On May 14, Sopranos matriarch Edie Falco listed her neo-Greek townhouse at 97 Barrow Street for $3.75 million. The 18-foot-wide home totals 2,592 square feet and has seven rooms, wide-plank flooring and a private rear garden. Built in 1847, the red brick residence has since been updated with modern amenities while preserving the original moldings and archways throughout.
Thomas Wexler, a senior vice president with the Corcoran Group, who has the exclusive listing, didn’t return calls for comment. Ms. Falco was traveling, a spokesperson said, and unavailable for comment about her forthcoming West Village exodus.
In December 2001, Ms. Falco paid $2.55 million to move into 97 Barrow Street, between Hudson and Greenwich streets. The move put her in familiar company.
In recent years, the West Village blocks started to seem an eerie stand-in for the New Jersey exurb where Carmela and Tony hold court in a stucco McMansion.
In June 1999, James Gandolfini paid $850,500 for a two-bedroom apartment in the 177,000-square-foot luxury condo development at 99 Jane Street. In March 2002, Mr. Gandolfini and his now ex-wife, Marcella Wudarski-Gandolfini, purchased the adjacent apartment at 99 Jane Street for just over $1 million.
But in November 2003, following his divorce settlement with Ms. Wudarski, Mr. Gandolfini, 42, unloaded his adjoining apartments at 99 Jane Street for $2.5 million.
Just like her character Carmela, who’s estranged from Tony Soprano on the show’s fifth season, in March Ms. Falco split from her new beau, Stanley Tucci, after the two became romantically involved during their five-month run together in Terrence McNally’s play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune . When things were still hot and heavy last year, the two had reportedly been scouting seven-figure Tribeca lofts together back in November, before recently going their separate ways.
The 18-room duplex at 10 Gracie Square that had belonged to the late Madame Chiang Kai-shek recently went into contract for close to the $12.5 million asking price, real-estate sources close to the building said.
When the former Chinese first lady died in October at age 105, Madame Chiang, née Mei-ling Soong, had been living a reclusive life at the gilded duplex since 1975, when her husband, the mercurial leader of the Chinese Nationalists, passed away.
The apartment, at 84th Street and East End Avenue overlooking Carl Schurz Park, landed on the market at $12.5 million late last year. At press time, the buyer’s identity was unknown.
Marguerite De La Poer of Brown Harris Stevens, who shared the listing with fellow Brown Harris broker Gerald Crown, declined to comment.
Ten Gracie Square was built in 1931 by the prestigious architects Van Wart and Wein. The former Chinese first lady’s apartment was an example of opulent pre-war luxury. The two-floor apartment had seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms. On the ninth floor, the floor plan included a central foyer, four bedrooms, a living room, a formal dining room, a professional kitchen, a library and four fireplaces. The second floor, reached by a private elevator, had three bedrooms with bathrooms ensuite , a dressing room, an office and two maids’ rooms that shared an additional bathroom.
Twelve and a half million dollars is a lot to pay, even for all that, but consider the maintenance: a monthly charge of $10,736. And for all its opulence, some brokers say the place will need more investment to bring it up to 21st-century standards.
“It needs a complete gut renovation,” said one source who has toured the apartment. “It has all the original details, and nothing has been updated.”
According to sources, the furniture belonging to Madame Chiang is currently being removed from the residence now that a contract is signed. The new buyer will own one of the Upper East Side’s most storied apartments, where a doyenne of Cold War politics lived in seclusion for much of the past two decades before passing away late last year.
Madame Chiang was born in 1898 into one of modern China’s most famous-and wealthy-families, the Soongs. At the age of 10, she joined her older sisters at the Wesleyan College for Women in Macon, Ga., before entering Wellesley College in 1913. Madame Chiang graduated in 1917 and returned to Shanghai, where she met Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. In 1927, the two married in a lavish ceremony. Henry Luce, the publisher of Time magazine, named the couple “Man and Woman of the Year” 11 years later, in 1938. By 1949, the Nationalists had retreated to Taiwan, and for the next half-century, Madame Chiang became one of the most successful political lobbyists for American support of Taiwan in its struggle with the mainland. She settled in New York at 10 Gracie Square in 1975, where for the last quarter-century, her black-suited bodyguards could be seen watching over the building’s lobby every time Madame Chiang would enter or exit.
Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market
Upper West Side
117 West 81st Street
Eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom townhouse.
Asking: $3.35 million. Selling: $3.25 million.
Time on the market: eight months.
RE-DO REDUX Last year, Rosie O’Donnell put this leafy Upper West Side block on the map when the former daytime talker sold her townhouse for north of $5 million. Now it appears another West 81st Street townhouse owner got the itch to sell. The real-estate investor who owned this multi-family townhouse with his wife, a physical therapist, had planned to convert the sprawling residence into a single-family spread, but with the market at an all-time high, the thirtysomething couple decided to cash out and move to an Upper East Side abode. “The owners had the intention of doing the conversion, but the market was so good that, rather than do all the work themselves, they decided they’d let the buyers finish their own renovation,” said Rick Pretsfelder of Leslie J. Garfield, who sold the five-and-a-half-story townhouse between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. The buyer, a gentlemen who had sold his custom-cabinetry business to Home Depot, was leaving behind the quiet of the Midwest for the big-city life now that he had cashed in on his business. He’ll now have a prime Upper West Side townhouse to customize. The 17-foot-wide property is currently configured with a ground-floor duplex, two floor-through apartments and a top-floor duplex. The new owner plans to convert the home to a private single-family residence.