Return to Montauk: Brant, Schnabel, Beard Frolic in Andy Land

POLO-PLAYING PUBLISHER RENTS WARHOL’S COMPOUND In 1972, broker Tina Fredericks, who owns her own realty firm in East Hampton, showed Andy Warhol, his partner Paul Morrissey and a carload of friends around the Hamptons in search of a summer home. Warhol found the area dreadfully boring, but when they drove into Montauk, he perked up and dropped $220,000 on a secluded 25-acre oceanfront compound with a main house and four cottages. In the end, Ms. Fredericks said, Warhol never spent much time out in Montauk because his wig blew off on the windy bluffs.

Since Warhol’s death on Feb. 22, 1987, Mr. Morrissey has been renting the compound during summers solely to friends of Warhol, including Mick Jagger, Lee Radziwill, designer Halston and writer Jean Stein. The latest member of Warhol’s inner circle to rent the compound is Peter Brant, the chairman and C.E.O. of Brant-Allen Industry, Inc., a newsprint manufacturer. For the second consecutive summer, Mr. Brant has spent about $125,000 to rent the property for six weeks. (In July 1977, Mr. Warhol wanted $4,000 to rent the house for August.)

Every polo season–from mid-July to Labor Day–Mr. Brant, 53, his wife, model Stephanie Seymour, and their two young sons, Harry and Peter, leave White Birch Farm, their sprawling estate in Greenwich, Conn., for the East End. Mr. Brant, a highly skilled polo player, wants to be close to his polo team, also called White Birch, during the season. The race horse-owning mogul also co-founded the Bridgehampton Polo Club and the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge, which takes place on Saturdays in July and August.

Mr. Brant, an art collector who owns the Guggenheim Soho museum building, has purchased work by Warhol, former Montauk resident Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, and continues to support Warhol’s legacy. He helped finance the 1996 film Basquiat , about the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and Warhol, which was directed by artist Julian Schnabel. And Mr. Brant’s ex-wife, Sandy Brant, is the publisher of Interview , the magazine started by Warhol.

“Peter [Brant] is a great person to have out there,” said Susan Blond, owner of Susan Blond Inc., a public relations firm, and a close friend to Warhol. “Peter was good friends with Andy [Warhol] and Paul [Morrissey] …That’s a perfect match.”

Ms. Blond doesn’t remember seeing Warhol in Montauk often. But she gushed about the property. “It’s a fantastic house because it’s high up and it’s spread out.” She used to visit Mr. Schnabel, who for six summers rented the compound, where he created his collages using shards of dinner plates. She also recalled Mr. Schnabel adorning all the beds with white linen.

“It’s pretty barren–it’s way the hell out there, 30 to 40 minutes from East Hampton … on a dirt path … pretty rugged,” said a source who visited the property last summer. “It’s a cool place but a little Wuthering Heights -like.”

Although Warhol carped in his diaries about the long drive from Manhattan to Montauk, in 1979 he filmed Cocaine Cowboys at the compound and he also managed to pull some pranks on the neighbors. In his Nov. 12, 1983 diary entry, Warhol wrote about telling a neighbor of a plan to install a large sculpture within view of the neighbor’s home–”a big earth work with parked trailers.”

“And he didn’t even laugh, he had no sense of humor, he didn’t know I was kidding, he got upset,” wrote Warhol.

These days, the Warhol clan has claimed not only the compound, but also its environs–Mr. Schnabel and photographer Peter Beard own nearby houses.

But friends of Warhol who want to stay in the house will have to continue renting it; they shouldn’t expect to get their hands on the deed. “It’s never been for sale, never coming on the market,” said a source close to Mr. Morrissey. “It’s the last thing in the world that’s for sale.”

The adjacent western property, a 122-acre plot of land with 1,000 feet of sandy beach, is up for grabs–for anyone with $22.5 million to spare. Because of environmental considerations, “no one has known what you could do with it until recently,” said one of the property’s brokers, Krae Van Sickle of Allan M. Schneider Associates, Inc. about the land, part of which was deemed developable by the town’s natural resource department in early June, and is now being sold by a consortium. It “may be appropriate for a limited development conservation plan,” added Mr. Van Sickle, who explained that the property’s wetlands, which are not developable, were recently identified and mapped by the town.

Mr. Brant couldn’t be reached for comment and Mr. Morrissey would not comment.

UPPER WEST SIDE

REVOLVING DOOR AT THE BERESFORD? JUST A QUIRK OF THE MARKET Tweak the cheeks of Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Sklar’s new baby when he or she arrives. Spy on Helen Gurley Brown as she works out in the gym. Ask John McEnroe for free advice on that troublesome backhand. Or while away the day watching Tony Randall try to keep up with his young kids–and young wife.

It’s all available at the Beresford, where for $2 million and higher you can choose from a number of apartments that have recently come on the market.

“It’s one of the top five white-glove buildings on Central Park West,” said Scott Durkin, chief operating officer of the Corcoran Group, about the 182-unit, 22-story co-op building at 211 Central Park West, between 81st and 82nd streets. (The Dakota, the San Remo, the Majestic, and 88 Central Park West also made Mr. Durkin’s list.) The imposing limestone-base structure, topped by 19 floors of beige brick, was designed in 1929 by architect Emery Roth and has long been known for its boldface residents. Mr. Seinfeld, for instance, bought his apartment on the 19th and 20th floors in 1998 for $4.35 million, from violinist Isaac Stern.

The building, which also is home to opera singer-civic leader Beverly Sills, will soon lose one semi-celebrity. On June 15, Robert L. Forbes, the president of Forbes magazine and one of four sons of the late Malcolm Forbes (another is perennial presidential candidate Steve Forbes), signed a contract to sell his seven-room, fifth-floor apartment with a $5.2 million price tag and $2,600 in monthly maintenance charges. The 2,800-square-foot apartment (with three bedrooms and three baths) went on the market in early May. Mr. Forbes did not return two calls for comment.

The widow of Jeffrey Moss, one of the creators of Sesame Street , has also put her place on the market. The 10-room, 17-floor apartment is listed for $7.6 million.

On the more modest side, a six-room apartment is listed for $2.39 million.

Two apartments just sold. Both were owned by a businessman who bought 16B and 17B with the intention of combining them into a four-bedroom, four-bath, 4,500-square-foot apartment. In March, he decided to sell both units–17B features a terrace off the living room–and four eager buyers jumped at the chance to live in the tony building. “There wasn’t really a bidding war,” said broker Richard Ferrari, a vice-president at Douglas Elliman. But the two apartments, which were listed for $8 million, sold for $9.5 million just two weeks after they went on the market. (Common charges are $4,300.)

Mr. Ferrari thinks the buyers, a family represented by Brown Harris Stevens, will combine the units into a duplex featuring two maid’s rooms, an eat-in kitchen and a formal dining room. The deal closed in early June.

A broker-resident said it’s not time to install a revolving door at the entrance to the Beresford. As to whether tenants are seizing the moment and cashing in on the shortage of luxury apartments on Central Park West: “Absolutely not.”

Of course not.

SOHO

A GLASS OF WINE, A PLEASANT WHIFF: THE PERKS OF DOWNTOWN In the race to offer over-the-top amenities to lure high-price buyers to the downtown market, 30 Crosby Street may take the prize this month. In this newly renovated five-story (soon to be seven-story) building, located between Grand and Broome streets, $1.8 million will buy a ground-floor two-bedroom, 3,000- to 4,300-square-foot duplex with about 500 square feet of backyard space. Spend $8 million and you can get one of the two 6,000-square-foot penthouses, as well as another 3,000 square feet of outdoor space.

But The Loft also offers a few unusual perks. The developers, Edward Baquero and Stephen Touhey of Landmark Development, didn’t include a gym, playroom or parking. But they did make a deal with Aveda to install a machine that will pump aromatherapy oils into the lobby. In the morning, residents will be greeted by an invigorating scent–the next best thing to a caffeine jolt. At the end of the day, they can ease back into their home life greeted by a whiff of serenity. “It works on a molecular level, so it will be subtle,” said Mr. Baquero.

That’s not all. For wine lovers, there is the Enoteca, or wine cellar. Each apartment has its own temperature- and humidity- controlled wine storage space (free of charge, of course). The maisonettes and most of the lofts are given an “armoire à vins,” a closet that will store 1,000 bottles of wine. The penthouses and one of the lofts will have enough space for 3,500 bottles of wine.

The cellar is designed by Christine Hawley, self-declared designer of “the Rolls Royce of wine cellars” and wife of Sherry-Lehman chief Michael Aaron. She convinced the developers to provide a wine-tasting room, complete with a limestone fireplace and a rinsing sink, which can be reserved by residents for dinners.

Apartments in the building–which also has more mainstream luxuries like a 24-hour concierge and wiring for high-speed Internet connections–have been on the market since April. (The building was previously owned by a company that made paper boxes.) According to Mr. Baquero, 70 percent of the apartments have sold. “One gentleman flipped out when he found out about the wine cellar,” he said.

But Helene Luchnick of Douglas Elliman, who brokered one of the sales, said it was the space, not the amenities, that convinced her client to buy. “My purchaser bought, not because of the fact that there is a wine cellar but because of what the building provides: wide open space,” she said. “I think that amenities such as wine cellars are not going to influence a purchase. They are an added extra, and not necessary in my opinion.”

As for the aromatherapy, she didn’t say.

UPPER EAST SIDE

515 Park Avenue

Four-bed, four-bath, 3,257-square-foot condo.

Asking: $6.150 million. Selling: $6.336 million.

Charges: $2,870. Taxes: $3,182

Time on the market: two years.

TURKISH DELIGHT On April 5, an American-educated Turkish telecommunications titan named Cem Uzan grabbed one of the last available apartments in this still-unfinished 43-story building, the tallest residential space on Park Avenue. The developers, the Zeckendorf family, claim that their apartments are the most expensive in Manhattan right now, at over $3,000 per square foot. A symbol of gross millennial luxury, the building–designed by architect Frank Williams (who worked with I.M. Pei on the new Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street)–is chock full of amenities. The mahogany-paneled library and the exercise room are communal, but residents can buy storage spaces and private, climate-controlled wine cellars (a $25,000 extra). Separate servants’ suites, located on the second floor, are also available for sale. But the building’s 38 apartments are now sold out.

WEST VILLAGE

178 Sullivan Street

Asking: $1.950 million. Selling: $1.825 million.

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,980-square-foot condo.

Charges: $363. Taxes: $439.

Time on the market: four months.

SULLIVAN GARDEN SUITE In 1920, William Sloane Coffin, who would later become president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, bought 22 Greek Revival row houses–the entire west side of Sullivan Street and the entire east side of MacDougal Street–between Third and Bleecker streets. Working with architects Francis Y. Joannes and Maxwell Hyde, he renovated all the homes and created a shared private garden between the two blocks, where the 22 homes back up onto one another. Coffin had initially intended the development to be middle-income housing, but it didn’t take long for the rich and famous to take over. In 1924, writer Carl Van Doren moved in–and more recently, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, actor Richard Gere and painter Francesco Clemente. This apartment occupies the top two floors of one of the row houses bordering the park. It has a roof terrace that overlooks the gardens, and a master bedroom with an adjoining library. The library, living room and dining room all have fireplaces. The sellers had bought this apartment for their daughter, who lived there until she decided to leave Manhattan. It now belongs to a young couple. The deal was co-brokered by the mother-and-son team of Charlotte Boline and Matthew Boline from Brown Harris Stevens and Scott Allison of Douglas Elliman.