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
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
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

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

Technical Sales Manager

£45000 - £53000 Per Annum plus bonus plus package: The Green Recruitment Compa...

Humanities Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Outstan...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor