Secrets of Manhattan's Upper East Side Housewives Revealed in New Book

A new book, "Primates of Park Avenue," reveals one woman's encounter with multiple Upper East Side families.
3:20 | 06/01/15

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Transcript for Secrets of Manhattan's Upper East Side Housewives Revealed in New Book
We're back now with a buzzy new book that goes behind closed doors in one of America's most exclusive neighborhoods. It's called "Primates of park avenue." One woman's up close encounter of America's wealthiest families and Mara schiavocampo has the inside scoop. Reporter: She calls them the glamorous stay-at-home moms that manage a household staff need full hair and makeup to drop their kids off at school and will spend any amount of money to kind up with the joneses. Manhattan's upper east side, multimillion dollar penthouses and meticulously dressed women. Oh, look at that. There's a huge imperative to be thin and fit and beautiful. Reporter: Meet Wednesday martin, this author and mother of two is peeling back the curtain on a specific set of women she calls glamorous stay-at-home moms dishing on their secret life in our fourth coming memoir, "Primates of park avenue." She says that one of the benefits to being in this tribe is a yearly wife bonus. Handed out by the husband. The wife bonus, the idea that some of these wives that their wealthy husbands were giving them a performance bonus at the end of the year like so many people get at work. Tell me about that. This is one of the things that they describe to me. And what's interesting is that now we're seeing people posting stories, I get a bonus, mine's not performance based. Why I'm proud of it. Why I think it's retrograde. It's kind of started a conversation. Reporter: We spent the day with her last week. Now I have on my social face. Reporter: Martin first joined this exclusive world in 2004. "Mean girls." In Reading it it felt like a high school you were describing. Is that how it felt? We talk about power dynamics in the workplace but these power dynamics exist between the women of the sandbox set as well. Reporter: We tag along as Wednesday heads to meet one of the all-important fixtures of the tribe her cosmetic dermatologist. Little fine lines in through here and do botox when you're ready. Reporter: Next off to fifth avenue where she links with Barbara. It costs $85,000 a year just to be beautiful enough to play ball in the worlds that I lived in and clothing is a big part of that. Reporter: The ladies decide to lunch at Michael's. The spot to see and be seen. Marys who you know, where you sit. Who's around you. Reporter: And in150id look at a very unique tribe in this concrete jungle. Now, the revelation of those wife bonuses has gotten an awful lot of attention. One point a lot are making that with all the comblamer in these lives these women have no financial Independence because their husbands are controlling all the purse strings so that's the more serious aspect. The bonus makes them feel -- They can tuck it away. Put it in a bank account. Is is it really called a performance bonus? She's saying this is a performance-based wife bonus. Are you taking notes, Lara. I find the term performance bonus interesting. Absurd. Your bonus getting cut by 30%. You're shaking your head. Aim just a little girl from Mississippi trying to figure it out. All right. A lot of people are talking about this one. More more Wednesday martin and her book, "Primates of park avenue" tune in to "Nightline."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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