Though Grace Hightower and her godly husband Robert De Niro just paid $20.9 million for a 15-room Central Park West apartment last month, she has also bought a $3,440,000 limestone townhouse at 516 East 89th Street.
“She’s going to gut it and renovate it,” said listing broker Beverly Feingold, a vice president at Halstead. “It could just be a hobby! I don’t know.”
City records list the buyer as GH Trust and “Grace Hightower, as Trustee.” (Her trust also owns a 1,653-square-foot apartment high up in the Trump Palace, 20 blocks south.)
The townhouse sales deed indicates that Ms. Hightower signed and closed on a contract in a single day—Oct. 3—which is blissfully swift. The couple’s newly renovated C.P.W. apartment closed 10 days later.
The 89th Street seller is Averil Logan, who had owned the place since 1974. Her daughter, also listed on the deed, is the actress Bellina Logan. Ms. Logan played a nurse on 26 episodes of E.R. and, as these things go, appeared in a short-lived TV show called Central Park West.
“Keeping this within the acting community makes it feel like it was a meant-to-be situation,” said Ms. Feingold. “There was a bidding war,” she added.
But the couple’s three-story townhouse will need some major work, including (but not limited to) a new kitchen plus new bathrooms. And there’s a master bedroom with a wood-burning fireplace—which, according to Ms. Feingold’s listing, could be “made usable.”
If Ms. Hightower and Mr. De Niro aren’t eager to fix up their fireplace and powder rooms and eatery—and if their minds change about that $20.9 million C.P.W. co-op—they’ll have Mr. De Niro’s new Downtown Hotel in Tribeca.
Lundqvist Scores on West 83rd
Henrik Lundqvist, Swedish gold medalist and goalie extraordinaire and recent New York Press cover boy, has joined the cadre of Rangers hockey stars nestling into the Upper West Side.
According to city records, Mr. Lundqvist paid $1.75 million for a combined-unit condo at the Bromley on West 83rd, where he’ll live two floors below the legendary Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch, a nine-time All-Star.
Earlier this month, the weekly New York Press put Mr. Lundqvist’s handsome Scandinavian mug on its cover, calling the 24-year-old (and second-year player) Manhattan’s “best-kept sports secret.”
As far as enigmas go, it’s more mysterious that rugged hockey stars have congregated on the furiously unathletic Upper West Side. According to the Rangers Web site, star scorer Jaromir Jagr rooms with teammate Petr Prucha. Reportedly, old vets Brendan Shanahan and Martin Straka are nearby, too—and this February, The New York Times reported that Czech stars Martin Rucinsky and Petr Sykora live in the same U.W.S. building. (They’ve both since left the Rangers.)
Even though Mr. Lundqvist led the Swedish national hockey squad to a first-place Olympic finish in Turin, he may treasure his neighborly connections. “It’s almost like you’re on your own,” he told The Press about the goalie’s solitary position. “Yes, like you’re lonely.”
The New York Sun reported the apartment’s sale earlier this month, though the article didn’t name the buyer and misreported the purchase price by $240,000.
Take a Seat!
When the sun goes down, furniture man Burton B. Staniar gets some lush light in his new $9 million apartment at 907 Fifth Avenue.
When asked about his favorite part of the eight-room apartment, Mr. Staniar, the chairman of Knoll, said: “The light from the park. You get a great sense of Hopper light as you look out—you know the artist?”
“Particularly this time of year, when the sun is lower, the angle of the sun in the winter provides that sort of evening light … a wonderful light.”
That picturesque sundown once belonged to Central Park Conservancy founding trustee (and mighty old stockbroker) Richard Gilder. Last year, he listed the place with Stribling’s Judith McKay Durham for $10.9 million, which means that Mr. Staniar got a $1.9 million bargain.
He can put that money into stocking his wet bar, which, according to the Stribling listing, can be found in the reading room. There’s also a 37-foot-long gallery that leads to a living room and library (both with fireplaces).
Does Mr. Staniar bring home wares from the workplace? He admits he’s decorated his new library with “Knoll pieces and antiques, side by side.”
Incidentally, his favorite furniture in the library is Mies van der Rohe’s X-shaped Barcelona. (It’s chrome with dark brown leather.) But decor decisions are left to his new spouse, the interior designer Nancy Staniar. “Talented wives are a great help,” he said.
It isn’t clear from city records where Mr. Gilder will live next, but it’ll probably be someplace nice. In 2001, he reportedly sold his apartment up at 927 Fifth to the banker Bruce Wasserstein. Mr. Wasserstein, who owns New York magazine, paid $15 million, then combined the place with his $11.5 million apartment on the floor below.
Welcome to the Dollhouse
The boutique-hotel developer Stephen Brighenti has sold his storybook duplex in the 110-year-old Berwind Mansion for $4.7 million.
“Our daughter felt like Eloise at the Plaza, living in a museum-quality maisonette,” Mr. Brighenti said.
Coal tycoon James Berwind built the Beaux-Arts mansion at 828 Fifth Avenue, on the corner of 64th Street. In the 1980’s, it was divided into apartments: Mr. Brighenti’s old duplex takes up the eastern half of the mansion’s lower and first floors; the west side belongs to the septuagenarian fashion designer Adolfo.
Are there still tycoon-like touches? “In my unit, I had over 1,000 pieces of gilded bronze—which is what we called them, because we thought they were bronzes,” said Mr. Brighenti. “But when we started to clean them, we saw they were gold-plated.”
Besides that bounty of gilt wall details, which adorns the mansion’s library, the apartment has a 4,000-bottle brick wine cellar, a glass conservatory, plus a garden outside the three bedrooms. Boutique-hotel developers are the new coal moguls!
The buyer of the Fifth Avenue apartment is listed pseudonymously in city records as Twin-828 Fifth L.L.C. Twin-828 is not a stranger to the place: A sales deed shows that the limited-liability company paid $9.75 million in June 2005 for a third-floor duplex.
If there’s any money left over, that buyer can pay another $9.495 million for the mansion’s parlor floor, on the market with Brown Harris Stevens managing director Paula Del Nunzio.
According to her listing, that ceaselessly ornate apartment is “comprised of the vast original gold ballroom.” Reportedly, Madonna once spent 15 minutes face-up on the floor, staring at the 18-foot ceilings.
If the Twin-828 mystery buyer meets the $9.495 million price tag, he will have a five-floor, 32-room Gilded Age mini-cosmos. When asked about that possibility, a source with knowledge of the Berwind Mansion said: “It’s a highly pregnant question!”
The listing brokers of the ground-floor duplex—Sotheby’s International Realty vice president Lois Nasser and Stribling executive vice president Kirk Henckels—wouldn’t comment for this story, and neither would Ms. Del Nunzio.
In September 2005, those three teamed up when Mr. Brighenti tried marketing his duplex as a “possible” combined unit with the parlor floor. “There was actually equal interest,” he said—meaning interest in the duplex alone and bundled with the golden ballroom—“and it just happened that this particular buyer purchased mine first.”
Why didn’t the hotelier hold out for the combo sale? “It’s a little more complicated to sell two apartments simultaneously,” he sighed.
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