Out of the way, you masses of poors, all huddled together in the collective stench of personal failure as you await your next handout in the bread line. Times like these were made for class distinction, not the vague sense of grubby, pantomimed drama playing out under my upturned nose. You should know that you are an unnecessary impediment on my top-hatted path to continued financial glory, and as such you should scatter yourselves, plebes!
No worries, you ghastly gaggle, for I have devised a plan to quite literally fly myself — and my illustrious peer group of witty and charming friends — above you all just to look down on you. I present to you a modern marvel in luxury transportation, a glorious alchemy of science and air and dreams and money! Your holiday hopes come true!
Welcome, then, to the maiden flight of the Manes 3000, the most magnificent dirigible since the Hindenburg. You shall never board.
On its surface, the Manes 3000 is an ominous work of considerable art. Crafted on a frame of 10,000 DeWalt telescopic 13-foot aluminum construction grade rods ($59.99 each from www.avillahardware.com, totaling $599,900), this unmistakably grand airship's true outward beauty benefits from a sleek, 16,000-square-yard surface of white 16 mm satin-faced organza (available for $18 a yard from www.moodfabrics.com; $288,000).
But beauty alone will not carry you to the lofty heights that you so clearly deserve. Against the prevailing wisdom of the hoi polloi, the Manes 3000 is buoyed by the same abundant gas that transported those Hindenburg heroes of yesteryear on their leisurely sojourns: hydrogen — specifically, 7 million cubic feet of the stuff ($1.916 million worth from Orlando's Airgas South, www.airgas.com). And to move the whole contraption forward, the airship features four rebuilt Mercedes-Benz V-12 diesel engines ($26,500 each, www.diesel enginemotor.com). This is no ordinary zeppelin, comrades. Pah! This is a tour de force of engineering and functionality!
Oh, don't be silly. I know you are bored to vodka tears by such overwrought practicalities, as am I. It is the experience that we are here for: the unfettered suspension of disbelief in a seemingly weightless bubble, the glory of shaking your downcast gaze at the inferior Titanic as it negotiates those pedestrian blocks of ice. To that end, we've enlisted the services of Studio 54 godhead—turned—boutique hotel entrepreneur, Ian Schrager (www.ian schragercompany.com). For a mere $200 million, he's repurposed the Gramercy Park Hotel model into a mansion for the sky! But that's not all. The spacious lounge features a self-playing Bösendorfer semi-concert grand piano that is covered in 8,000 hand-cut Swarovski crystals ($750,000, www.ebay.com), and only the finest champagne at your service (Krug Clos du Mesnil 1995, $750 a bottle). You deserve it, darling. Go on. Drink up!
You understand, of course, that smoking is strictly limited here, but it is not forbidden. In fact, to make up for the fact that you are indeed not allowed to board with your own lighter, we have a very special one — a gold and ruby-set petrol cigarette lighter from Van Cleef and Arpels ($1,972, www.christies.com) — to aid you in burning through your precious time. Would you like one now? Well, here you go!
Oh. The humanity.
- TEXAS TURKEY TIME - Bob Whitby
- IRRATIONAL EXHUBERANCE - Jessica Bryce Young
- THE HAT IS THE ANSWER - Justin Strout
- LETTER FROM A BRIDGE - Deanna Morey
- THE DECEMBER REVOLUTION - T.I. Fraser
- I'LL BE FLOATING ABOVE YOUR HEAD - Billy Manes
- I, BITTER - Jeffrey C. Billman
- SILENT NIGHTS - Lindy Shepherd
- HOLIDAY CALENDAR 2008