David Patrick Columbia
Founder, The New York Social Diary
01:51

The Growing Income Gap

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A more unrealistic sense of ourselves.

David Patrick Columbia

David Patrick Columbia is the founder and editor of New York Social Diary, a website that chronicles the lives of the Big Apple’s elite. Since graduating from Colby College in 1962, Columbia has led numerous lives: he's been a stockbroker, an owner of a head shop in upstate New York, a sportswear designer, a freelancer (he wrote a firsthand account of one of Truman Capote's "lost weekends"), and a scriptwriter for a courtroom television show. In 1988, Columbia finally found his calling when he collaborated with Debbie Reynolds on her autobiography. In 1994, Columbia began writing the New York Social Diary for Quest Magazine (a condensed version of the website is still printed in Quest every month). The New York Social Diary website was launched in September, 2000. Columbia has since become something of social fixture himself: he's been the subject of articles and blog posts in New York Magazine, Gawker, and the New York Observer.
Transcript

Question: What does the income gap in the U.S. say about us?

 

David Patrick Columbia: Well I think that the wealth divide as you call it has given us more and more of an unrealistic sense of ourselves. I think that the lack of wealth is probably one of the most dangerous things in our country today. There are a lot of people who are just too rich.

I remember several years ago I went to have dinner one night on a yacht of a very, very rich man, and he had just built this boat. It was a big, huge. I think it was 300 feet or something like that. It was enormous.

It was parked here in; it was in New York Harbor on the west side, and he gave a dinner party. And as we were leaving the party, I hitched a ride in a taxi back to the east side where I lived with a man, he’s now passed away, but he was a very successful, and very well known, and very wealthy businessman. And he was telling me that this particular man who owned this yacht who; he’s still alive, but he was a very old man at the time; wanted to get in on another business deal. And he was talking about the business deal he was getting in on. And he was saying, “The problem with these guys is they’re just bored because actually they have more money than they can spend even the income on; but they just want to make more money because it’s something do to.” And it’s useless actually. I think it’s just a way of amusing yourself. And I think it’s not particularly positive in any way.

 

Conducted on: October 29, 2007

 


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