Who says New York Capitol Hill is not affordable?

While we’re staring our complete and utter gentrification in the face, here’s a thinker from the New York Times that argues that prices in Manhattan for specialities of the well to do and downright wealthy — manicures, fancy fruit spreads — are actually more affordable in the big city than they are in the hinterlands:

Part of the reason high-income residents get good deals, Handbury explains, results from a particular economic system. Highly educated, high-income New Yorkers are surrounded by equally well-educated and well-paid people with similar tastes. More vendors compete for their business, which effectively lowers prices and provides variety. There’s also a high fixed cost to distributing a niche product to an area; if there’s more demand for that product, then the fixed cost can be spread across more customers, which will justify bringing the product to the market in the first place. That’s why companies go through the expensive hassle of distributing, say, St. Dalfour French fruit spreads in rich cities but not in poor ones and why New York can support institutions like the Metropolitan Opera.

While we’re not about to compare Capitol Hill existence to life in Manhattan, there might be a similar economy at play here. Nowhere in the country are biscuit sandwiches, bottled cocktails and single origin Ethiopian coffee beans more affordable than they are right here on Capitol Hill. So, “30-somethings,” you also have that going for you.

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4 thoughts on “Who says New York Capitol Hill is not affordable?

  1. I would gladly trade in a million affordable biscuit sandwiches for 1 affordable apartment. Capitol Hill wants me to pay over $1000.00 for studios. This is getting bonkers.

  2. When you factor housing back in, doesn’t it make that whole complicated theory unnecessary? I.E., since expensive housing gobbles up lots of everyone’s income–leaving far less money for anything else–do businesses really have any choice but to make less money on each sale, and try to make it up in volume?