To whom does New York City belong? Not to schoolchildren. Not to the citizen shuffling cowed and amazed among marble floors in the Frick or Cooper-Hewitt, or paging bug-like through some tome under the green lampshades of the 42nd St. reading rooms. Money communes after hours in these places, after the turnstiles have been stilled. Money shows itself only when it cares to. Mostly it lurks instead in the high prosceniums and fitted-rosewood ceilings, the broad granite staircases, the fitted-veneer mosaic archways, and as well in the fitted tuxedos and fur coats slumbering in walk-in closets, the strings of pearls and antique diamond cuff links biding time in their felt-lined drawers. Then comes one morning in the mail the engraved invitation, the stamped reply card, with boxes to check, indicating numbers of seats at two thousand a pop, or the whole table at ten grand.
Jonathan Lethem. Chronic City. page 128