Fantasy Living

For decades, I have found that a very useful mind tool is fantasy.

So, if I become aware that I have spent too much time thinking about something troubling, I will catch myself in mid-troubling thought and force myself to think of something…diverting.

It helps to have a default diversion. For several years I have used: What if a won a kabillion dollar lottery?

Thus, if I catch myself spending too much time thinking about something irritating or depressing or upsetting, I force a shift to enjoyable fantasy. The results are instant: I feel better.

Science has shown that we create neural pathways in our brain. If you spend a lot of time thinking dark/angry/scared thoughts, you actually build dark/angry/scared highways in your brain. Over time, these highways will dominate, and trap a person into dark/angry/scared thinking.


Recently, I had lunch with Barb and it developed that she, too, enjoys running I WON THE LOTTERY scenarios in her mind. So, I am not alone!

One fantasy for the last year or so is: If money was no object, what apartment would I buy in New York City?

I lived in New York for thirteen years, leaving in 1991. The city is fabulous and while I have no desire to live there again I daily look at Curbed New York which is all about real estate. Fewer things excite me more than floor plans. The city has been enjoying one of its periodic frenzies of construction but a new phenomenon are super-tall, super-skinny skyscrapers. I mean really tall and really skinny. Imagine an eighty-story pencil.

This kind of construction was not possible fifteen years ago or so. But advances in concrete technology have allowed heights and a thinness which is unprecedented.

Developers have been quick to adopt this new advance. Around Central Park, buildable lots ON the park are almost nonexistent so canny developers have been buying lots a block away or two blocks away or even three blocks away. And they no longer need to acquire large buildable lots.  Today, they can buy just a couple of 19th-century townhouses, demolish them, and erect an eighty-story tower with FABULOUS views of Central Park and the whole city. It truly is living in the clouds.

Of all the new tall skinny towers my favorite is 432 Park Avenue. When I first saw 432 I did not like it. It seemed cartoonish, like a child’s version of a skyscraper. Over time though I fell in love with the rigorous design. When the apartments were finally revealed in the tower I really fell in love.

And stepped up my purchase of lottery tickets.


432 Park Avenue, left.


The exterior wall is structural and is a grid of super concrete several feet thick. As with all tall buildings, gravity is not nearly as much of a structural concern (keeping the building standing) as is the wind. Wind loads are fierce!


This image makes me queasy. Again, this is a building which was not technically possible just a short while ago.


Even the motor entrance amazes me. The canopy is ALL GLASS and cantilevers to a breathtaking length. ALL GLASS!


The scale of the interiors is not discernible from images. The ceilings are 12-feet-high! This is 2-feet higher than the Cross House! Each window is 10-feet-square! TEN FEET! All the interior doors are almost 9-feet high, or 2-feet higher than normal doors.




A kitchen…in the clouds.


Is it weird to have a bedroom which looks DOWN on the Empire State Building?


Due to the thickness of the external concrete grid, windows seats are a feature. But…would I be terrified sitting on one?


The master baths are, of course, huge. And fabulous, of course. The same massive windows offer astonishing views while taking a pee.


And such views.


It would be like living on a plane rather than an apartment.


Like all hyper-expensive new apartment towers in New York, 432 abounds with amenities, like a board room each tenant can use.


And a billiard room and library.


And a movie theater.


And a lap pool.


And an exercise room.


And a dining room. One could live in 432 and…NEVER LEAVE.


The full-floor penthouse on the 95th floor. Yes, the 95th-floor. This could be mine for just $82,000,000. Yes, EIGHTY-TWO-MILLION BUCKS. And only $17,000 in monthly building charges (for all those amenities) and a trifling $16,000 in monthly real-estate taxes! What? Too much? Well…


…apartment 40C is a steal at but $17,000,000! Yes, the views would not be to-die-for but the monthly building charges would be a mere $7,400 with monthly taxes $6,400!


While it is fun thinking about living as such, there is no way I would live as such if I won a kabillion dollars. Rather, I would finish the Cross House to perfection — perfection, baby! — and then endow it lavishly to assure its protection till the end of time.

And rather than spend $82 million on an apartment in the clouds, I would buy and restore tens of thousands of houses across the land.

But…it’s fun having crazy insane fantasies so as to protect my neural pathways.



  1. Cody H on June 3, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    I too, run the “I won the lottery” scenario. Over and over, and over.

    I too, would restore a *very* specific house to Devine perfection. I’ve began drawing renderings and ordering product samples. Preparing. Hoping. Praying.

    I too, would hence forth start buying up houses in need of rescue, and reviving them. I have a list of saved addresses, even.

    I’m glad that someone else shares these ideals with me.

  2. Dawn Rocco on June 4, 2018 at 12:32 am

    Oh me too. I wouldn’t tell anyone or I’d say I won a little bit. Then I’d have a little A frame house built for myself in the country with a pool. I’d buy a dog and cat, live modestly and without anyone knowing where the money came from I would renovate old homes and buildings for the homeless and fund rehab centers for people on drugs. I’d sneak large bills in the Salvation Army buckets and leave outrageous tips for waitresses or for people begging on the street. Then I tell myself to shut up and go to sleep cause ya can’t win if ya don’t play dahhhh 🙂

  3. Dawn Rocco on June 4, 2018 at 12:42 am

    Seriously Ross you are correct, bad thoughts or too many bad things happening to a person does damage to the brain causing a reduction in serotonin levels. A person will feel like someone died all the time and cry but not understand why.

    • Dawn Rocco on June 4, 2018 at 12:47 am

      Sorry folks! I think I’ve seen too many things and worn too many hats in my time here on earth.

  4. Annette on June 4, 2018 at 5:41 am

    Ahhh I’m protecting my neural pathways. Awesome. I knew there was a reason for it.

    Me, I would make a teny tiny home out of a van and travel Australia for the rest of my life and, like Dawn, just quietly help people without them knowing. I would also buy both my children homes and a large plot of bush as an insurance against the world going mad. And I would erect a hammock on it.

  5. Sue on June 4, 2018 at 6:46 am

    200 acres and a farm house in Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin. A retreat for Veterans, a home for abused/neglected horses and dogs. A sanctuary. I find my mind drifting there often…

  6. Dan Goodall-Williams on June 4, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Give me the Cross House any day.

  7. Blair Carmichael on June 4, 2018 at 9:43 am

    If you win that lottery Ross, or if I win that lottery, we could start a resurrection and protection endowment where we find old houses in different communities. Restore and protect them and hopefully inspire other wealthy individuals to do the same.

  8. Gia on June 4, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Wow… really cool, but my that’s a whole lot of moolah just to live like an angel in the clouds! Windy days, fires and other disasters would make me nervous though – even with super concrete. With that much dough to throw around I’d keep jet-packs and a ready-to-eject window just in case.

  9. Cindy Belanger on June 4, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    432 Park Ave could never compete with the Cross House. I, too day dream of restoring multiple old houses back to their glory. I day dream that I will restore the Old Soldiers Home in Milwaukee. I day dream of finding an old Victorian that I can afford in Milwaukee, my hometown. But the phrase “buy just a couple of 19th-century townhouses and demolish them.” is so depressing. It bothers me that this is going on in every big city around the country. But that thought is not good for my neural pathways, so I’ll banish it and think of all the joy I get out of restoring my Victorian in Missouri.

  10. Karen Spencer on June 4, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    What a wonderful community this is! As one who lives in New York, New Rochelle, home of The Dick Van Dyke Show and many beautiful homes built in the 1920s and 1930s, I relax by reading Ross’s blog and Old House Dreams every day and dream about moving somewhere simpler that has an old Main Street like Middletown, CT or Stockbridge, Mass or Pittsburgh or outside NY Metro. (Actually we have a Main Street here but the 1960s -80s did it a lot of harm.)

    I was a fan of John Foreman’s wonderful blog Big Old Houses and I follow Jeremiah’s Vanishing NY which many here might enjoy. He has a fabulous blog roll and you can spend hours following links and exploring very old NY.

    My favorite floor plan book is New York’s Fabulous Luxury Apartments by Andrew Alpern which features floorplans and histories of The Dakota, London Terrace, Hotel des Artistes and many more.

    I have been a member of the NY Preservation Society and the NY Art Deco Society. Preservation is very hard in a city like NY where the real estate is so valuable.

    Thanks for the tour of 432 Ross. It was a very good read early this morning before the day began.

    My mental escapes generally involve leaving this century.

  11. Miss Kirty on June 5, 2018 at 4:58 am

    I love the general idea but I could never live in a skyscraper after watching 9/11 and Grenfell Tower videos. I would spend my $82 million travelling the world in luxury hotels!

  12. Devyn on June 5, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    I’m on board with your plans Ross. I recently lived (2010-2014) in a 295 sq ft studio on W 57th Street, now known as Billionaire Row followed by a classic New York Beaux Arts apartment near Columbia… But ultimately, my love for old drove me (and my hubs) to Philadelphia where we could fix up our own old rowhouse.

    But… As much as I would love infinite views of Central Park from 432 Park, I would also need an old Italianate or Second Empire house up the Hudson River Valley to balance things out.

  13. Sue C on June 7, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Mine would be restoring historic homes in St. Joseph, MO (where I lived for many years), helping immigrants and the homeless, and building a shelter for homeless cats. Then I would buy a private jet and travel around the world. Wow, would I need to win a lot of money!

    Interesting about how dark,angry,scared thoughts create dark,angry,scared neural pathways. I need to stop doing that. Getting Trump out of office would help 100%, as I am usually a pretty serene person.

  14. Cody H on June 10, 2018 at 2:08 am

    It’s been bugging me…so, a young man of a certain disposition, only 21 he was, moves to NYC in 1978. Did he ever make it to 54?! What were your experiences as a young thing in the disco era?! What I would not have given to be be my age now in the late 70’s. *sigh*

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