Trends Will Be Trends

Five new story ideas for NYT Style reporter Guy Trebay

I really hope that New York Times reporter Guy Trebay is working on a follow-up to his Sunday Styles piece (“Hey, Big Spender, Flying My Way?”) about the new breed of hitchhikers: wealthy people who sometimes fly on private airplanes owned by their wealthy friends. Kerouac this ain’t:

Leonard Tallerine, the independent oil and gas producer, and his wife, Janet, routinely extend their hospitality to pals on their frequent “short hops” between their houses in Houston, East Hampton and New Orleans.

“Our attitude is, ‘We’re going, there’s room, so come,’ ” Mr. Tallerine said.

Rich people who own airplanes sometimes let their friends travel with them on those planes—who woulda thunk it? Anyway, if Trebay is looking for more hot trends to spotlight, I’ve got some suggestions:

Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?: An increasing number of Upper West Siders, when they sit down for their evening meal, are inviting friends to come and eat with them as “dinner guests.” Often these events turn into “dinner parties” that can feed twenty guests at a time—none of whom are paying for a thing! “Our attitude is, ‘We’ve got extra placemats and plenty of bacon-wrapped dates, so come,’” said Samuel Lane, a hedge fund manager and dinner enthusiast.

Stay With Me: These days, people who own weekend houses in the Hamptons often invite people to come and stay with them in those houses. What’s the catch? To wangle an invite, you have to know the owner. It’s “the new squatting,” says Harry Lehr, an experienced house guest. But there are boundaries to this generosity: “Try not to walk around like you own the place,” said Lehr. “Unless you’re playing charades, in which case anything goes.”

Knick Knack, Paddy Whack, Give A Dog A Skybox Seat: Many people who own skyboxes at Madison Square Garden are inviting their friends and business associates to come and watch the Knicks with them—for free! “They’re all looking to see the game, of course, but they’re also looking for the quote unquote free pizza buffet,” said one social observer, referring to the warm elation skybox guests feel when they learn that food is gratis. But don’t eat all the pizza before your hosts get a chance to chow, or else you might be bounced down to the 300 level with the rest of Knicks Nation. “Come hungry, but not too hungry,” is one veteran game-goer’s advice. “And stay away from the nachos after halftime.”

Pool Party: The wet set—those fortunate Manhattanites who have access to a private pool—are, more and more often, inviting their friends to come over and dive right in. “Our attitude is, ‘There’s plenty of water, we’ve got kickboards, so come,’” said Cookie Myers, insurance heiress and pool owner. But you’d better observe the rules of the game: “It’s sort of implicit that you should bring your own towel,” said one inveterate guest swimmer. “So I always bring a towel. Sometimes, I bring two.”

Put It On His Tab: Everybody loves a free drink, especially those New Yorkers who are the lucky participants in this summer’s latest trend—going to a tavern and letting a buddy buy your booze. “Our attitude is, ‘It’s happy hour, and I just got my tax rebate, so come,’” said Mark Faraday, tax refund recipient and alcohol liker. But careful not to overindulge: “Well drinks and domestics only. The imports are off limits,” said Faraday. “And, for Christ’s sake, don’t invite Kevin.”

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Justin Peters is editor-at-large of the Columbia Journalism Review.