New York's rich get richer as billionaires' net worth increases
The global billionaires club can boast a growing roster and even more money this year, with a large number of tycoons calling New York City home.
With 58 New Yorkers making Forbes magazine's annual worldwide rich list, which was released Wednesday, the Big Apple can count the most billionaires in the U.S. and the second most worldwide behind Moscow.
While Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't top the list of New Yorkers, he did catapult 10 spots from No. 30 worldwide last year to No. 20 this year after his personal wealth climbed to $22 billion, according to Forbes. That eclipses the $20 billion he reportedly amassed in October 2008.
"His worth includes the entire value of Bloomberg LP, which is the bulk of his fortune," said Forbes senior editor Luisa Kroll. "Bloomberg wasn't even in the top 10 of Americans last year."
The mayor's office said it hadn't seen the report.
The richest New Yorker remains oil baron David Koch, whose wealth is now at $25 billion, a $3 billion boost from a year ago, Forbes said.
That places Koch, 71, at No. 12 globally, still trailing the world's richest man: Mexican telecom czar Carlos Slim Helu, who tops the list for the third straight year with $69 billion.
Overall, the net worth of the 1,226 billionaires listed is $4.6 trillion, up from $4.5 trillion last year, when there were 1,210 billionaires.
Other New Yorkers with fuller bank accounts include real estate tycoon Donald Trump, whose worth increased to $2.9 billion, and fashion mogul Ralph Lauren, worth $7.5 billion.
Occupy Wall Street activist Laura Gottesdiener called the list "disheartening," especially after ongoing reports of foreclosures in New York and an increased number of people in city homeless shelters.
"This last year was the worst year for upward mobility in the country, and some people are still making plenty of money on the backs of the rest of us," Gottesdiener said.
A 2010 Fiscal Policy Institute report found that New York had the highest degree of income inequality among the nation's largest 25 cities.
Still, Kroll said, there are plenty examples of new billionaires who've built recent empires out of simple ideas. She points to Sara Blakely, the founder of underwear company Spanx and a part-time Manhattan resident, who is the youngest self-made woman on the Forbes list.
"Times aren't easy and it seems like the average person isn't feeling these benefits," Kroll said, "but with a little luck and ingenuity and a really fabulous idea, you can make something out of yourself."