speaking of food, this is from an editorial in todays NYTimes (an excerpt):
found at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/25/opinion/25TUE4.html
With the average apartment in Manhattan now costing nearly $1 million, many New Yorkers have acquired an immunity to sticker shock. That would explain the recorded message you're likely to get at the new sushi restaurant Masa, which says call volume is too high, so try again later. A fixed-price dinner or lunch costs $300 — that's per person, not including drinks, tax and tip. Still, that's a steal when compared with a new breakfast offering at Norma's, at the Parker Meridien hotel.
There, $1,000 will get you a six-egg frittata with lobster, cream and 10 ounces of sevruga caviar. The restaurant staff rings a cowbell when the egg dish is served, lest other diners miss the event. With that tab — more than $1,200 with tax and tip — trumpets might be expected. Norma's executive chef, Emile Castillo, says the item grew out of a desire to offer something more upscale. In the two weeks since the frittata made its debut, only a handful of journalists on assignment have paid for the right to hear the cowbell, although a woman did call to inquire whether the dish — which can be shared — could be made for a birthday party.
This all says less about the considerable wealth of some in the city than it does about the return of shamelessly ostentatious consumption and a curiosity about what the very high-end market will bear.
The folks at Le Parker Meridien realize they won't be selling many $1,000 frittatas. But they also know that plenty of people will be drawn to a place that offers such a choice. And besides, it makes the $28 French toast look like a bargain.