New York, New York

The Hyperbole Towers

New York is constantly building chic apartments for its wealthiest citizens, and what luxury highrise is complete without a fatuous selling pamphlet?

Possibly the only things in New York being produced as quickly as luxury developments are the gratuitous adjectives used to describe them. And though one might imagine that selling spacious properties in central locations to wealthy customers is not a process that requires much exaggeration, promotional modifier abuse persists nonetheless. The more essentially interchangeable, high-end apartments get put on the market, the more strenuously sales materials insist that a given version of the filling-large-spaces-with-nice-things concept is unique and groundbreaking. (Various recent developments have self-described their brand of luxury as “redefined,”1 “reinvented,”2 “unprecedented,”3 and, in a formulation that may not be topped, “never realized in modern times.”4)

Below, a look at the Hyperbole Towers, a development composed of the best overstatements, redundancies, non-sequiturs, and fetishizations of obscure Mediterranean kitchen materials that today’s real estate flacks have to offer.

(Bolded words are 100-percent real quotes from actual development sales materials—ed.)


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Located on a pivotal site5, the development is experienced as a surprisethe nature of the space as a destination gives it a heightened sense of arrival6. Its tower7—which introduces another dimension by engaging the urban fabric in its horizontality as much as it does vertically—will remain an experiential event by maintaining a perpetual dialogue with the ever-evolving neighborhood, a place where residents can explore and connect with vital creative experiences8. It is a Sculpture for Living9 in the time-honored tradition of infinite grandeur10, reaching uncompromising11 levels of luxury never realized in modern times12, or at least not since slavery was outlawed13.

The lobby, sculpted from rich-toned woods14 and textural stones15, leads to a museum-sized16 elevator that rises to a classically proportioned17 foyer and residential unit that emanates utter sophisticationas much a sanctuary as it is a home18. The living room is its own light-filled universe, well removed from the foyer and its comings and goings19. Welcome to living room impact [sic]20! The space is replete with the warmth of textured concrete and the understated elegance of a zinc light sculpture21. Shaming our competitors’ wide-plank22 and select-grade white oak23 flooring, we deploy only quarter-sawn, hand laid white oak in an intricate herringbone pattern24 throughout cool, crisp hallways25. The hallways lead to a glorious library26 and a bathroom that is an oasis of indulgence27, a source of daily renewal and restoration28, a harmonious environment to luxuriate in solitude29, a boundless utopian wonder-savannah of release and enlightenment. Welcome to bath beautiful[sic]30!

Speaking of which, welcome to kitchen joy[sic]31! All kitchen units come outfitted with ebonized oak Rifra cabinetry32, Pietra Cordoza countertops33, Crema Marfil insert floors34, Tortora glass backsplashes35, Thassos marble36, Travertine marble37, Calcatta marble38, and Carrara marble39.

Overall, this development is marked by suffused opulence of unsurpassed style, where sensual lines, smart color palette [sic] and bespoke finishes create an emotional ambiance that leaves a lasting impression40.

Did we forget to mention custom nickel sconces41? Whoops.

Welcome to custom nickel sconces!


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1The Fillmore
2528 East 80th St.
3One Carnegie Hill
450 Gramercy Park
5One Beacon Court
6One Beacon Court
7Harlem Park is the source of everything up to “ever-evolving neighborhood”
8Time Warner Center
9445 Lafayette St.
10528 East 80th St.
11The Capri
1250 Gramercy Park
13Kidding. Not a real quote.
14505 Court Street Lofts
15505 Court Street Lofts
16145 Hudson. According to a search of Google and news databases, the 145 Hudson promotional materials contain the first and only mention of a “museum-sized” elevator in human history.
1747 East 91st St.
18823 Park Ave.
19160 Wooster St.
20260 Park Ave.
21255 Hudson. The idea that concrete and zinc will exude “warmth” and “elegance” suggests that 255 Hudson’s developers actually are redefining luxury—downward.
22High Line 519
23160 Wooster St.
2447 East 91st St.
2571 Nassau St.
26823 Park Ave.
27260 Park Ave.
28505 Court Street Lofts
29160 Wooster St.
30260 Park Ave.
31260 Park Ave.
3250 Pine St.
33176 Mulberry St.
34528 East 80th St.
35High Line 519
36528 East 80th St.
37260 Park Ave.
38260 Park Ave.
39176 Mulberry St.
40High Line 519
41260 Park Ave.

Ben Mathis-Lilley lives in the East Village. He played outside linebacker for a Little League football team in 1992 and worked the drive-through at Taco Bell for three months in 1998. He mentions these life experiences with inordinate frequency because they are the only incidents of macho-ness and manual labor marring his otherwise unsullied record of white-collar activities and interests. More by Ben Mathis-Lilley