November 13, 2014

Speaking of naked...

... the rich folk of New York don't mind if you look at them naked while they use the bathroom... as long as you have to look way, way up.

ADDED: The NYT should back link to its own 1990s article "Telescopes for (Sneaky) City Views." Telescopes aren't even mentioned in the new article.

This is a city where everybody is always looking at everybody else, but nobody wants to be caught in the act. This is why, from bay windows in brownstones to penthouses so high that helicopters flutter beneath them, there are viewfinders being fiddled with, focusing knobs being twirled and powerful lenses peering deeply into unsuspecting people's eyes.

"It all boils down to the voyeurism thing," said Mark Abrams, the manager of Clairmont-Nichols, a Manhattan optical store that has a dozen telescopes on tripods with a straight-shot view across the street. "Sales are pretty good; there's interest out there."...

Better yet are camera attachments and specially coated low-light lenses that make the dimmest apartments seem as bright as high noon, but not to the people who live there....

Norman Buitta, a partner at Quark, a Manhattan store that sells telescopes, reports steady sales to residents of Battery Park City who live high above the Hudson River. "All the people on the water have one," he said. "They're paying all that money to be up there."

46 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

or you are looked at by people of your own class in adjacent buildings :)

traditionalguy said...

Maybe it is supposed to make nerds feel wicked daring as an aphrodesiac? There is not that much left to do in that area.

Brian said...

Well, yes; sufficient distance is opaque in its own right.

Of course I've seen movies where people in high-rises use telescopes to spy on each other. But I'm skeptical that this actually happens; perhaps one of our city-dwellers can inform us.

Kelly said...

I've often wondered about these glass walled bathrooms. I always assumed there were power blinds hidden somewhere.

Nonapod said...

Stay classy. Next someone will put in a see-through toilet on a glass bottom balcony suspended over the street.

Smilin' Jack said...

The paparazzi are now lined up around the block at the drone store.

traditionalguy said...

We once had a super Condominium for three years that was marketed as special in every way. The shower was floor to ceiling glass walls and glass door. We were on the 7th floor so the bathroom door was usually opened to a large master BR window, but there were only tree tops across the road visible. FYI we sold it before the prices crashed in that market.

carrie said...

We just stayed in a hotel that had a glass walled bathroom and it had power blinds that you could lower for privacy.

Big Mike said...

That window by the tub looks as though it opens, but I don't see any signs that there's a balcony with a railing outside of it.

rehajm said...

Of course I've seen movies where people in high-rises use telescopes to spy on each other. But I'm skeptical that this actually happens; perhaps one of our city-dwellers can inform us.

Oh yah. This happens. Though the subtle use binoculars.

Big Mike said...

Interesting that Glenn Reynolds linked to this just as you linked to the Times article.

Anonymous said...

Look up a big-city condo listing at random on Trulia and there's a pretty good chance that one of the interior photos will have a telescope in it.

Brian said...

No kidding? Learn something new every day.

Reason for my skepticism: a telescope in your high-rise living room would be an open declaration of voyeurism to everyone who set foot in your house. Seems like courting ostracism to me. Binoculars make sense, though.

campy said...

"Reason for my skepticism: a telescope in your high-rise living room would be an open declaration of voyeurism to everyone who set foot in your house. Seems like courting ostracism to me. Binoculars make sense, though."

Just explain that you're monitoring the neighbors for guns and religion.

Ann Althouse said...

Now, I think telescopes in NYC apartments with good views have been accepted for decades. I remember this in the 70s. You were expected to know that if you had your window open, people were watching you, whether you could see them or not. I think there are a lot of nice looking telescopes -- antique-y crap -- that are normal decor.

I was surprised the NYT article didn't mention telescopes. Years ago, it was commonly state that some people were okay with being spied on by people in high enough apartments, like their floor level established their worthiness, and if you didn't close the blinds, you were deliberately putting on a show.

Must go back to the 1950s, because "Rear Window."

Now, apparently, more literal than before. We actually see that part of the body that in the old days we called your "rear."

Michael K said...

When I was in college, I lived in this old rooming house called "The Jungle." The top level had a small deck that was used by the residents to place telescopes direct at a couple of sorority houses across the alley. It was a bit like Animal House without the ladder.

The view, I was told, was not that exciting but, in those days, it didn't take much to amuse us.

Brian said...

"some people were okay with being spied on by people in high enough apartments"

Now *that* is interesting.

mrs.e said...

Seems cold. In more ways than one.

Original Mike said...

"R. SCOTT BROMLEY has a 20-inch telescope in his bedroom"

R. Scott isn't very smart (although he does have a big bedroom). The purpose of a large aperture reflector is to observe dim objects. His scope is grossly over powered. On top of that, his image is upside down. I wouldn't be surprised if R. Scott has never actually observed through his scope.

Birches said...

Does anyone actually use the bath tubs? We have a five piece bath--we're saving money to renovate right now so we can chuck out the oversized tub and make an extra large walk-in shower.

Many of our neighbors are doing or have done the same.

THe bathtubs might look nice and modern, but I doubt they're actually in service frequently.

And glass door for the toilet? Yikes.

Beldar said...

Way back in the summer of 1980 when I worked many floors up at 125 Broad Street in downtown Manhattan, the yuppie lawyers and investment bankers all had their telescopes to watch each other.

I'm pretty sure that goes back to the 17th Century Dutch who invented the telescope, didn't it? Certainly Amsterdam has long been famous for its, ahem, window-shopping.

Beldar said...

Actually, they should update the 1990s article on telescopes for the 21st Century:

Drones.

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

"THe bathtubs might look nice and modern, but I doubt they're actually in service frequently. "

Many building codes require one bathtub so, if you ever want to sell, you might want to check.

RecChief said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

If you're so inclined, Tom and Giselle can be spied upon here.

Though you may just end up seeing their ugly tennants.

Birches said...

Our other bath has a tub. My kids still take baths, but our master bathtub just sits unused.

Our neighbors down the street sold their house at the beginning of the summer and had renovated the way we plan to, so I'm guessing it's fine code wise, but I guess I should check.

rehajm said...

If you're so inclined, Tom and Giselle can be spied upon here.

Or you could choose to rent their place and buy a telescope to spy on JLo, Chelsea, or Jeff Gordon, who live line of sight across Madison Square Park.

Anonymous said...

(Peers through telescope) What do you know-- the rich are different from you and me!

The Godfather said...

The rich ARE different from us, aren't they?

Titus said...

This happens. I have one-they are everywhere. And then you zoom in on someone zooming in at you.

I do it with just my briefs on. I am in the Penthouse and see all kinds of crazy shit. My won't tell-I am very discreet.

It's hot and fab

Titus said...

I am not on grindr but almost all my friends are and some of them don't like to hook up in person.

Instead they grindr someone and wanky through telescopes.

There is a whole telescope community on grindr.

kiss kiss

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I think that Dana has a big telescope in her apartment in Ghostbusters.

My grandparents retired to their lakehouse and they have a telescope, which my cousins and I darn tootin' used to look into the houses on the other side of the lake. Never saw anything interesting, alas. Mostly empty lakehouses.

Freeman Hunt said...

If I found a drone hovering around my house, I would destroy it, and there would be no apologies for doing so. (If I had kids at the time, I'd pay whatever had to be paid and go on my way; if I didn't, I'd sit in jail in protest.) But that's with a yard. I don't suppose you could do that in places without yards.

Freeman Hunt said...

Am I the only one who uses a telescope to look at the sky?

I have no desire at all to watch my neighbors watch television and walk through their kitchens. "Dude! Edna just washed A TON of dishes, and it looks like Joe is getting ready to clean the pool!" Excitement. What are New Yorkers doing that they want to watch each other?

Original Mike said...

"Am I the only one who uses a telescope to look at the sky?"

I have a 5" refractor and a 15" Dob. I've never looked in anybody's window. Why would I do that when the universe is overhead?

David said...

By and large, the people in NY I might want to look at do not live in those high rises.

Titus said...

rural red staters would not understand.

like us urban fab northeasters don't understand you.

we are really two countries.

fab (and thin and fashionable) and urban and not fab (and fat) and rural

Richard Dolan said...

More NY envy from those who don't live here. If NYC intrigues you that much, stop reading about it and just move here.

Original Mike said...

I'd rather have bamboo shoots driven underneath my fingernails, Richard.

Freeman Hunt said...

Someone I know was in someone's office in a tall (for this area) building around here. The guy was looking down with binoculars.

"Oh! She is so hot! You have to look at this."
"No thanks."
"She's a nine at least. Maybe a ten."
"What do you get out of that?"
"What?"
"What do you get out of it? Are you going to go talk to her?"
"No."
"Then, why?"
"I don't know."

Laslo Spatula said...

"Oh! She is so hot! You have to look at this."
"No thanks."
"She's a nine at least. Maybe a ten."
"What do you get out of that?"
"What?"
"What do you get out of it? Are you going to go talk to her?"
"No."
"Then, why?"
"So I have something to masturbate to."
"You see a pretty girl and then you want to masturbate?"
"Yes."
"Isn't that... empty?"
"It is somewhere between masturbating to an ugly girl and date-rape."
"Are you THAT shallow?"
"Yes."

Smilin' Jack said...

"Am I the only one who uses a telescope to look at the sky?"

I have a 5" refractor and a 15" Dob. I've never looked in anybody's window. Why would I do that when the universe is overhead?


I have a 6" refractor. If Jennifer Lawrence's floor-to-ceiling bathroom window were across the street, I suspect I'd use it more.

Joshua Barker said...

I read this as both a literal & figurative "shitting on those beneath you...", but maybe my cynicism is showing...

lgv said...

Anyone remember "Body Double" with Melanie Griffith?

A telescope version of Rear Window and far more erotic.

mikee said...

Telescopes?
Binoculars?

This is the age of drones, the CCDs, digital magnification and saving data to the internet.

Who would watch live through mere optics when one can save the show, post it for others to view, and see it again and again and again....

I keep my blinds closed.