Parody Video: A Monument to Excess Rising in Boston’s Back Bay

By Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies
June 5, 2018

A Boston area videographer has made a blistering parody marketing video for One Dalton Place, the latest luxury building rising in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

I recently wrote in The Boston Globe about the ways that One Dalton serves as a “wealth storage unit” for the world’s superrich and why Boston and other cities should “Tax the Swanctuaries.”

These buildings offer unprecedented luxury and we would be smart to tax them as such, with a high-end real estate transfer tax that could be used to help Boston deal with the economic inequality that’s made their construction possible in the first place…

But One Dalton is a gripping symbol of the grotesque wealth inequality. It poses numerous perils to the city and its non-wealthy inhabitants.

I recommend first watching One Dalton Place’s actual marketing video to take in the language promoting this “service rich lifestyle with five star hotel amenities right at home” and the great attractions of Boston (“where elegance meets intelligence”).

Watch This First:

Now Watch This Hard-hitting and Funny Parody:

As the parody video states, the builders of One Dalton rejected the world’s best practices in terms of state-of-the-art green building.  “We looked at cutting-edge, clean energy technologies,” states the video narrator. “We visited super-efficient skyscrapers in Indonesia and Dubai.  And we rejected everything we learned, so we could bring you a masterpiece of conspicuous energy consumption.” 

The construction of One Dalton, with its gas fireplaces, will necessitate the expansion of a pipeline bringing fracked natural gas from the Pennsylvania.

“You’ll bask in cozy luxury while enjoying spectacular views of the Category 5 hurricanes battering Boston Harbor,” the faux marketing video suggests.

The City of Boston, when it should be working vigorously to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is allowing housing for the superrich that locks the city into new fossil fuel infrastructure. One Dalton has used its political clout to get National Grid to construct a new 4100-foot gas pipeline but wants other ratepayers to share in the cost.

“The vast majority of residents in both the South End and Back Bay are thinking about coastal flooding,” observed neighborhood activist Claire Corcoran, speaking out in opposition to pipeline at a public hearing in January. “We live at sea level.  We just had catastrophic flooding last week downtown and we are seeing the maps that the city is producing and it’s coming for us.  We don’t support fossil infrastructure in our community.”

Massachusetts State Attorney General Maura Healy filed a brief in January recommending that the state’s Department of Public Utility reject the Special Contract being negotiated between National Grid and One Dalton Place.  The Attorney General said the contact would “set a precedent that would allow customers with the greatest economic resources to avoid paying their full capital investment obligations and obtain special distribution rates at the expense of other customers.”

Chuck Collins directs the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies. He is co-editor of and the author of  Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good and his new book, Is Inequality in America Irreversible?