Geraldo’s Family Finds Sweet Clapboard House for Mere $6.8 Million

GERALDO’S EX ENLISTS BROKER TEAM TO SNAG A SINGLE LADY’S CITY PAD On the evening of June 8, C.C. Dyer was celebrating her 44th birthday with about 100 guests in the Central Park West apartment of producer John ( Boys Don’t Cry ) Hart when a kind of intervention occurred. Ms. Dyer and her husband of 13 years, CNBC talk-show host and former mayoral candidate Geraldo Rivera, split last spring, and Ms. Dyer’s friends-among them brokers Wendy Sarasohn of the Corcoran Group, Robbie Browne of Douglas Elliman and Susie Hayes of Alice F. Mason Ltd.-wanted to know when she was going to move back to Manhattan from Locust, N.J., where she lived with her husband.

“I was saying, ‘We gotta get her to the city,'” said Ms. Hayes. “Who wants to be a divorced woman with two kids living in the suburbs?”

Ms. Dyer, who publishes a weekly newspaper in Red Bank, N.J. called The Two River Times , was less than resistant. That evening, Mr. Browne told Ms. Dyer about a four-story clapboard house on East 93rd Street between Lexington and Park avenues for sale for $8.5 million. Mr. Sarasohn and Ms. Hayes checked out the house two days later. Both thought it was a good place for Ms. Dyer, who checked it out with her daughters, Simone, 6, and Isabella, 7, shortly after the brokers did. “They loved the treehouse,” said Ms. Dyer about the handmade structure in the backyard that accommodates about three kids.

Mr. Rivera also gave his seal of approval before Ms. Dyer signed a contract on Aug. 11 to buy the house for about $6.8 million. The deal closed on Oct. 10, and the couple is currently trying to find the right school for their daughters to transfer to in January. The three brokers split their commission with Rose Ann Nielsen of the Corcoran Group like old friends sharing a dinner bill.

“They held her hand through it,” said Ms. Nielsen of the troika representing Ms. Dyer. “It was a lot of fun. Her life was starting over; they were kind of celebrating her entry in Manhattan all over again.”

It helped a lot that the couple selling the house was in a hurry. Bradley Reifler, chief executive of Pali Capital, an investment company, and his wife Ashley had put the townhouse-one of only three clapboard houses in the city-on the market on May 3 for $10 million. The price tag was reduced to $8.975 million on May 15, and on May 17 a note was attached to the listing that read, “Owners will pay additional $100,000 if sold within two weeks.” When that didn’t happen, the price went down to $8.5 million on June 2, and then to $7.9 million on June 15.

What was their big hurry? “We decided to have a lifestyle change,” said Mr. Reifler, who bought a 150-acre farm in Millbrook, N.Y., in early September from a member of the John Deere family, then sold his commodity business and moved out of Manhattan. Now his wife and three young children can pursue their horseback-riding hobby without having to trek over to Chelsea Piers for lessons. (Mr. Reifler bought the townhouse for $2.575 million in 1989.)

The 1866 townhouse, designed by architect Edmund Waring, is “in absolutely exquisite condition,” said broker Michele Kleier of Gumley Haft Kleier Inc. “It doesn’t look like it belongs in New York City; you feel like you’re someplace else.”

Ms. Dyer said she and her children will try to move in for Christmas. “I loved it as soon as I saw it,” she said. “I knew immediately that it was a perfect place for my children and I to live in.”

The house, which is now painted a gray-blue, has a brick entry courtyard enclosed with black wrought-iron gates. The ground floor features a kitchen with a Mexican quarry tile floor, a library with imported pine paneling from England and a south-facing garden. Wood burning fireplaces are in the dining room and living room on the second floor, where there’s also another kitchen. There are two master bedrooms, two bathrooms and a smaller bedroom on the third floor. On the top floor there’s a gym and a master suite complete with a fireplace, a walk-in closet and a marble bathroom with a skylight. There’s also a basement wine cellar that can hold 2,500 bottles. Annual real estate taxes are $14,000.

Ms. Dyer and Mr. Rivera, who were a couple for 20 years, lived in an apartment on East 96th Street and Madison Avenue until about eight years ago, when they moved to New Jersey. Since they split, Mr. Rivera has been living in a house in Fort Lee, N.J., near CNBC’s studios. He put his Jersey Shore house on the market last month, about the same time he was spotted squiring Darva Conger, the Who Wants To Marry a Multi-Millionaire bride. Mr. Rivera dropped out of the New York mayoral race just a few weeks ago, citing pressure from his bosses at CNBC, where he hosts Upfront Tonight and Rivera Live . He also produces documentaries for NBC.

Ms. Dyer sold the Locust, N.J. house in early September to a single retired man who recently sold off his computer company. The townhouse will be painted and have some minor renovations before Ms. Dyer moves in “full time with the children, the dogs, the turtles,” she said, adding, “I’m looking for a dog walker!”

UPPER EAST SIDE

$11 MILLION TOWNHOUSE HAS CHANGED HANDS TWICE IN FOUR MONTHS The five-story townhouse at 16 East 68th Street got its third owner so far this year during the second week of October, when Ken Landis, president of Indulge.com, an upscale beauty Web site, agreed to pay $11 million for the limestone mansion, according to sources.

Mr. Landis, a co-founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, confirmed that the contract had been signed, but refused to confirm the price.

Mr. Landis purchased the property, which brokers describe as “elegant” and “classic,” from Robert McKeon, president of the merchant-banking investment firm Veritas Capital Inc. Mr. McKeon paid $10.5 million for the house in June to Ronni and Bruce Sokoloff, the sister and brother-in-law of Saul Steinberg, who had paid $6 million for the mansion in 1997.

Although the Sokoloffs had updated the plumbing and the wiring in the house, one broker suggested that Mr. McKeon flipped the 21.6-foot-wide home because he decided that he didn’t want to do the work he thought it needed. “He was always complaining about contractors in New York,” said the source. He put the place back on the market on Sept. 18, just three months after buying it.

Before the Sokoloffs bought the 78-feet-deep townhouse (with two elevators, a library, a formal dining room, eight bedrooms and a wall of south-facing windows), the home had not changed hands in 75 years. The Sokoloffs purchased it from the estate of Mrs. William D. Bell, whose father built the house in 1922.

Mr. Landis has been living in a townhouse just a few blocks away since 1994. He put that house on the market for $4.9 million earlier this month. “They’re like night and day,” said one broker, comparing the two houses. The old townhouse, located on 69th Street between Lexington and Third avenues, is only 16.8 feet wide and 55 feet deep. It has four stories, five bedrooms and a garden.

UPPER WEST SIDE

67 Riverside Drive

Five-bed, three-and-a-half-bath, 2,800-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $2.3 million. Selling: $2.4 million.

Charges: $1,454; 39 percent tax deductible.

Time on the market: two weeks.

LIKE DAUGHTER, LIKE MOTHER About two and a half years ago, Enma Baron, a broker at the Corcoran Group, and her husband bought the one-bedroom apartment immediately behind their apartment for their daughter, who had graduated from college two years earlier. This tactic-under the same roof, but not in the same apartment-has worked on many an uptown son or daughter, but not on this woman. “As soon as she graduated, she got this idea that she wanted to see the world,” said Ms. Baron. A flurry of postcards from Vietnam and Australia later and Ms. Baron put her daughter’s apartment (as she likes to call it) and her three-bedroom apartment on the market together. “We didn’t need a 10-room apartment for two people,” she said of her and her husband’s reasons for selling. “We don’t even have a cat.” As a combo, the apartments appealed to a couple with two small kids. Ms. Baron’s apartment has wood paneling in the dining room, original moldings and six juliette balconies that overlook Central Park, but the one-bedroom apartment was not in such good shape. Ms. Baron and her husband have moved to a rental apartment on Central Park South, setting a fine example for their wandering daughter. “We will rent for a while until we decide what to do next,” she said. “When you can’t make a decision, procrastinate!”

GREENWICH VILLAGE

620 Broadway

Two-bed, two-bath, 2,700-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $975,000. Selling: $960,000.

Charges: $1,700; 75 percent tax deductible.

Time on the market: two months.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURESQUE ADDRESS? This 1895 building is located on the corner of Broadway and Houston Street. But don’t hate the residents for having such a great address. A giant ad for Calvin Klein graces the south side of the building, where it abuts the Gaseteria gas station and car wash. The sign, which looks solid from the outside, is actually a giant see-through screen. “You can’t see into the apartments from outside, and from inside it just looks like you have screens over your windows,” said the seller’s broker, Mary Rolland of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy. The “see-through signage,” as Ms. Rolland calls the Calvin Klein ad, is the result of a compromise between the co-op board of the loft building and the owner of the gas station and car wash, who could have just erected a solid billboard blocking the building’s light and air. Ms. Rolland claims that with this special screen, light inside the apartment is “completely normal,” and adds that the buyers of this 2,700-square-foot loft with two bedrooms and a library are delighted with their new home. “They moved from a 750-square-foot one-bedroom” apartment, she said. “Now they have plenty of room for them and their two cats to roam around.”

PROSPECT HEIGHTS

20 Plaza Street

Two-bed, three-bath, 2,500-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $825,000. Selling: $885,000.

Charges: $812; 40 percent tax deductible.

Time on the market: one week.

THREE-YEAR HEARTACHE FOR BROOKLYN Back in 1993, a couple sold this brownstone in central Park Slope, where they had lived for the past 22 years. They took the $565,000 and bought a co-op on West End Avenue for $450,000. Four years later, they were homesick for Brooklyn, so they contacted Rosalie Weider, a broker at William B. May whom they’d worked with before, and told her that this time they’d like an apartment in a prewar building with a doorman. Three years later (“They were very particular,” said Ms. Weider), they bought this 2,500-square-foot penthouse with a terrace in an Art Deco building. They endured a bidding war to get it because it was in such excellent condition, and wound up paying $60,000 over the asking price. While they change the layout of the place and build a greenhouse on the roof, they’re renting a studio apartment from a friend, having already sold their place on Manhattan’s West Side for a cool $1.4 million.