Traveling Park Avenue


Mark E. Smith

I’ve spent my time on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Park Avenue. I’ve parked my van in the garage that serves 720 Park Avenue, the building with the highest concentration of billionaire residents in the world, where the cars around me were Bugattis and Hennesseys – cars that cost more than homes. And, I’ve played with my kids in the park along 5th Avenue, where the only guardians around us were au pairs wearing designer clothes, carting kids around in Mercedes and Porsche SUVs. It’s seemed both comfortable and unfathomable to witness such wealth.

However, Park Avenue doesn’t stop at the Upper East Side. No, it picks up again in Brooklyn, among the poorest congressional districts in the United States. And, in my experience, among the wealthiest, too. See, in Brooklyn, wealth is everywhere. You can stop anyone virtually anywhere and they’ll point you in the right direction, offer you a bite to eat, carry your bags. The African Americans, Hasidic Jews, Latinos and Caucasians live, for the most part, as brothers and sisters – race, religion, ethnicity, social economics don’t matter on the streets of Brooklyn. If you’re there, someone will help you out, sharing what they know, giving you what they have.

Park Avenue, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, has taught me that wealth isn’t about what you have. Rather, Park Avenue has taught me that true wealth is about what we share.