Oh good we’re back here again. The newest assault on Upper East Side moms is something called “Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir.”
I just finished an article about it and its author Wednesday Martin. Basically, it’s “The Nanny Diaries,” except this time a wanna-be Mrs. X is telling the tales out of school.
Martin was a Greenwich Village mother who moved to our neck of the woods because she wanted to live where kids’ hair salons had fire truck chairs. For this she and her family moved to 900 Park Avenue. Seriously, if they could afford to live on 79th and Park, she probably could’ve afforded to just take a cab uptown, get the haircut, maybe grab lunch at Serendipity 3, and then head back downtown.
So anyway, Martin moves up here and declares the other moms unfriendly. Maybe they were. Perhaps they knew that she really wasn’t sincere about getting to know them; she was really there to watch, research, and take notes on their behavior, so that she could run home and make the info part of her book proposal. She obviously sought out the most obnoxious, neurotic, depressed parents she could find, so she could hold them up as “look they’re all like this.”
Apparently, aside from unwelcoming, we’re also pill popping, toking alcoholics who go to AA near Ralph Lauren and Prada. I guess we choose that local so that after the 12 Steps, we can stumble into those stores to work the unofficial 13th: shopping.
After a while, Martin decided that if she couldn’t beat us, she would join us. Here are some of the indignities that she suffered when she morphed into an Upper East Sider: she convinced her financier husband to buy her a 35cm, black Birkin bag; joined a $4,000-a-year Pilates/ballet studio; and started getting weekly blowouts. A fate worse than death, no? Sounds more like she developed taste, got in shape, and began taking pride in her appearance. FYI: I don’t have a Birkin and walking is my cardio.
The only saving grace in all this is that she, her husband and kids finally up and moved across the park. (Watch yourselves Upper West Side mommies, you might be next. She has already described her current ‘hood as “dirty.”)
BTW: Martin says she misses us, like some abused lover having second thoughts about just how bad the “bad times” really were. She does even more backpedaling by consoling us with the news that we’re not alone in our over-the-top lifestyle; evidently there are suburbs that are just like the Upper East Side, and “Park Avenues” all over the country. Too bad she didn’t move to one of those and spare us her poison pen.
This summer read will not be in my beach bag, but if you choose to have it in yours, give me your thoughts when I see you...at Prada...after the AA meeting.
Lorraine Duffy Merkl is a freelance writer who lives on the UES, and author of the novel BACK TO WORK SHE GOES.