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Does American Psycho's New York Still Exist?


American Psycho

American Psycho" was a weird book.

It was so graphically violent that many serious critics decided that it must be satire. No serious novel could relish murder, misogyny and mayhem without irony, the critics thought. But what was it satirizing?

The first answer of many literary types was that it was obviously a satire of Reagan, Wall Street and the Decade of Greed. A slightly more complex answer from some critics was that it was actually satirizing the liberal hatred of Reagan, Wall Street and the Decade of Greed.

Patrick Bateman was, after all, slaughtering fellow Wall Streeters, embodying the hatred many liberals felt for the young, wealthy urban professional class.

But then a funny thing happened. The book became an object of almost cultish adoration by wealthy young men working on Wall Street. This produced a mirror effect. The Patrick Bateman character caricatured many of the obsessions of young Wall Streeters in the 1980s when it came to clothes, restaurants, sex, fitness, status symbols, business cards and real estate. But the fans of "American Psycho" started imitating the imitations of an slightly earlier generation of themselves.

There's an old story of Humphrey Bogart running into the best Humphrey Bogart imitator. The imitator does his act for Bogart, playing out a scene from a popular movie, and Bogart says, "One of us stinks."

Or maybe it was the other way around.

Anyway, Scouting Report has a great tour of Patrick Bateman's New York — which places still exist (21, Harry's, The New York Yacht Club), which places have gone (Flamingo East, the Tunnel), which have moved (Le Cirque), and which never were (Dorsia, Crayones).

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