Before Wall Street's woes reached Main Street they pillaged Fifth Avenue, the Upper East Side, and the Hamptons, upending the culture of Rich America in the process. Manhattan bankers—some of whom went from multi-millionaires to debtors—are offloading Central Park apartments, high-end art, and private helicopters in a dizzying spiral, writes Michael Shnayerson in Vanity Fair. There's even talk of coupon-cutting.
"Almost everyone has lost something—if not their jobs, then 25 to 50 percent of their retirement savings—and nearly everyone is glum, anxious, hung over," he writes. "Prudence is the watchword now: sackcloth after the brilliant silks and brocades of the gilded age." One social critic sees an upside—a chance for the money-centric and society in general to "rethink and restructure their values."