Let’s say I have $60 billion in assets, not frozen but liquid. And let’s say that after 42 years of glorious rule and personal enrichment, and a few weeks of pointless, no doubt Western-inspired bloodshed, I decide enough is enough. What if I moved to New York? What could that $60 billion buy me?
I will need an apartment. I have heard that the co-op boards in New York City are more of a pain in the ass than the prosecutors at the Hague. I do not need to be browbeaten about so-called human-rights violations, supposedly bombed airplanes, or the Munich Olympics by some imperious charity-lunch-going lawyer’s wife who happens to have a sinecure as co-op president. People have told me it’s best to buy a residence at the Plaza, preferably one with a private lobby. These start at $2.5 million, which for me is like eating a Happy Meal, or ordering up a squadron of Cuban mercenaries. I looked into it and found out that the Plaza itself can be had for $400 million. Fine–$59.6 billion left.
It would be my preference to decorate it with the work of a truly revolutionary artist; I’m told a blue period Picasso goes for $100 million. I will take 10. I will need to be amused in the city by games of sport, so I will budget $858 million–Fred Wilpon called me to borrow the sum when he was first interested. I like to have an emporium at my disposal, so I will take Macy’s for $10 billion. About $38.6 billion to go.
Propaganda has always been crucial to me, and I find newspapers more effective than this thing called the Web. What better than The New York Times for $2 billion. First thing I do is fire David Brooks, then Sam Tannenhaus, then Maureen Dowd, and I hire a bunch of pliant Nation interns to run the op-ed page. A year’s worth of one digital display in Times Square costs $87 million. I will take two dozen. That leaves $34.6 billion
My living quarters should be sufficient, but I like to have a place to camp out in my tent with my family and about a hundred nurses. I have priced Central Park at $528,783,552,000. That is too much, by a factor of 10. But I am told the Tavern on the Green can be had for a mere $20 million. That should fit my family. As for my loyalists and my garrison, I have secured them Stuyvesant Town for $6.3 billion and the Intrepid aircraft carrier for $4.5 billion. Your Mayor Bloomberg is worth $18 billion. I am three and a half Bloombergs. I will buy five of your elections for a mere half-billion dollars. After all this I have $23.5 billion left. Seven billion dollars should be enough for ground zero, and with the rest I can construct the world’s fanciest mosque.