I spent a day in one of America's richest cities, a town an hour from NYC where hedge fund managers live in multimillion-dollar homes. It was immediately clear why it's a haven for Wall Street types
- Greenwich is a town on Connecticut's coast, an hour outside of New York City.
- In its 2019 ranking, Bloomberg ranked Old Greenwich as one of the wealthiest towns in the US.
- The town is home to several hedge funds and is known for drawing wealthy Wall Street buyers who snap up summer homes or permanent residences.
- I spent a day in Greenwich, and I could immediately see why the quiet, clean, and charming town is a haven for finance types.
On an unseasonably cold March morning, I got on the Metro North from Grand Central Station in New York City. My destination: Greenwich, a town on Connecticut's coast about an hour from the city.
Greenwich is consistently ranked as one of the richest towns in America. In 2018, the average household income in its Old Greenwich neighborhood was $336,692, the 12th-highest in the nation, according to Bloomberg.The year before, two Greenwich zip codes - 06878 in Riverside and 06831 in Greenwich - ranked among the wealthiest in the US.
It's been known as a wealthy enclave for years.
"For more than a century, Greenwich, Connecticut, has attracted some of the biggest, newest, shiniest fortunes in America," Nina Munk wrote in Vanity Fair in 2006. "Today that money comes from the trillion-dollar hedge-fund business, which occupies a third of the town's office space, and whose managers are behind a decade of over-the-top real-estate deals, teardowns, and mega-mansions."
Greenwich's "hedge fund capital" nickname is well-earned: The city is also home to hedge funds including AQR Capital Management, Viking Global Investors, K7 Investments, and Axiom Investors
Robin Kencel, a real estate broker at Compass and one of the founding agent of the Greenwich office, said about half of her buyers work in finance.
"The others are entrepreneurs, they work for corporations, they're in the entertainment business," Kencel told me. "Finance is still very important to Greenwich, but I think you'll find it's much more diversified in terms of occupations than when people were first coming out in the turn of the century and the trains came out and it was the summer homes for finance folks."Kencel said she gets about 45% of her sales from Manhattan. Buyers from the city are "always surprised how quick it is to get here," she said.
I took the train out to Greenwich for a day to get a feel for the affluent community. Here's what it was like.