The film and book depict the short period of American excess after World War I but before The Great Depression. Although Fitzgerald ultimately puts a negative spin on this gilded age, one must admit that it would be fun to live like the book's protagonist Jay Gatsby.
Gatsby made his fortune by bootlegging alcohol during the prohibition era, but just how large a fortune did he make? Nickolay Lamm, a researcher and artist, looked into the matter and created an infographic to display his findings. Lamm claims that to live like Gatsby did between 1920 and 1922 would be cost about $34 million in 2013 dollars.
After returning home from war, Gatsby purchases a 12-room mansion in West Egg, Long Island (West Egg is thought to be a thinly veiled stand in for Great Neck, LI). Lamm estimates that an estate like Gatsby’s would cost $30 million today, even after the collapse of the housing market!
Gatsby spares no expense when it comes to transport. Lamm found that his hydroplane, two cars, and two motorboats would cost a total of $2.6 million today.
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Other expenses include a personal shopper to buy Gatsby the finest clothing.
“They’re such beautiful shirts. It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts," exclaims Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby's love interest, in both Fitzgerald's book and Luhrmann's film adaptation.
The wild parties, of course, are one of Gatsby’s largest expenses. Lamm looked at the prices of high-class weddings in Long Island to get an idea of how much Gatsby might have spent on his notorious shindigs and came to a modest $250,000. That's before the added cost of champagne ($81,000) and servants to make sure that each and every guest is tended to ($800,000).
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Would you shell out $35 million to live like Gatsby if you could? Let us know in the comments!
You can contact this blogger on Twitter: @NicoleGoodkind.
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