CONNECTICUT DAYS : Sticking up for life in stuck-up suburbia

Bill is a Master of the Universe, that strain of humankind described by Tom Wolfe in The Bonfire of the Vanities that has evolved for one purpose only: to make mega-bucks on Wall Street. He catches the 5.57am each morning and returns home at around 10pm. That is the way it has to be, he says, because he is "waging a war" in Manhattan every day. A war for millions.

We are at a gathering of the "Greenwich Newcomers Club" and I am beginning to wonder whether Bill, with his suspiciously stretched features and disarming candour, is a plant - hired by our friends back in Washington who had pleaded with us so passionately not to move here. "Live where you like when you go to New York, but at all costs don't go to Greenwich," they said when we first announced we were leaving. "It is where the Republicans live."

Perhaps it was inevitable, then, that this is where we would end up. Not only are we here but, after some hesitation, we have even succumbed to the Newcomers Club. (Thirty dollars for the evening, bring your own grilled-crab hors d'oeuvre). My wife has been approached by another group calling itself "Daughters of the Empire". It seems it is not done to live in Greenwich, be British and not be a Daughter. Judy, though, is demurring.

It is all rather embarrassing. I wish people in New York would not keep asking the inevitable question: where are you living? I want to say, "We found this wonderful loft in SoHo," but have to confess to renting in Greenwich. No, not the Village, but Connecticut - from where I must make the 30-mile commute along the north shore of Long Island Sound. Then I get that withering look. Not only are you in suburbia, but you're in stuck-up suburbia.

If you wondered if America can manage to be stuck up, come and experience Greenwich. I would suggest dropping by Hay Day, a modest food store on the Post Road that by accident we wandered into on our first day. Two things before we even got in the door: instead of the usual metal carts outside, there was only a pile of wicker baskets. I assumed they were for sale, until Judy realised they were for putting the food in. Next to the baskets was firewood: little bundles with eight logs each, all perfect rounds of silver birch, bark unscratched, tied together with red ribbons. For burning.

From Hay Day, you might visit one of the very chic little coffee shops in Old Greenwich, where the Mistresses of the Universe - ("We live in Greenwich so we can dump the wives here. They love it." That's Bill speaking again) - seem to reside with their beloved little ones in tartan and velvet. Or just order a home- delivery pizza. Our pizza man drives a new Volvo.

Or take a spin in the "back-country" - the inland areas of Greenwich where the really big houses are. It is not just the Englishman who likes his castle. Here are castles, and mansions and palaces (even one ludicrous mock-White House with fountains spurting forth from the snowdrifts) spread about on 10-acre lots in rolling countryside. Residents include Diana Ross and Victor Borge. Michael Jackson is said to be castle-hunting.

Finally there are the beaches. Two are on an island in the middle of the Sound and another on Greenwich Point, a peninsula of parkland with a dazzling view of Manhattan, its skyscrapers seemingly floating on the ocean's meniscus. As you would expect, though, these are facilities strictly for Greenwich residents. A watch-tower guards the entrance to Greenwich Point, from where guards can machine-gun intruders and lost Democrats.

There was a profile in the New York Times recently of one local woman who has dealt with the stigma of being a Greenwich resident by launching a career as a stand-up comedian and drawing on the town and its folk for her material. "Better peel off your Clinton-Gore bumper stickers before you come to Greenwich, or your car will be pelted with Martinis." That kind of thing.

I think we will survive the opprobrium. Greenwich, in the end, was where we found a house we liked, where police cars don't bark orders at you in the street (they do in Manhattan) and where the schools are excellent and free.

Bet all our friends in lofts will be wanting to come and visit in the summer when it is hot. We are allowed seven guests on the beach every day.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam