Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crisis Deepens: A Yacht Club Closes, Manicurists Lose Business, Dating Websites Prosper.

The NYT doesn't disappoint today in its ongoing coverage of the recession's impact on rich Americans. Three stories chronicle the crisis as it pertains to people who aren't really experiencing it.

Our journey begins with Peter Applebome, a Metro columnist who informs us that the Knickerbocker Yacht Club of Port Washington, N.Y. -- founded in 1874 -- will soon close as the result of the recession. "Pulling teeth is easy," a Long Island dentist and club board member, explained to Applebome. "This is hard."

To Applebome's credit, he acknowledges the absurdity of covering a closing like this amid a national crisis: "The term 'yacht club,'" he writes, "does not exactly evoke populist sentiments or mainstream economic concerns." It does, however, evoke the interest of NYT editors endlessly obsessed with how hard times impact the wealthiest among us.

Next comes Catherine Saint Louis's Styles piece on manicures, which reports that regulars have reduced their visits -- and even changed their nail polish color to clear, so that chips won't show up as clearly. "Clients that would come every two weeeks are coming every three," explains one salon owner.

Again, a reader might wonder why the NYT seems so oblivious to the fact that for millions of Americans -- millions of New Yorkers, for that matter -- a professional manicure isn't even an option these days.

Further into the Styles section, reporter Abby Ellin looks into a supposed upsurge in dating since the recession began -- measuring it, of course, by increased spending by consumers who still have that rare commodity known as "disposable income."

Ellin reports that more Americans are spending $34.99 for the monthly membership fee in than ever before.

"Because of the economy there are a lot of people who are out of work and have free time and can spend more time online going to dating sites," explains an analyst who obviously gets all his recession-related news from the NYT.

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