A couple of ridiculously tall luxury condos are going up a few blocks from my apartment. (My neighborhood is rapidly turning into a place I can't afford.) On the scaffolding in front is an enormous sign:
TRADITIONAL LIVING LIKE NEVER BEFORE
I had to stop in in the middle of the sidewalk for awhile to ponder this one. Aside from the fact that it makes no sense--if it's traditional, by definition, then it MUST be like before--that word posed greater problems:
Whose tradition? "Traditional," on the Upper West Side, usually signifies "Orthodox, many kids." But I somehow doubt this is the building's target market. The small print on the sign reads, "2- to 5-bedroom residences starting at $1.5M." So apartment sizes are just right. But price? I can think of some choice Yiddish words, none of which mean "traditional."
What tradition? Let's assume that families, rather than single people, would be most likely to buy a multi-million dollar, 5-bedroom apartment. Do I know any of these people? A few, but they've all decamped from Manhattan to suburban homes with big, safe back yards that don't open out onto Broadway. I do know of many single parents and single-sex couples with children who plan to stay here in the city. Is that what they mean by "traditional"?
Maybe "traditional" indicates really big rooms with fireplaces. I'm all for that. And the "like never before" part refers to the need to belong to an exclusive community of hedge-fund managers, partners in law firms, or media moguls before you can have the privilege of moving down the block from my favorite diner. On the bright side, maybe some of them will join my synagogue and give us lots of money.