Iceberg Ahead! Slate Revisits Conde’s Expensive Habits of Yore

Slate has reposted an 1997 article by David Plotz about the spending habits of Conde Nast. Read it and weep — be they tears of anger, sadness, or envy. Here’s a taste.

During a typical lunchtime at the Royalton Hotel restaurant in midtown Manhattan, The New Yorker‘s Tina Brown might be installed at her usual table, and Vogue‘s Anna Wintour might be at her usual table (chewing on her usual meal — a $25 hamburger). Vanity Fair‘s Graydon Carter might be there, too, although he has transferred his main allegiance to a place called Patroon. Filling out the room are other editors, publicists, and writers from these magazines and GQ and House & Garden and so on. And one man, who probably isn’t there himself, picks up every tab. Some of the lesser fry may even utter the Conde Nast mantra — though it is hardly necessary at the Royalton — as they grab for the check: “Let Si get this.”

A Lincoln Town Car is waiting outside your door in the morning to take you to work. The car, which costs $50 an hour, is written into your contract. First stop, breakfast with a writer at the Four Seasons. The check may be as little as $40. When you reach the office, you realize you’re out of cigarettes. No problem — you send your assistant to buy a pack for you.