Bündchen’s Buy

When supermodel Gisele Bündchen returns from a six-month vacation in her native Brazil, there’s a tony new apartment in the West Village that should ease her transition to Manhattan’s sidewalks and catwalks.

The 22-year-old bombshell closed recently on a $2.925 million duplex penthouse condo on West 11th Street, near the Hudson River.

The 1,858-square-foot spread is about 500 square feet larger than her last apartment, a condo at the American Thread Building in Tribeca, which Ms. Bündchen sold last September for $849,000. For the extra $2 million, the IMG modeling agency’s top superstar gets penthouse views with four exposures-including the Hudson River-high ceilings, a terrace, hardwood floors, a working fireplace and a keyed elevator to her unit.

Ms. Bündchen’s broker at the Corcoran Group declined to comment, as did her representative at IMG, who said, “We don’t comment on her private life.”

India’s ambassador to the United Nations just secured himself the quickest commute in the city: He’s got a $5.1 million apartment at Trump World Tower-the 90-floor monolith that sits across the street from the U.N. headquarters on First Avenue at 47th Street. In late December, the Indian mission to the U.N. closed on two units on the Trump building’s 34th floor. A spokesperson confirmed that they bought it for the mission’s ambassador, Vijay Nambiar.

“It will be used as a residence for the Indian ambassador to the U.N.,” the rep said.

Once both units are combined, the ambassador will hold sway over a five-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bathroom apartment that’s more than 4,800 square feet in size.

Mr. Nambiar, a career diplomat, took over as permanent ambassador to the United Nations in May of 2002. Before that, he was India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan. Both at that post, and since assuming his duties at the United Nations, he has been India’s point man in the ongoing Indian-Pakistani nuclear crisis.

Mr. Nambiar isn’t the only diplomat who enjoys a one-block commute to work: In July of 2001, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased a five-unit spread on the building’s 45th floor.

New Yorker staff writer and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell has parlayed his writing talent into a $1.6 million Tribeca condo.

The 39-year-old journalist recently moved into a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment at 270 Broadway, a newly converted condominium building located between Chambers and Warren streets, across from City Hall.

Mr. Gladwell, who has been at The New Yorker since 1996, is best known for The Tipping Point , his first book, published in 2000. In it, Mr. Gladwell argued that new trends, ideas and behaviors spread just like viruses do.

The best-seller grew out of a New Yorker article that examined how the “tipping point” phenomenon could explain why New York’s crime rate suddenly plummeted in the early 1990’s.

In an e-mail, Mr. Gladwell declined to comment on the purchase, saying, “I generally regard anything about me in print with terror.”

Each unit at Tower 270, as Mr. Gladwell’s building is called, has 10-foot-high ceilings, Miele and Bulthaup appliances, imported European-style wardrobes, oak and aluminum cabinetry, glass-paneled shower stalls and Philippe Starck–designed tubs.

UPPER WEST SIDE

322 Central Park West

Three-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $1.875 million. Selling: $1.783 million.

Maintenance: $2,464;

32 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one year.

MARTHA MAKEOVER The aging architect who raised his family in this apartment hadn’t done much to modernize the place in the last 30 years. One of the surviving relics was a huge dining-room table designed by Eero Saarinen, the Finnish architect responsible for the Gateway in St. Louis and the T.W.A. terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport. “Everybody who came in to look at the place would say, ‘Look! It’s a table by Saarinen!'” said broker Lyn Scarpati, vice president of Insignia Douglas Elliman. Unfortunately, features like faded flower-print wallpaper didn’t inspire the same degree of enthusiasm in buyers; so Ms. Scarpati asked the architect for $300 to spruce the place up. “I brought Martha Stewart towels, rugs and dish towels for the kitchens,” said Ms. Scarpati. “I also dragged my husband along with me. He drilled holes for new curtain rods, and I ironed the curtains.” A New Jersey couple with three young children-the parents are both highly placed executives at major corporations-saw the apartment’s potential, and they’re selling a condo they own in Manhattan to pony up for this one.

GREENWICH VILLAGE

382 Lafayette Street

One-bedroom,

one-and-a-half-bathroom condo.

Asking: $1.295 million. Selling: $1.15 million.

Taxes: $360. Charges: $450.

Time on the market: eight weeks.

MODEL TENANT If the fashion talent agent who just bought this loft wants a second opinion on an up-and-coming designer, she has only to go downstairs, where the grande dame of all supermodels, Lauren Hutton, lives one floor below. “I bumped into [Ms. Hutton] on the elevator,” said the fashion agent’s broker, Audrey Nevitsky of Charles H. Greenthal. “You’re going to get an artsy entertainment crowd if you live here.” The new owner actually owns her own fashion talent agency, so she probably won’t need to use the 1,800-square-foot apartment for work space. More likely, she’ll be setting up a nursery in the floor-through loft, as she and her husband are expecting their first baby. Their new home has 12-foot-high ceilings, oversized windows with three exposures, and a marble master bathtub and separate steam shower.

EAST VILLAGE

99 East Fourth Street

Two-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op

Asking: $650,000. Selling: $650,000.

Maintenance: $656; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: two weeks

SISTER ACT These two artistically minded sisters in their late 20’s just pooled their inheritance to buy this sun-drenched East Fourth Street co-op. One sister is a ceramic sculptor; lately she’s been specializing in tulip vases. She’s also taught classes at Harvard and recently had an exhibition at Greenwich House Pottery. Her broker on the deal, David Menendez of the Corcoran Group, calls her vases “organic-shaped, like things you’d see on a coral reef-you can put tulips in each of the many small openings.” Her sister, a former captain of the tennis team at the University of Kentucky, is a recent transplant to New York. She’s working as a script manager for independent-film projects and plans to shoot her own movie some day. Mr. Menendez suggested they shoot for the East Village because co-op boards there are “much more forgiving in terms of accepting owners with arts-related professions.” Their fourth-floor apartment has west and south exposures, so the light really pours in. And at 950 square feet, it’s intimate enough for sisterly bonding, but large enough to accommodate a little sibling rivalry. Mary Anne Cotter, also of the Corcoran Group, had the exclusive on the apartment.

UPPER EAST SIDE

Lillian Berkman Joins the 64th St. Block Party

Speaking of the “tipping point,” it seems that the block of East 64th Street, between Fifth and Madison avenues, may have reached one of its own, now that yet another megamillion single-family townhouse on the gilded stretch has hit the market. The latest addition is 22 East 64th Street, a 25-foot-wide mansion that belongs to the estate of the late Lillian Berkman, a pioneering businesswoman, collector of Renaissance art and patron to many of the city’s most prestigious cultural institutions. Ms. Berkman, who died in 2001, owned the house since 1962. Fred Williams of Sotheby’s International Realty is listing the property for $19.5 million.

“It’s one of the nicest houses I’ve ever been in,” said townhouse specialist Jed Garfield, of Leslie J. Garfield & Co.

With No. 22 hitting the market, half of the block’s eight single-family townhouses are now for sale. Besides No. 22, which is on the south side of the street, three neighboring houses on the north side are all up for grabs. At No. 9, music guru Tommy Mottola is asking $27 million; at No. 11, art dealer Guy Wildenstein wants $35 million; and at No. 15, Seagram scion Edgar Bronfman Jr. is holding firm at $40 million. The latter two mansions are the most expensive properties on the Manhattan market.

“The cumulative asking prices are higher than any other block in New York,” said George Van der Ploeg, a townhouse specialist for Insignia Douglas Elliman.

Other townhouse owners on the block include Ivana Trump and Donatella Versace.

The Berkman house is five stories high, plus a penthouse, and 25 by 65 feet, with a 13-by-35-foot extension on four floors, yielding over 10,000 square feet of interior space-plus a 400-square-foot terrace above the extension on the fifth floor and a 2,000-square-foot basement. The mansion’s Versailles-style decorations have been meticulously maintained since the building’s last gut renovation in the 1960’s. The house includes a sweeping marble staircase, two formal galleries, a wine cellar, gaming room, library and formal dining room. The penthouse floor has a studio and storage space. Taxes on the property run $61,883 per year.

A little further east, the madness continues, with No. 48, between Park and Madison avenues, on the market, and 127, 129 and 131 East 64th Street all for sale. (The townhouse at 603 Park Avenue, at the corner of 64th Street, was yanked off the market by its owner, and renovation work continues there.)