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The Globe and Mail

Would you live in a meat-free ‘utopia?’


When only macadamia–based cheese will do for that late-night craving, a new luxury condo on New York's Lower East Side delivers: the Madison Jackson has been "designed to support a vegetarian or vegan organic lifestyle," offering prospective tenants 24-hour organic vegetarian room service, organic dry cleaning and an on-site juice bar, "for those who get kale cravings at 2 a.m."

The "vegan condo" will also offer in-house nutritional counselling, craniosacral therapy and Jivamukti yoga, which combines hatha yoga with meditation and stresses veganism and environmentalism.

"We have many people who are health conscious," Michael Bolla, the building's developer, told

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"But they don't have time to do certain things, so we're making this lifestyle more tenable and easier. It's not only offering amenities, it's also offering the environment to help people live that way," said Mr. Bolla, a yoga practitioner who is "mostly" vegan.

Response online has been vicious, with no live-and-let-live spirit in sight. Grub Street's Jenny Miller called the condo a "glorious, meat-free, rich-people utopia," and hoped righteous celebrities such as Alicia Silverstone would sequester themselves inside. One vegan commenter suggested the opulence of it all induced nausea.

Madison Jackson is also not getting much love for its "wacky" interiors, conjured by more than 100 designers and artists who descended on the property last month. The result was four whimsical apartments; one was called "Play," which featured a rubber-band stairwell and drew the ire of bloggers.

According to The Wall Street Journal, real-estate investor Thomas Sung bought the building for $535,000 (all figures U.S.) in 1983; it's taken him this long to bring the property to market after installing an Olympic-sized pool at his daughter's behest. Prices start at $542,000.

Would you live in a vegan condo, or does it rate among the most annoying places on earth? What happens when you want to meat cheat with a sausage-loaded pizza delivery?

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