she obtained it legally (probably from family) and isn’t hurting anyone.
However, she should have been smart enough to turn down the interview, knowing that it isn’t wise for a 23-year-old grad student to publicize how she lives…and then complain about it when she is living better than most hardworking Americans.
Her willingness to show off her apartment in the photo shows that she is either oblivious, arrogant or uncaring.

4infidels on August 31, 2008 at 10:39 am

It’s funny, but my first thought was how come it took her almost a year to install the motorized shades.

ramjordan on August 31, 2008 at 2:04 pm

The question is “Is IRS auditing the Antani household income?” But that does not seem to be the question Sara Lin is asking in Washington Post, making the story worth less than the paper it is printed on, if readers see the point.

Alert on September 1, 2008 at 2:26 am

And here I was feeling sorry for the poor people of Darfur.
If you tell me her summer place in the Hamptons is somehow less than totally fabulous, I’m gonna cry my eyes out.

Tempus Fugit on September 2, 2008 at 7:00 am

$20,000 for that sofa?? She wuz robbed.

lexi on September 2, 2008 at 10:24 am

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