Where the rich are animals in a zoo
It’s hard to feel pity for the very rich, said David Mitchell. But try to muster some for the residents of London’s Neo Bankside, a glass-walled luxury development overlooking the Thames. Their building sits next door to the Tate Modern art gallery, which last year installed a new viewing terrace on its 11th floor. From there, gallerygoers can see a panorama of London—as well as look “right into the living rooms” of Neo Bankside dwellers. Who could resist peering at “humans in their natural habitat”? Residents say the tourists gawp at them relentlessly through binoculars and post pictures of the flats’ interiors on social media. One man said he’d counted 84 people photographing him in less than two hours. Yet when the residents sued to have part of the terrace cordoned off, the court sneered at them, ruling that anyone who chose to live in a $5 million glass apartment had forfeited the right to privacy. That’s obviously unfair—when they moved in, there was no terrace. But most Londoners believe “people like that are the problem: luxuriating in huge, astronomically expensive developments while, down on the ground, pubs and shops go bust.” It’s a victory for schadenfreude—but next time somebody puts up a platform for voyeurs “to stand and leer on,” the victims may not be a bunch of rich people.