After a 17-year stay, journalist Michael Gross has fled Greenwich Village, selling his parlor-floor apartment at 69 Washington Place. According to city records, hip-hop D.J. Mark Ronson paid $1.8 million for the six-room place.
Mr. Gross wrote last October’s 740 Park, a lip-smacking 562-page biography of the Upper East Side’s supreme co-op.
“I was infected with this urge to live in a gracious, beautifully designed, fabulous building with an amazing staff,” said Mr. Gross. “And a doorman!”
Tragically, Mr. Gross could not snatch a co-op at 740. He said he’s moving to the 1910 terra-cotta fortress Alwyn Court—at 180 West 58th Street, below Central Park South.
“Precisely the kind of neighborhood that the Village used to be,” chimed Mr. Gross. “Creative people, no entitlement, no rage, no stroller Nazis.” Really? “It’s a neighborhood of people who create and give, instead of the people who just suck the life out of the world.”
Mr. Gross believes the life has been sucked out of the Village. He wrote on his Web site: “[T]here are still hipsters, punks and freaks on the streets, but they go to NYU and their parents pay $45,000-plus a year for the privilege.”
He declined to discuss the buyer, but said he was thrilled that someone who belonged in the genuine Village had bought his apartment.
Yet as these things go, Mr. Ronson happens to have attended New York University. Afterward, the D.J. became something of a local white-boy hip-hop legend, befriending Jay-Z while manning the turntables at high-society parties.
What does Mr. Ronson think about his new neighborhood? “Obviously, the Village is amazing …. It’s not Central Park, but it’s definitely the closest I’ll be to a park at my median income.”
The best part of Mr. Ronson’s new place is the living room. It has 10-foot windows, plus a wood-burning fireplace with the original black marble mantel. Sadly, the floor-through apartment—built in 1842—only has one bathroom.
(Incidentally, his stepfather is the rocker Mick Jones of Foreigner.)
His seller, Mr. Gross, doesn’t have any regrets about moving uptown. “There’s always the lingering, ‘Gee, maybe we should’ve waited for a Goldman Sachs bonus baby,’” he said. And yet: “We got out when the getting was good.”
Arielle Tepper Produces for Spendalot Buyer
Spamalot producer Arielle Tepper has sold her 11th-floor apartment at 563 Park Avenue to a downstairs neighbor, the tabloid-friendly Wall Streeter Todd Morley.
According to city records, he and his wife paid $3.45 million for the apartment.
A listing from 2002 says the six-room place has two bedrooms and a maid’s room. “Very European apartment has 12-foot ceilings,” the listing reads, “with all original molding respectfully kept intact.”
Mr. Morley’s apartment directly downstairs is the same size. But will his Upper East Side co-op board allow him to combine the places into a 12-room duplex?
“I assume that he cleared that before he bought the apartment,” said Fox Residential founder Barbara Fox, who sold Ms. Tepper the apartment four years before. (There was no need for a broker in last month’s sale, because the deal was between neighbors.)
Real-estate prowess must run in Ms. Tepper’s family: Her grandfather, Philip J. Levin, was a mogul developer and the president of Madison Square Garden.
Ms. Tepper has done well, too: Besides Spamalot, she produced The Pillowman and A Raisin in the Sun and founded the local Summer Play Festival. S.P.F. will have its fourth season this July.
According to sales deeds, Ms. Tepper recently upgraded to the maisonette apartment at 800 Park Avenue. She paid $7.3 million in August 2005, after Spamalot’s first megastar summer on Broadway.
Mr. Morley’s credits are equally gripping. New York papers often refer to his open-house Southampton partying, his Ralph Lauren looks and his work with Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. As Ms. Ferguson’s financial advisor, he is reportedly raising $5 million for her merchandising and children’s-television projects.
But earlier this week, a London tabloid dejectedly reported that Mr. Morley, a founding partner of Guggenheim Capital, hadn’t been seen with Ms. Ferguson since she publicly denied an affair with him. Maybe he’s satisfied at home—where he has three children and the bright potential for a bright new duplex.
Neither he nor Ms. Tepper returned calls to their offices.
Fizzbow Traitor! Giglio Buys Trump, Using Corcoran
In 1997, Damon Giglio founded the immense real-estate Web site For Sale By Owner, the country’s biggest commission-free real-estate bazaar, which connects buyers and sellers without brokers.
But this year, the profiteer in chief of the “Fizzbow” movement used one of the Big, Bad Brokerages to buy a $2 million apartment in the Trump World Tower.
(For those of you who have trouble telling their Trump buildings apart, that’s the brownish-looking megalith near the United Nations.)
Doing a deal through Birgit Kotler at the Corcoran Group to buy at Trump wasn’t much of a dilemma for him.
“She’s an older woman, but she’s a real sweetheart,” said Mr. Giglio. “If I was going to work with a broker, it had to be someone like that.”
But another dilemma presented itself when he sold his Web site this May to the Tribune Company for an undisclosed sum: Should Mr. Giglio buy the Trump pad, or a brand-new waterside house in Southampton?
On the one hand, the Trump tower is one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.
On the other, Mr. Giglio had Peter Cook, the infamous Christie Brinkley ex, lined up to design a house for him on the land he was coveting in the Shinnecock Hills.
So he compromised by getting a $2 million one-bedroom Trump apartment. It’s 1,493 square feet.
“Originally, I was buying a much larger apartment,” he said. “I thought: ‘Let me just get a smaller place, and I’ll buy this beautiful land in Southampton.’”
So he got the bayside plot in Southampton, too.
It’s his second in the Shinnecock Hills area. And now his old Hills house is listed for $4.7 million on ForSaleByOwner.com.
“If I can sell this,” he said, “then I can build.”
So Mr. Cook is either working on the old house or the new one.
“He’s possibly redesigning, or building from scratch,” Mr. Giglio said.
But the new place in the city will keep him busy for a while.
“The views are just unbelievable,” he said. “You walk in and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, this is amazing!’”
Plus: “If you want a massage at 9 at night, you jump in an elevator and, boom, you’re out like a light.”