Ever wonder what it’s like to be an uber-rich Upper East Sider?
Now you can learn all about it from author and social researcher Wednesday Martin, who lived among New York City’s most upper-crust moms for six years and survived to tell the tale – the tale being her buzzy new book, Primates of Park Avenue, which explores annual wife bonuses, $6,000 parties for 6 year olds, and other rituals of the rich and restless.
This is the world Martin and her husband threw themselves into when they moved to the Upper East Side after entering parenthood – and the world she wanted to not only become a part of, but also understand.
“I had only moved a few miles but it did not take take long to realize, wait a second, I have landed in an entirely separate world,” Martin tells PEOPLE in a new interview. “The women were getting out of their SUVs in the morning looking like they were ready to go to fashion week – but it was for school drop-off.”
Martin, who earned a doctorate from Yale, eventually decided to study these women who were seemingly her peers.
“We have this impulse to send people up, and I did too, but I also wanted to peel it back: Why are we doing this? Why are we spending so much money on our children in this culture, is what I was asking,” she explains.
A Dramatic Reading of Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir
To find her answer, Martin drew on her interest in anthropology and “worked it like a chimp” to go from “playdate pariah” to Park Avenue pro – and the proud owner of an elusive “Birkin” bag. Find out more in the videos above.