Wildenstein’s Ex-Wife Vacates 64th Street; Her Staff Walks Out

Two years after her husband allegedly threatened her at gunpoint in their East 64th Street town house, Jocelyne Wildenstein has moved out of the family’s five-story, dormitory-style residence between Madison and Fifth avenues.

Under the terms of an $8 million sales contract that was signed in May, Ms. Wildenstein, who divorced international art dealer Alec Wildenstein earlier this year, is living with a handful of personal staff members in a five-story town house at 12 East 82nd Street, off Fifth Avenue. The sale will not be final, sources said, until the details of the couple’s divorce settlement are determined. Until then, Ms. Wildenstein and the town house’s current owner, Fred Levinson, who directed the “Morning in America” ad for Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign, have agreed to an arrangement whereby she puts a sum of money in an escrow account in exchange for using the house while it’s under contract.

“She’s in it now,” said Mr. Levinson, who added that Ms. Wildenstein moved into the town house last spring. “I have escrow on it. [But] I don’t want to get into any other details as far as financing.”

Although a Manhattan judge granted the 54-year-old plastic-surgery innovator an uncontested divorce in April, the settlement agreement is still being negotiated. “We’re still working out the mechanics,” said Raoul Felder, who is representing Mr. Wildenstein. (Bernard Clair, Ms. Wildenstein’s lawyer, did not return a call for comment.)

No. 11 East 64th Street was a battleground in the breakup of Jocelyne and Alec Wildenstein. Mr. Wildenstein’s father, the international art dealer Daniel Wildenstein, owns the double-width home, which is just three doors down from the Wildenstein Gallery at 19 East 64th Street. For years, Jocelyne and Alec had occupied the third floor; Alec’s younger brother, Guy Wildenstein and his wife, Kristina, were on the fourth floor, and the children of both couples and a nanny were quartered on the fifth floor. Jocelyne and Alec each filed divorce papers in June 1997, but neither could bear to leave the posh address.

In September, however, Alec was barred from the property by a Manhattan judge after allegedly threatening Jocelyne, her two bodyguards and a former employee with a gun when she arrived at the town house late one night. At the time, Mr. Wildenstein claimed he was attempting to defend himself from intruders. Nevertheless, an order of protection left his wife ensconced in their living quarters on the third floor of the mansion. But sources said that under the couple’s settlement agreement Mr. Wildenstein would replace his former wife as the occupant of the couple’s portion of the 64th Street property, forcing her to look for a new home.

That led Ms. Wildenstein to 12 East 82nd Street, an 1888 house between Fifth and Madison avenues that has been on and off the market since the early 1990′s, most recently at an asking price of $8.2 million. Fred Levinson, who according to real estate records purchased the house for $450,000 in 1978, said he decided to sell the property because it was too big for his personal needs.

“I live mostly in California,” said Mr. Levinson, “and the house–it’s a 9,000-square-foot house and it’s huge, but being there alone is kind of … you see ghosts in a big house. I don’t mean literally. But all your old friends and everything. And the market is, I think, the best it’s ever been.” Prior to signing a contract with Ms. Wildenstein, he had rented out the property for more than $50,000 a month.

Until the 1950′s, the house belonged to art patron Joseph Hirschhorn and his wife, a sculptor. Two decades later, Mr. Levinson purchased the property from an estate and renovated it, moving the dining room from the second to the third floor and establishing a master suite on the fifth floor, where Mrs. Hirschhorn’s sculpture studio had been. The house also has a ground-level garden, an open staircase that runs up to the top floor, an eat-in, Provence-style kitchen, five bedrooms and a landscaped terrace off a second, smaller bedroom on the fifth floor.

According to sources, when Ms. Wildenstein left 64th Street, her small army of personal staff abandoned her and were quickly snatched up by Edgar Bronfman Jr., who owns another double-width mansion right next door at 15 East 64th Street. “Her whole staff walked out on her,” said the source. “They went over to Bronfman’s, en masse.” The staff included her accountant and a personal adviser.

Reached at the 82nd Street house, Ms. Wildenstein’s personal assistant confirmed that the divorcée and a handful of staff members had taken up residence. (Her current boyfriend, tax lawyer Ken Godt, is reportedly in-house as well.) As for the details of the real estate purchase, the assistant refused comment. “It’s too early,” he said. “I cannot confirm anything.” Asked about the departure of household employees, the assistant admitted that he and the rest of the staff at 82nd Street had just come on board within the last couple of months. Ms. Wildenstein was unavailable for comment.

WEST VILLAGE

JULIANNE MOORE BOOGIES INTO $900,000 LOFT. Actress Julianne Moore, who stars in the Christmas Day release Magnolia , her second film with Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson, is still living the life of the queen of independent film. In July, the 37-year-old actress purchased a three-bedroom loft at 345 West 13th Street and didn’t pay $1 million. Well, she paid $900,000, but it’s not a penthouse.

The condo, in a redeveloped loft building between Hudson Street and Eighth Avenue in the West Village, is on a surprisingly low floor–the second–for a Hollywood actress. “I see why she did it,” said a broker. “she’s got a little patio.” The apartment was on the market for $895,000.

Ms. Moore’s 2,573-square-foot loft space contains two and a half baths, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and a terrace of nearly 250 square feet.

Ms. Moore, who has worked on Broadway and in television, lived in New York during her eight-year marriage to fellow actor John Gould Rubin. When the marriage broke up, she rented a home in the Hollywood Hills that she shared with director-boyfriend Bart Freundlich when he was visiting from Manhattan. The couple had a baby boy, Cal, in 1997.

Since taking the West Village apartment this summer, shortly after the releases of An Ideal Husband and Cookie’s Fortune , Ms. Moore has become more of a presence on the New York cocktail and premiere party circuit. The End of the Affair , Ms. Moore’s next effort, is due to open on Dec. 3, the actress’ 38th birthday.

UPPER WEST SIDE

310 Riverside Drive (Masters)

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,200-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $599,000. Selling: $549,500.

Charges: $1,322. 34 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three months.

TERRACE ENVY. A man lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment in this building before he got married. As a newlywed, he bought a studio apartment next door and combined the two. Then he learned that he was being transferred to Europe and he and his wife would have to leave one of the Upper West Side’s oldest prewar buildings (25 floors high, built in 1929), which is undergoing major restoration work. They’re leaving behind a sunny 19th-floor apartment with a wrap-around terrace. Goodbye to the grand, envy-inducing views they enjoyed of the Hudson and just about the entire city. (No view-obstructing Donald Trump building anywhere in sight!) Someone submitted an offer on this place within the first week it was shown, but backed out. Due partly to the mess caused by work on the lobby and some minor renovations in the couple’s apartment–including fixing up the terrace–the place sat unsold for a few months. But then a woman from Boston and her golden retriever came by. She works for Columbia University, a convenient 13 blocks up the street. Broker: Corcoran Group (Jamie Gottlieb, JoAnne r. Douglas).

UPPER EAST SIDE

124 East 84th Street

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,500-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $675,000. Selling: $640,000.

Charges: $1,328. 45 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one week.

THE FAMILY JEWELS ARE IN THE KITCHEN. The sellers, a couple with a baby, lived in this 1924 building for nearly three years before packing up. Their sixth-floor apartment has 10-foot-high beamed ceilings, a kitchen equipped with all the toys a gourmand could dream of and a renovated marble and granite bathroom. Located between Park and Lexington avenues, the building has a doorman, storage and laundry room, but no frills. A sealed bidding war nonetheless ensued; the winners are a jewelry manufacturer and a luxury accessories designer who sells her stuff to such stores as Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. The couple had owned an apartment on East 19th Street but sold it in favor of more space and a neighborhood with better schools for their son. They should do just fine on the Upper East Side, don’t you think? Broker: Charles H. Greenthal (Terri Stone); Stribling & Associates (Cornelia Eland).

301 East 79th Street (Continental Towers)

Two-bed, two-bath, 906-square-foot condo.

Asking: $565,000. Selling: $532,500.

Charges: $510.22. Taxes: $468.

Time on the market: five months.

BEHIND CURTAIN NO. 1: $532,500. O.K., so it’s closer to Second Avenue than Park, and it’s a 1960′s building. But there’s a doorman and concierge, and laundry facilities on the first floor. And the views aren’t bad from the 16th-floor apartment–nothing fancy, but the place has a renovated kitchen with new cabinets and appliances. The seller is a retired United Nations employee who moved to South America with her sister. For some reason, she had glass doors installed between the living room and the smaller bedroom, which many prospective buyers found odd. Problem solved when the broker put curtains over the glass doors: The place sold the next day. The buyers are a married couple from California who have bought the apartment for the wife’s grandmother. They don’t mind the glass doors and neither does Grandma. The couple plan to visit her several times a year and stay in the second bedroom. Broker: Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy (Mary McGreene, Florence Sommer).

MURRAY HILL

200 East 27th Street (Victoria House)

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,250-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $425,000. Selling: $405,000.

Charges: $1,056. 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one year.

TO SELL, OR TO WAIT AND SELL FOR THE SAME PRICE. Hamlet was less indecisive than the guy who bought this apartment a year and a half ago. He never lived there because, soon after he bought it, his dream apartment became available uptown. So he bought both apartments, unable or unwilling to choose just one home. He finally let go of this place, located in that odd, newly trendy neighborhood between Gramercy Park and Murray Hill, nicknamed NoMad. It was in dreadful condition even when he bought it. The seller didn’t seem to mind, though; nor did he mind having to pay maintenance fees while his increasingly dumpy apartment sat on the market. He insisted upon a certain price, declining many offers received early on. Perhaps by painting and cleaning the apartment, things would have moved more quickly, but that didn’t happen. Nonetheless, a married couple eventually came along and bought the place (for around the same price the seller could have gotten a year ago, but oh well). She’s a financial analyst and he’s a lawyer. They’d sold a smaller apartment in the city to have more space. This place was their second choice; they’d lost out on a Murray Hill apartment. Their new home needs tons of work (for example: a large hole put at the bottom of a closet door for a cat to go in and out of). But what they’ve got is a floor-through layout with exposures north and south, so lots of light, central air-conditioning, a dining room and ample space. The building has a full-time doorman, roof deck, garage and health club. Broker: Corcoran Group (Jane Cibener).

CHELSEA

133 West 24th Street

Three-bed, two-bath, 2,300-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $599,000. Selling: $599,000.

Charges: $1,350.

Time on the market: one month.

THE ONLY REASON TO DOWNSIZE IS TO CASH IN. In the mid-80′s, this building, originally home to a furrier, became a residential co-op. The seller of this second-floor apartment has lived there since the beginning. She’s a single woman who decided to downsize to a one-bedroom apartment but remain in Chelsea. Though on a low floor, this place has 10-foot-high ceilings, wooden beams and columns, windows in the kitchen and the bathroom, a large arched window overlooking 24th Street, a washer-dryer and original maple floors. The couple who bought this place had been renting in the neighborhood and wanted to own a place in which to start a family. Broker: Corcoran Group (Gabriella Winter).