The Second Gilded Age continues apace, after a brief hiccup, while wealth and income inequality continues to skyrocket:
But many Hamptons-goers were wary of flagrant spending, out of either anxiety or decorum. So, Porsche and yacht sales slowed. High-rolling holders of black American Express cards tossed them around less frequently. And the practice in nightclubs of offering V.I.P. treatment to those willing to buy bottle service — entire bottles of alcohol, at a huge markup — fell out of favor, a development marked by the 2009 closing of the Southampton club that was known for it, Pink Elephant.Now local Porsche and yacht sales are climbing once again, and Pink Elephant reopened this summer in East Hampton offering Methuselah (six-liter) bottles of Dom Pérignon for $30,000. It is not just a novelty; the club's co-owner David Sarner said Pink Elephant had sold "a few" this season, and many more "trains" of smaller Dom Pérignon bottles for as much as $8,000. "It was a bit lean for a couple of years in the Hamptons," Mr. Sarner said in an interview, acknowledging that the term is relative. "There's this at least perception that we're doing a lot better than perhaps we were, so people are freer to spend money because they're being psychologically conditioned with the highs in the market."
33 years of relentless, one-sided class warfare has certain perks for the winners.