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Bright Lights, Big City, Bigger Prices - Where Inflation Hides

Tyler Durden's picture


Subdued headline inflation hides the inimitable rise of prices across the country; but ConvergEx's Nick Colas examines the pace of inflation in four large cities across the US – Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco.  All are home to multitudes of urban working professionals, share the same currency and have similar macro economies, though, Colas notes, the trend of price increases varies considerably (particularly with regards to NYC vs. the rest).  The cost of living is up in all four cities since 2008.  Incomes, too, are generally higher – although not in New York, likely a result of the Big Apple’s unique micro economy. Comparatively, New Yorkers have experienced the steepest price increases in transportation (higher cab and subway fares give this category a boost) and groceries, meanwhile rent, dinners out and cocktails continue to be more and more costly.  So what gives?  Rising inflation despite lower incomes?  The answer lies in the tug of war between less cash pay on Wall Street and a very active foreign investment market that is driving up real estate prices.

Via Nick Colas, ConvergEx,

Note from Nick:  New Yorkers often marvel at the low cost of living elsewhere in the country, thinking how “Easy” it would be to just hang it up and live a modest life somewhere in the heartland.  Escape fantasies aside, there is much to learn from comparing price trends across the U.S.  Beth has done such an analysis here, and what pops out is a fascinating study of how inflation works at the “Micro” levels of an economy.

My favorite cut of meat is the filet mignon at Sparks in Manhattan.  It’s $46.95 and well worth every penny.  Alfred’s in San Francisco offers an arguably similar dining experience (though missing is the “cool” factor that comes with eating at the location of an infamous Mafia murder) and quality piece of beef for just $37.  Chicago Chop House’s chateaubriand for two goes for $99, while the signature steak for two at Abe & Louie’s in Boston is only $88.

Varying prices for similar products in different cities is pretty common economic knowledge; it’s a reflection of the distinct micro economies that exist among cities even with congruent macro economies.  Our focus today, however, isn’t on price variations, but rather the difference in price trends.  We’ve chosen the four cities mentioned above – Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco – because they all represent tightly clustered urban populations of working professionals.  They are classic examples of what rural folks refer to as “the big city.” 

Below are our findings on price inflation in 6 categories that occupy considerable space in a typical urbanite’s budget – housing, transportation, groceries, dinners out, cocktails and entertainment.  All are courtesy of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), except “Entertainment” which we present in the form of Team Marketing Report’s Major League Baseball (MLB) Fan Cost Index, a.k.a. the average cost for a family of four to attend a baseball game.

Category #1 – Residential Real Estate.  Housing costs have increased more in New York and San Francisco than in Boston and Chicago.

  • Housing costs (which include utilities, furnishings and supplies according to the CPI) in Boston and Chicago are 2.0% and 2.6%, respectively, higher now than in their peak in 2008, having dipped lower from 2009-2011.  In New York and San Francisco, on the other hand, housing costs never fell below pre-recession levels and are currently a respective 8.2% and 9.4% higher than they were five years ago.
  • More recently, year-over-year increases in housing costs in New York (2.4%) and San Francisco (3.2%) trump those in Boston (1.6%) and Chicago (1.9%).  In Manhattan specifically, the average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom, doorman building apartment is $3,900 which is up more than 5% in the past year and more than $600 higher than the recession trough of $3,276 in 2010.  A walk-up studio goes for $2,406 a month, up 10% from last year and almost $500 more than the recession trough of $1,930 in 2010.  See for further details, including rents by Manhattan neighborhood, in case you’re in the market for new digs.
  • As a side note, the CPI calculates the cost of housing to include utilities, furnishings and supplies, but the main component is called owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence (OER).  Housing units are not in the CPI market basket.  In its survey to determine OER, CPI questionnaire asks consumers who rent their residence simply how much they pay per month in rent, including garage and parking facilities.  For those who own their residence, they must estimate how much they think it would rent for monthly, unfurnished and without utilities.

Category #2 – Transportation.  The price of getting from one place to another is up sharply in all four cities.

  • Including public transportation, car rentals, airfare, car repair, etc., transportation costs nosedived in 2009 across the board only to show consistent increases in every year since.
  • Price increases since 2008 in New York (17.9%) and San Francisco (16.9%) are higher than in Boston (13.4%) and Chicago (12.4%), though in the past year transportation costs in each city climbed between 2.6% and 2.8%.   It’s worth mentioning that gasoline prices are lower year-over-year in all 4 cities, with NYC and Boston seeing about a 1% decline, while San Francisco and Chicago experiencing declines of more than 5%.

Category #3 – Food.  A trip to the supermarket is increasingly costing more in the east coast cities than in their two counterparts.

  • Groceries are getting pricier in New York (+15.2% over the past five years) and Boston (+13.0% since 2008) than in Chicago (+8.0%) and San Francisco (+6.1%). 
  • Currently through February, grocery shopping cost 1.7% more in Boston than in 2012, making it the city with the biggest year-on-year appreciation.

Category #4 – Eating out.  Surprisingly, restaurant meals are getting relatively cheaper in New York.

  • Meals outside of the home increased the least in NYC over the past 5 years, rising 12.3%, compared with 14% gains in Boston and San Francisco and a 16.2% rise in Chicago. 
  • As for the past year, the price of dinner in a Chicago restaurant jumped 4.0% on average, versus 3.7% in San Francisco and much lower increases in Boston (2.2%) and New York (1.6%).

Category #5 – Martinis and other adult beverages.

  • In the past year alone, the average price of an alcoholic beverage rose 2.9% in New York, versus just 1.0% in the other three cities. 
  • Over the past five years, the price of beer, wine and spirits rose 10.3% in the Big Apple, topped by an 11.9% increase in Boston.  Chicago and San Francisco experienced price increases of 7.2% each.

Category #6 – The national pastime.  And as for baseball, it’s more expensive to see the Red Sox than any other team in MLB, but inflation at Fenway is super low.

  • Team Marketing Report’s Fan Cost Index, our proxy for entertainment, compiles the price of four adult tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two baseball caps.  The cost of all this run $377 in Boston, versus $324 to see the Yankees, $298 to catch a Cubs game, and $238 to watch the SF Giants. 
  • Over the past year however, the cost of attending a baseball game was unchanged to lower in Boston, Chicago and New York, but gained 6.0% in San Francisco.  In the past five years, the price to experience a Red Sox game increased just 5.1%, compared with 17.9% for a Yankees experience, 18.4% to see the Cubs, and 29.5% to watch the Giants.

All of the key ingredients in the cost of big city living are on the rise, but fortunately for Bostonians, Chicagoans and San Franciscans, incomes are increasing too.  As you might’ve expected, incomes dipped across the board in 2009 but rebounded by 2011.  As of last year, incomes in San Francisco County were 9.7% higher than before the financial crisis.  They were 4.1% higher in Cook County (home of most of Chicago) and 3.2% higher in Suffolk County (home of Boston).

For Manhattanites, though, it’s a different story.  Average annual pay in New York County was $98,287 last year, or 2.8% lower than in 2008 when the average worker received $101,084.  So why is the city experiencing rising inflation in light of lower incomes, especially when other big cities across the country don’t have the same disconnect?  Well, incomes are likely lower as a result of less cash pay on Wall Street.  In the aftermath of the Lehman collapse, bankers’ bonuses took a hit, and they were not only lower but a greater portion of bonus pay was in the form of deferred compensation.  Couple this with a strong foreign investment market that is driving up real estate prices in Manhattan, and you’ve got a tidy explanation for an otherwise curious anomaly.

To make some macro sense of all these data points, we end with three conclusions that highlight the dynamics of inflation in the real world.

  • First, real estate prices drag up the prices of other goods.  We’ve already covered the residential aspect, but arguably more important is commercial real estate.  And according to the Moody’s/RCA Commercial Property Price Indices (CPPI), commercial real estate prices have been on a steady uptrend since early 2010 and climbed 6.5% in the past year.  While the primary index has yet to reach its peak level from December 2007, it stands 32.3% higher than its trough in January 2010.  And as we’ve seen over the past 5 years, commercial real estate prices move in tandem with residential markets.
  • Second, inflation is all about perceptions, particularly at the local level.  Examining inflation on a micro basis is a useful construct that highlights how perceptions of future prices vary across the country. 
  • And last, the mechanics of inflation are far from uniform across the country.  Various factors drive inflation, and while the CPI measures price changes on a national level, inflation is just as much about local markets.  This implies that inflation is perhaps less of a threat to the nationwide economy since individual places have different micro economies and thus different levels of price appreciation.  A whole lot of things have to line up on a national level for there to be widespread inflation.

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Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:10 | 3536384 Money Squid
Money Squid's picture

inflation hides in less quantity, less quality, less availability. Plastic rice anyone?

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:20 | 3536399 markmotive
markmotive's picture

Have you bought bread lately?

The 'official' numbers are up over 12% over the past 5 years. I think the 'real' numbers are way higher.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:20 | 3536414 Hangfire
Hangfire's picture

I can't find Hillbilly Bread anywhere these days, I aint buying unless it's Hillbilly!   

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:32 | 3536441 american eyedol
american eyedol's picture

talk about inflation nikkei is up 400 points tonight passing 140000 charts starting to look like hockey stick

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:33 | 3536450 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

The nikkei will lead us all to the money printing promised land. Rejoice all!

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:55 | 3536597 flacon
flacon's picture

Ben Bernanke walks into a pizza shop and orders one large pizza. The waiter asks him if he would like it sliced into 6 or 8 slices. He responds: "Eight please, I'm very hungry today."

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:36 | 3536462 edb5s
edb5s's picture

The New Normal - where entire markets trade like penny stocks.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:32 | 3536443 Troll Magnet
Troll Magnet's picture

The real estate in LA is spiraling out of control, too. A 2bd/ba townhome in my neck of the woods just listed for $1 million. There are 2bd/ba apartments for rent @ $5,500. It's a nice neighborhood but shit is getting outta control.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 04:38 | 3536788 mrdenis
mrdenis's picture

don't like the bread but love the moonshine ...........

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:09 | 3536529 Dingleberry
Dingleberry's picture

I heard Pampers decreased the amount of diapers they put in each box. Probably hedonically adjusted to handle bigger loads of shit?

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:08 | 3536998 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

I was in the grocery store last night and this guy is trying to get his girlfriend to buy something from the frozen section. He said, "It's got a lot of stuff in it but it is cheap..." And I said while walking by, "That's why it is cheap." Both of them looked unhealthy. People are being fed shit and being told they are rich and happy.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:14 | 3536396 mickeyman
mickeyman's picture

Already had some thanks

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:15 | 3536398 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

No shit sherlock, it is always more expensive in general in bigger cities hence the higher paying salaries to offset the costs. It is not a fair measure of inflation. A more fair and balanced is to look at it proportionally to average paycheck in each area measuring commonly bought items like milk and booze. Can I buy the same amount of beers based on prices on an average weekly paycheck or not in each representative area.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:10 | 3537003 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

So there is no inflation if wages go up too?

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 12:43 | 3537863 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

No if wages keep pace it is not. If relative purchasing power is the same in relation to different average wages in different regions it is not.

This the technical definition of inflation.

Definition of 'Inflation'

The rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising, and, subsequently, purchasing power is falling. Central banks attempt to stop severe inflation, along with severe deflation, in an attempt to keep the excessive growth of prices to a minimum.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:26 | 3536422 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"My favorite cut of meat is the filet mignon at Sparks in Manhattan. It’s $46.95 and well worth every penny. Alfred’s in San Francisco offers an arguably similar dining experience (though missing is the “cool” factor that comes with eating at the location of an infamous Mafia murder) and quality piece of beef for just $37. Chicago Chop House’s chateaubriand for two goes for $99, while the signature steak for two at Abe & Louie’s in Boston is only $88."


Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:30 | 3536435 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

The bottle of Mad Dog is extra.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:38 | 3536465 nmewn
nmewn's picture

I never hunt in Berluti shoes & Brioni suits...but I have tasted MD & Wild Irish

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 01:30 | 3536714 mophead
mophead's picture

Filet mignon is so overrated. I'll take a t-bone steak over that liver tasting overpriced crap any day.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 07:25 | 3536886 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

A fucking T-Bone consists of 2 sides [a NY strip side & a filet mignon side ~ separated by the bone ~ not to mention the fact that they're very hard to cook properly because both cuts of meat cook differently because of the tenderness issue]... So I'm assuming that when you order your T-BONE... You cut away the Filet Mignon side & feed it to the dog & only eat the sirloin strip side [whilst paying the WHOLE price for the WHOLE STEAK]... Why not just order a NY strip?...


GENIUSES we have here on ZH people... This motherfucker wouldn't know a fucking porterhouse from a can of ALPO... [I bet his dog would though]...

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 07:32 | 3536924 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

I'd be willing to settle for entrecôte.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:34 | 3537066 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Let's cut the fucking horseshit shall we?


A 'filet mignon' is still, IMO, one of the best VALUE cuts of beef there is [because you're getting the best 'beef to fat' ratio of any other meat & it still is tender because it is unexercised muscle sinew]... Others may argue that the 'kobe style' marbled cuts [like most ribeyes] are the best, but that's because "fat = flavor" [which is also why most filet mignons have to be cooked in butter to ADD flavor which isn't otherwise there]...

I can still go anywhere [try any Asian market anywhere] & buy a beef loin [filet mignon] for anywhere between $6.99 a pound & $9.99 a pound [usually the latter, but sometimes you get lucky]...

Depending on the steakhouse [& how they serve their medallions], a filet mignon is going to come in somewhere between 200-300 grams [or, 1/2 to 3/4 pound]... So ~ based on the above 'supermarket' prices, a single medallion would cost you between $5 an $7 bucks if you made it yourself at home... [less than 2 quarter pounders with cheese]...

So ~ $44 bucks is fucking ridiculous... & I don't want to hear any shit about these restaurants being so 'picky' about the cuts of beef they buy... Some of it is true, but most of it is just 'marketing' as an excuse to jack up the price...The next thing is to COOK ONE OF THESE THINGS PROPERLY [which isn't hard to learn & doesn't require any more special equipment than a cast iron skillet or griddle with ridges]... On the flipside, a total JACKASS could take a lovely cut of meat & turn it into a monstrosity [think the 'CHEF' scene in Apocalypse Now when he talked about Prime Rib]...

These people paying $44 [a 900% markup], are, most likely, not even using their own money to pay... They're probably taking 'clients' out on an expense account... [Which means that they probably work for some Wall St./K Street revolving door operation, that's technically bankrupt [save for the joobuck money printers]... & so guess what?... YOUR TAXDOLLARS are subsidizing their 900% mark-up...

Enjoy your fucking mouse flavored catfood bitchez!... Either that, or take all your money out of the banks... Buy a freezer... Go meat shopping... Buy a $20 iron skillet... Eat some filet mignons yourself and tell these motherfuckers to fuck off...

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:41 | 3537093 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

You are right, 'filet mignon' is one of the best value cuts, and there isn't that much tenderloin on a steer. But I wanted to add a suggestion regarding the flavor: It can be wrapped in a slice of (premium) bacon.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 10:00 | 3537363 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Agreed [with the bacon part]... But it comes down to the same thing... FAT=FLAVOR... 'Purists' will say not to mix bacon [pork fat] with beef, but I say 'fuck them'... You oughta eat what you think tastes good... The butter, in the end, is a beef product which marries things together... Which is why butter, in this case, is a better choice than vegetable or even olive oil... Olive oil would actually be a tragedy here because of the cooking temperatures... You can put olive oil on it afterwards [if you wish], but it should be fresh & uncooked... Butter is the best choice... Fuck ~ people have known about this for thousands of years... It's only the fucking geniuses in the last 20 years that think they know better... You know ~ the ones who buy beef tenderlions with bitcoins, drive it home in their Chevy Volts, & then toss it in a pot to boil... RETARDS...

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 10:17 | 3537401 Overfed
Overfed's picture

That's how I like it, plus a dash of worcestershire, garlic, pepper, and salt. Then cook it on a nice, hot grill.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:43 | 3537099 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

"My favorite cut of meat is the horse matballs at IKEA followed by the Almond cakes"

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:26 | 3536423 kito
kito's picture

hey nick, are you talking about manhattan or all of nyc??? big dont see these big increases in the bronx, eastern queens, eastern brooklyn, etc...........plenty of places in those areas where pizza is still a buck............

so i assume you are talking about manhattan, where prices have always been much higher than the outlying areas...suck it up nick or move.........thats big city living......

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:30 | 3536437 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

No Kito you are way off. We meaure inflation by a filet at sparks because who does not go to sparks twice a week?

This guy is out of his effen mind.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:34 | 3536453 Troll Magnet
Troll Magnet's picture

a slice of pizza for a buck in new york? you gotta be shittin' us, kito. where???

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:36 | 3536458 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

By me pizza is $2 a slice. The slices keep getting smaller.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:37 | 3536463 kito
kito's picture

is it true that in lawng ayeland that your property taxes keep going up and your property line is pushed back a few inches every year???????

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:42 | 3536476 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

My property taxes keep going up, that's for damn sure. Not sure where you are getting that about the property line. I live in Nassau County, which is hands down the most corrupt country in this country. So it's certainly possible.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:49 | 3536485 kito
kito's picture

i jest.....i figured since they are raising the price of your pizza and making the slices smaller, they might be doing the same with your property lot....................

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:56 | 3536493 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

It's a pretty cool experiment. I bet they go for it.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 07:17 | 3536909 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

A pizza place can cut corners without simply relying on the 'SIZE' element... Ways to do it include:


- Adding more dough [to the weight] & cutting down on the cheese [you'd probably notice slight changes to the crust volume]

- Adding more volume of the lower cost heavier toppings [the pizzas would taste a little 'saucier']

- switching to a lower cost cheese [you may or may not notice any difference at all]

- or other measures like how they operate their ovens [ones who heat with 'electric ovens' are more exposed than ones with wood fired ovens]

- staff


There are a million things that can be made more efficient in the process... The LAST of which, is usually the circumference of a pizza [mostly because the pizza peels, baking apparatus, & even number of grams in a ball of untossed dough to be pressed out to achieve a uniform size ~ are fairly proprietary & standardized with each operation]...

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 02:54 | 3536743 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Taxes here in Westchester have more than tripled in less than 20 years - more than the mortgage for many.  That NYS 'property tax cap' is a total fraud.  Somehow the 'formula' used always allows a larger increase than the quoted percentage AND local school districts and municipalities are playing games - like hitting 'reserves' (can't keep doing THAt forever) to stay under the 'limit.'

Meanwhile the roads are crap - pothole patching is totally inadequate and when the HAVE to they only repave a few blocks at a time instead of a whole street that needs it.  Meanwhile at least half the local cops and firemen (no real stress in these places) that retire end up collecting full disability.  Seriously, one guy who spent his whole career cooping tried to clai he ended up diabetic from his schedule. At least they turned him down - though the moron is now working for the school system (and is widely hated).  Funny how HE - the 'head of security' was out 'sick' the day two kids were arrested for mouthing off (that's all these two were capable of) about how they were going to 'get' him.

All our esteemed 'public servants' are in for a world of hurt when they find out the nice fat pensions they thought they were getting aren't worth a thing (as if the rest of us get defined benefot pensions anymore...). 

Oh - as far as property lines go - next village makes YOU replace damaged sidewalks now - even though the Village 'owns' them.  Ands lots of luck getting them to deal with sick trees ready to fall over or drop a limb on your car (BUT God help you if YOU pay a tree company to do the work - most won't because the Village claims the property edge trees).

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 04:41 | 3536789 mrdenis
mrdenis's picture

I always ask for my pie to be cut in quarters ...I could never eat eight slices 

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:40 | 3536460 kito
kito's picture

lots of places....even manhattan....hells kitchen has a few..........


that was is an updated dollar pizza list from yelp...

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 04:53 | 3536795 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

8th & 38th got a joint were you get $1 slice

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:35 | 3536455 kito
kito's picture

i can get half the menu at Sugar Cane caribbean food restaurant in flatbush for 40 bucks.........


Tue, 05/07/2013 - 10:20 | 3537418 Overfed
Overfed's picture

I don't see how anyone could live in that fascist hellhole. Even if they do have great pizza on the cheap.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 07:19 | 3536914 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

Inflation in NYC is driven by a max 3% increase in rent for all non-rent controlled units that do not have specific increases written into the lease, which is most of them.  The writer is overthinking..  Porterhouse consumption does not drive the beef market for most people much less broader prices.  The driver of all prices in densely urban space is land.  NYC is no different.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 07:24 | 3536921 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

[browser not editing].

Assuming half the average person's salary or income goes into housing, this locks in 50% of all transactions with a 3% rate of increase yoy.  It's a gigantic inflation plug.  The high end market price charts read like Annagaddadavita on the graphic eq led.  Inflation is plugged around 3% in NYC, that's a fact.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 15:19 | 3538418 Dr. Kenneth Noi...
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater's picture

Incidentally, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin are all bigger than San Frantastic.  And I'm betting Houston will be bigger than Chicago in the fairly near future, barring natural disaster on the Gulf.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:27 | 3536424 Fox-Scully
Fox-Scully's picture

For NY City, it is simple math.  A 32 oz. drink is a lot less expensive than four 8 oz drinks.  Therefore thank Bloomberg for the greater inflation in New York.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:35 | 3536454 Troll Magnet
Troll Magnet's picture

fuck bloomberg!

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:53 | 3536495 ShrNfr
ShrNfr's picture

No thank you, I have standards.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:27 | 3536428 The Master
The Master's picture

And this is why NYC is ground zero for the Nanny state experiment. Shit will hit the fan here first. TPTB via Bloomberg knows this and is preparing accordingly.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 05:04 | 3536798 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

Nobody really seems to care on the street.. If you're not busy in NYC you'll get spit out.. The slower cities that adapt some of NYC lunacy will feel far more like nanny states

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:28 | 3536432 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

"My favorite cut of meat is the filet mignon at Sparks in Manhattan. It’s $46.95 and well worth every penny"

The banks all over wall street are shipping jobs down to Jacksonville by the thousands. Most of those jobs are mid level, so while the mid level trophy wives are too stupid to realize they are living the escape fantasy, New york will be left with those making a milion dollars or more. They will have no problem paying $50 for a steak. The question is when they leave sparks and fart in the face of a homeless person, how do we measure the price of a sparks filet fart in the face?

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:34 | 3536451 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Look at history for your answer. See what occurred in other countries when there are only the wealthy and poor.

After all, most of the exchanges are electronic these days The exchange doesn't even have to be in NY anymore.

NY is a tax aweful city.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:15 | 3537024 youngman
youngman's picture

Snake Pliskin..Escape from New York comes to mind...

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:42 | 3537095 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

"Look at history for your answer. See what occurred in other countries when there are only the wealthy and poor."

I'm thinking it's time to own some productive land and try to live off of it. You should look to purchase this land in a low tax state (or outside the US) and own at least one gun. Anyone tries to take your land and you  explain in no uncertain terms that it is your land.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:28 | 3536434 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Property taxes keep going up. Fees, licenses,etc. Looked at some steaks, sticker shock. 

Beef sandwiches have less meat, are smaller or cost more.

Suppliers are charging more. Less counts, 12 oz instead of 16 oz and smaller packages.

Those SNAP cards are buying less food these days. 

If Bubble Bernanke and the Fed continue printing and devaluing eventually they will make the SNAP people go hungry.

Guns and ammo may be more appropriate. Point those mad and hungry folks right to the Federal Reserve Banks and to the people running this horror show. 


Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:33 | 3536446 Cable Guy
Cable Guy's picture

A good steak in any small city or town in Montana is the same price as that same steak here in NYC.  Good steaks are expensive everywhere.  

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:38 | 3536466 Troll Magnet
Troll Magnet's picture

Yup. $44 for a filet mignon is pretty damn reasonable for NYC. Back in early 2000s when I was courting my wife, our dining bills were routinely in the $200s to $300s depending on what and how much we drank. Steaks/filet mignons were easily $50 then.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 05:12 | 3536804 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

They can't raise the prices... Those places are pretty empty most of the week.. Perhaps they switch to hotel pricing where it's cheaper mon-wed. He should of included lap dances and blowjobs for the real economy index

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:25 | 3537051 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

A lot of restaurants are turning tables once during the week, twice on wekends.  NOT a good sign.  Business spending is up slightly from a very bad bottom.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:24 | 3537046 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Sad but my experience is that most of the smaller towns out west - closest to the ranches where cows are raised are at the VERY END of the RETAIL supply chain. You're getting cryovac packed beef - little fresh stuff.  The WORST grocery stores I've ever seen are out west - a plain old bodega in the Bronx would put many to shame.  Driving up the Colorado Plateau in Escalante was talking to a local - they drove two hours to get food every other week. Prices in these small towns are higher than any I see in NY because they are so far out of the way and restocks are small.  Some places the only 'food' is at the only gas station in town - expired cold cuts and worse.

On the other hand, the tourist places have GREAT restaurants beczuse the source their meat locally.  One of the best steaks I ever had was in Durango.  Less stuff in the meat too.  Organic really means organic whereas in NYC you're never sure where the meat came from.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:36 | 3536457 Hulk
Hulk's picture

Cue HedglessHorseman please...

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:45 | 3536479 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Yes please, shits gettin deep up top.

Fuckin na yawkers, "I can buy a whole menu at..."

If they could chase it down & kill it without it being dropped into their fucking laps by the Fed I'd have a whole lot more respect for em.

Prolly jus me tho.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:58 | 3536490 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I fuckin chase that shit down and kill it at whole foods like it's my job (not).

nmewn you need to go north, northwest and east of NYC. Trust me it ain't the crowd you are describing. The whole don't paint em all with one brush thing applies.

assholes like this author want everyone to think Filet's at Sparks is how we measure stuff up here. What a joke.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:05 | 3536520 Arkadaba
Arkadaba's picture

Agree about not painting all with the same brush. I lived there for a while (even living in the financial district) and the Fed never dropped anything in my lap. Damn!

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:08 | 3536528 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Go an hour east on Long Island and it's hillbilly central hunting quail and deer country. Lotta farms too.

Go North/Northwest and it's hunting central.

Unfortunately It's a small area full of gigantic liberal douche's who have somehow amazing wrecked the entire state, and now we deserve everything that comes our way.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:16 | 3536542 SylphGlitch
SylphGlitch's picture

As someone who use to hunt in the Finger Lakes, amen to that.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:40 | 3536575 Arkadaba
Arkadaba's picture

I lived upstate as well - pretty amazing up there for fishing and hunting

I spent a decade in the states and will never forget my first year there.  Culture shock

And an fyi - in terms of policies I might be closer to Rand than Nmewn. 

And no one deserves what is unfolding - I think there has to be a better way


Tue, 05/07/2013 - 06:13 | 3536837 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Yeah, I know fonz, I apologize.

I just get so fucking sick & tired of the perception that the entire country revolves around the DC to NE corridor. It doesn't, they influence it by its complete insanity sometimes but it doesn't revolve around it.

My bias.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 06:20 | 3536841 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

Lighten up, nmewn. Your country, revolving around said corridor, is nothing but an unhealthy illusion, created for you by professional spin doctors. You get me? This is not real - so you don't need to care about it. Don't let yourself be distracted by all the smoke and mirrors. No need to get sick and tired in fact. There's much work to do, but we need you healthy and in a good mood, so don't you let yourself be disheartened by this!

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 06:55 | 3536872 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I don't blame you. It's a disaster up here. Most of the Obummer haters still think Mittens was the answer.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:48 | 3536482 UH-60 Driver
UH-60 Driver's picture

Same steak in Alabama costs about 18 USD, but you gotta drink a beer whilst you cook it on the grille. 

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:11 | 3536483 FreeMktFisherMN
FreeMktFisherMN's picture

Inflation is heterogeneous.

And another thing to keep in mind is that inflation is the increase in the money supply. There can be inflation even if prices are falling, because they would have fallen further if it hadn't been for the ctrl + p'ing. This is one place where people get hosed, as they don't reap gains in productivity when they are made, and it destroys the signals for capital allocation/supply needs. Not to mention the obvious decrease in quality of many goods, from nutritious foods to non-durable machinery and tools, which is also a symptom of inflation. When one is comparing price change year over year or whatever, that is contingent on it being the same quality product, which clearly is not the case (unless you're a Bureau of Lying STATISTician who can conveniently hedonically adjust at your leisure to cover up what's really going on)

So even if say something has only risen by 1% this year, it very well might have fallen by 3% had it been a free market/market-based money (gold and silver). So I'd say the real price increase considering the opportunity cost aka what might have been, to actually be about 4%. Just keep this in mind when gauging effects of inflation. And obviously Shadowstats does a heck of a job capturing the real price increases going on, which are more like 8%+ let alone the crazy bubblicious parabolic ascents in some sectors. The 'roaring 20s' was one of falling prices but they should have fallen further but the Fed inflated and Austrian Business Cycle Theory is dead on with the crash of '29 only exacerbated and prolonged by protectionism and interventionism in the markets by the 30s administrations.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:50 | 3536488 ekm
ekm's picture

I am sick and tired of this excrement and I do not understand why is it difficult to understand.


Example 1:

Pizza $2 - Economic boom - higher wages - Piza $3 = INFLATION


Example 2:

Pizza $2 - gasoline $6/gallon - waghes do NOT change - pizza $3 = INFLATION.


Conclusion: There is inflation when too much money chases the same ammount of goods

There is inflation when the same amount of money, chases less goods available.



Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:55 | 3536497 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Not all pizza's are created equally.

that is why chained cpi is coming.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:58 | 3536502 ekm
ekm's picture

chained cpi ain't making the pizza cheaper.

crappy dow will make the pizza cheaper and inedible, like the chinese rat meat.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:03 | 3536511 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

One day you're eating pizza loaded with all the fixings and the next day you're eating crescent rolls smothered in ketchup, but hey according to the government there is no inflation.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:05 | 3536522 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

exactly right.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:07 | 3536525 Arkadaba
Arkadaba's picture


Tue, 05/07/2013 - 06:44 | 3536858 negative rates
negative rates's picture

I think first you love the pizza, and then talk the rest of the day about how good it was.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:07 | 3536994 MassDecep
MassDecep's picture

One day you're eating pizza loaded with all the fixings from Papa Johns, and the next day you're eating your own home made pizza from scratch and the likes, and you wonder why you ever ordered out........

Anchovies please!!!!

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:29 | 3537067 10PastMidnight
10PastMidnight's picture

yes and they figure the crescent rolls are a decent substitute, go figure.


inflation is sneaking up on everyone who doesn't realize they're being skimmed off of as well. boxes and packaging are the same size, but the weight is lower, soon you will get 2 bowls of cereal out of a box. i wonder if Benny figures we can eat the empty space in the boxes as a good substitute?



Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:51 | 3536489 Arkadaba
Arkadaba's picture

And is this the beginning of the Canadian RE bust?

Toronto new condo sales fall 55% in 2013

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:51 | 3536491 Fuku Ben
Fuku Ben's picture

Even outside of inflation the just in time delivery model creates some huge price fluctuations constantly. I've seen as much as 50-60% differences on some items within a week

Imagine what will happen in any dramatic changes that effect that flow occur

About 1 in 7 people are on foods stamps

4 out of 10 live paycheck to paycheck

This will get ugly real fast with any big interruptions or fluctuations and the psychopaths running this show know it


Mon, 05/06/2013 - 22:55 | 3536498 kareninca
kareninca's picture

Bloomberg *wants* Manhattan to be expensive.  It keeps out the riff-raff.

Today I was talking with a friend who just got back from spending this past weekend in NYC; she went with her husband on a business trip.  She's 59; I'm 49; so we both remember when NYC was really, really sketchy.  I haven't been there in 20 years (I'm from eastern CT and I detest the place), but I keep up on it out of curiousity.

Despite being a liberal, she really saw what has happened.  It has become Disneyworld NYC; Bloomberg's dream, funded by an ever-more powerful non-productive financial industry; a huge police presence on every corner, and a constant stop-and-frisk of anyone black.  She and her husband went to Central Park on Saturday.  She said that there were a huge, huge, number of people, enjoying the park, famiies beyond counting.  But no black families.  And no Nasty Poor People.

I wonder when the 1970s will return to NYC.  I'm betting on it; the real economy can only be kept at bay for so long.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:04 | 3536516 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Your friend needs to open their eyes next time. I am too tired to go on a lengthy rant about how NYC has become the complete opposite of what your friend described. But for whatever it's worth, your friend's summary is way way way different from what I see on a relatively constant basis.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 03:37 | 3536712 kareninca
kareninca's picture

Wow, what a response.  "Your friend's description of what she saw is totally, totally wrong, but I can't be bothered to give any details."


Tue, 05/07/2013 - 05:37 | 3536818 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

agreed, I will try to find u on here again and will give u a full answer.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 13:35 | 3537980 kareninca
kareninca's picture

Thanks, yes, I'd like more info.  If what you mean is that normal NYC residents are hurting economically, well of course I know that; I read stuff like this all the time:

What she saw:   cops everywhere, a Manhattan that was a Disney version of what she and I remember, and a weird absense of black families, well, I don't know how she could have gotten that wrong.  She was just talking about Manhattan; just re what a tourist would see, and it appeared to be Bloomberg's dream come true, and not sustainable.  Contrast that with Chicago, where if you go to the tourist areas by the lake you'll get robbed.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 13:44 | 3538002 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

@ kereninca

my apoligies for yesterday. What I see in central park are plenty of black and spanish women with groups of white kids. They are opairs (no idea how to spell that) and at the end of the day they go home to their families, who are probably living in awful conditions.

The cops are everywhere, but at this point people fear them more than the bad guys because if something goes wrong we all know they will spray and pray.

While central park during the day may look like Disney to some extent, in most other areas, especially subways, you get a much scarier sense of what is going on.

A year ago my Dad parked his car in the city. He is a retired cop and can carry. He get's out of his car and some dude tells him "give me $20 and I will watch your car". My Dad replies that it's unnecessary. The guy gets closer and says "give me $20 or I will fuck your car up myself". My dad shows his gun and the guy takes off. Next day the same guy on the same block stabs and almost kills a 22 year old girl crossing the street.

I think to a large extent it is like the eloi and the morlocks now in the city. I have a daughter and I basically refuse to take her in there. If you go there, have eyes in the back of your head. It's not what it seems on the surface.


Tue, 05/07/2013 - 14:02 | 3538098 kareninca
kareninca's picture

Thanks.  Yes, she made the distinction between families, and kids being watched by "ethnic" au pairs.  It being a weekend, she saw the yuppie familes.  On a weekday (when high-powered Mom is working), I imagine you'd get the bedraggled au pairs with the kids.

I am very glad that you keep your daughter out of the city.  Oh, I'm not deluded re the actual danger level.  It's a predator prey situaton.  I'm just amazed at the patina Bloomberg has put on it.  And in truth, the crime level is FAR lower than it was; it's just far higher than any normal human should tolerate.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 07:22 | 3536904 ltsgt1
ltsgt1's picture

I was down at Coney Island because my friend from Japan wanted to see Nathan hotdog. Base on past knowledge of the neighborhood, I packed my newly purchased Glock 36 with me. I couldn't believe what I couldn't find, black families and nasty poor people. The neighborhood, even the beach, is clean and buildings renovated. As much as I despite Bloomberg, he really spend a lot of money to build up the parks and boardwalks. I have no idea what he did with the black families and nasty poor people but I confess I don't miss them one bit.

As far as the description of Disney NY, it's not that far off. Oh, if you miss being around nasty poor people, you can hand around Time Sq. on Eastern Sunday night. They will be there performing their annual gang initiation ritual,

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:02 | 3536513 sangell
sangell's picture

Don't know about Boston, Chicago or NY but if you intend to have a car in SF ( or DC ) you have to consider parking tickets if you don't have off street parking. In SF you might see an apartment that seems cheap. Check the street cleaning schedule. You might have to get up a 6:30 AM on Saturday to move your vehicle. Don't expect to park though because there will be no place to park as you and everyone else in that area will be circle around endlessly looking for a non existent space. Better to just go get breakfast and come back and hope someone near to your place has gotten up and left a space for you.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 02:17 | 3536733 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Price of parking on 9th Ave in Chelsea for 2 hours, 8 dollars.
Obscure unseen parking sign 50 feet away and illegible from the distance due to the new bike lanes resulting in tow: 180 dollars.
Parking ticket: 65 dollars.
Cab ride to Tow Pound: 12 dollars
Two hours lost productivity waiting at tow pound for fat EBT gaming waste of space lard asses: 50 dollars.
MOVING THE FUCK AWAY FROM THIS INFLATING RAT TRAP CALLED NYC: Priceless. For everything else NY there's Nanny Fuckin Bloomburg.

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:05 | 3536521 JR
JR's picture

There’s a terrific website, Numbeo, for those who want to look at the Cost of Living in the United States, or whatever country, and Select by City, last updated May 2013.

Cost of living categories include Crime, Food Prices, Gas Prices, Health Care, Hotel Prices, Pollution, Property Prices, Quality of Life, Taxi Fare and Traffic.

For other countries see home page:

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 23:10 | 3536531 Joseph Jones
Joseph Jones's picture

Ceasar's in San Francisco closed forever.   Besides wishing my business was better, this is the worst news in the past couple years for us. 

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 03:46 | 3536763 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

My wife and I took our very first vacation last July (after 34 years) and did a bit of a tour.  Since it was our very first, and most likely last, vacation I wanted to make it epic.  It was.

Flying from the LA, CA area to Orlando, Florida, then drove to Panama City and over to Jacksonville.  From there we took a train to WDC, to Philadelphia and on to NYC.

From NYC we drove through all the northern states staying at Plymouth, Mass and Portland, Maine...with a stopover in Boston to visit the Cheers bar.  From Portland we headed on backroads to Montreal, then Toronto, checked out Niagara Falls, drove on to Detroit (with a stop at Greektown) and an overnight in Kalamazoo (because I liked the name).  From Kalamazoo we drove on into Chicago then flew back home to Ontario, CA.

What I did on that trip was purchase packs of cigarettes.  The huge cost differences between states/provinces, even cities within the states/provinces, was astounding.  We bitch about $5 a pack here in California.  But $12.50 in NYC was awesome!  Even in Canada, cigarettes, with their garish packs of gore kept behind little shutters, ran close to $9.50.

Now when I run (well, drive because as a smoker I don't run much) to the cancer stick store I pay the tax like a little bitch.  I no longer whine much. (Though I do wheeze.)

Oh, we did a lot of other stuff besides just buy cigarettes, but even my non-smoking wife got into the tracking.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 05:46 | 3536824 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Hot dogs at the 7/11 are up 30% but they are now made outta kangaroo. I got so jumpy, out front, after eating one I couldn't collect the money people were trying to hand me.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 06:09 | 3536835 egoist
egoist's picture
Tue, 05/07/2013 - 07:06 | 3536885 Monedas
Monedas's picture

Nick Colas .... as in Cost Of Living Adjustments .... you make a dis shit up .... or he had to use a "pen name" due to the controversial nature of the BULLSHIT ?

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 07:36 | 3536929 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

In MD my realestate tax assessment went from $300,000 in 08 to $115,000. this year, street has multiple empty or sec 8 rentals. so does my tax go down, well no it is the same amount as I paid in 08., deflation in what you own, inflation in what you need in fly over country. My best advise live in the "right zip code"

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:02 | 3536985 MassDecep
MassDecep's picture

 I currently live in MD also. 40 miles north of the center of hell on earth, (DC). O Malley, (Satan himself), has raised taxes in MD so much, that we are now the #1 taxed state of the USSA. Anyone need a nice house  40 miles north of hell on 3+ acres of land? let me know eh...

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:14 | 3537008 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

Maryland ..soon to tax the state's citizen your breathing the kings, oh I mean the people's air and polluting it with carbon dioxide..criminal soon.(how do I become an illegal, they are all exempt from the states proclomations and yet get to ride in new cars and get free food.) American citizens are the inmates everyone else is the jailer.)

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 07:49 | 3536951 j0nx
j0nx's picture

15% in 5 years my ass. My grocery expenses are 50% higher now than they were 5 years ago. Easily. I spent almost $700 at the grocery store last month with a wife and a baby daughter and that's not even including her formula or baby food or diapers. That is just groceries for me and my wife and there's never shit to eat in the house. Laundry detergent, bacon, meats, all that shit has at least doubled in the past 5 years so I don't even want to hear 15%. You're sounding like the bernank claiming that inflation is contained. You want to know how many raises I've had in the past 5 years? One and it was a paltry 2%. Other than that I'm making the same salary I was making in 2008 and my consumables costs are easily up 50% since then. It's pissing me the fuck off too.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 08:14 | 3537016 Vooter
Vooter's picture


Tue, 05/07/2013 - 12:15 | 3537637 10mm
10mm's picture

So all the anti gunner metro sexual shit holes cost money,move along.

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 12:56 | 3537898 CallTheBluff
CallTheBluff's picture

I'd like to see housing separated into rent vs. owning. My theory is that since foreign money is pouring into prime US real estate, many of these owners are non-residing, places are vacant, and they will inevitably flood the rent market.  Meaning as the neighborhood turns into a ghost town,  the real suckers will eventually be the small pocket of multi-propety owners trying to find tenants, not the renters.  

Disclosure: I rent from a foreigner.  

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