Recent U.S. Senate candidate K.T. McFarland’s 13-room duplex at 770 Park Avenue, a source of droll tabloid scandal during her campaign, has gone to contract. The apartment was listed by Brown Harris Stevens in January for $20 million, then cut to $18,400,000 earlier this month.
According to the brokerage Web site, where the listing says “CONTRACT SIGNED,” the apartment has four bedrooms, three with “a sun-flooded eastern exposure over Park Avenue.” All bedrooms are upstairs, in the “private” domain of the duplex.
The “public” domain downstairs, which has a 30-foot-long living room, is decorous, too: “Dentil or acanthus moldings [are] distinctive to each of the public rooms,” says the listing (a chintzy way of pointing out the apartment’s lust-worthy Rosario Candela–designed details).
Kathleen Troia (K.T.) McFarland unwittingly heaved her apartment into the spotlight last year while running for the Republican Senate nod. According to the New York Post, she complained that Hillary Clinton’s campaign had rented an apartment across Park Avenue to photograph and spy into the duplex.
She later said she’d been joking.
But who wouldn’t want to look in? The apartment that belongs to Ms. McFarland and her I-banker husband, Alan Roberts, is the kind of place that sports a windowed pantry, two Sub-Zero fridges, a “staff room,” plus a separate servant’s bedroom three floors down. A Senatorial spread, even without a Senator.
Who will move in instead? BHS broker Mary Rutherfurd didn’t return calls asking about the signed contract.
But 770 Park Avenue is the kind of co-op that turns away perfectly respectable potential buyers like Mike Wallace. It also happens to be a Manhattan mecca of Democratic fund-raising.
Former Drug Den Goes for $4.1 M.
One of the unlikeliest townhouses on the Upper East Side, a Lexington Avenue brownstone that descended from a film-auteur habitat into an alleged drug den, has been sold in a highly unlikely deal.
According to city records, Corcoran Group senior vice president Thomas Wexler and his wife Julia bought the house at 1380 Lexington—across from the 92nd Street Y—from Rose Zarucki for a bargain $4.1 million. Mr. Wexler knows his wares: He is Corcoran’s director of townhouses.
And he was Ms. Zarucki’s listing broker.
According to the brokerage database ROLEX, they put the house on the market in February 2006 for $5.995 million, which was later cut to $5.75 million and then to $5.4 million. Had the house sold at those price tags, Ms. Zarucki, a Holocaust survivor and philanthropist, would have made a profit from her $5.2 million purchase in December 2002.
But the house had suffered. According to 2005 articles in The New York Sun, police confiscated crack cocaine and dozens of hypodermic needles from the house. Ms. Zarucki’s daughter was arrested with several other lodgers.
“I mean, it’s a great house; it’s got a lot of wonderful history about it—I don’t know how much you know about it,” Mr. Wexler told an Observer reporter. He was referring to past owners like 12 Angry Men director Sidney Lumet, who sold the house in 1992. Augustus and Ruth Goetz, who co-wrote Rhapsody (starring Elizabeth Taylor) came earlier.
Mr. Wexler’s purchase price will be beefed up by the cost of construction on the 122-year-old townhouse. “It needs a crazy amount of work. If you can imagine, I’ll be working on it for two years …. I’m going to preserve as much of the original detail as I can, but it’s basically going to get new everything,” he said.
Once the work is done, it will be the Corcoran townhouse kingpin’s first such dwelling. (His colleague Kerry Martin, another listing broker, did not return a call about the sale.)
The seller’s address is listed on the deed at an Upper East Side apartment. Mr. Wexler wouldn’t comment on Ms. Zarucki except to say, “Rose is a lovely, wonderful woman.”
Producer Moves Up In Rockefeller Apartments For $2.5 Million
Late last month, mega-producer David Kahne bought a duplex penthouse to complement his regal list of rocker clientele. According to city records, he and wife Ava paid $2,501,000 for a 1,450-square-foot condo atop the Rockefeller Apartments at 17 West 54th Street.
That’s an upgrade from the fourth-floor apartment that Mr. Kahne bought there in 1990. But even though his new penthouse has two terraces ogling the MoMA sculpture garden—one balcony is 49 feet long—he won’t be throwing starlit celebrations. “I’m not really much of an entertainer …. It’s just nice to go outside!” Mr. Kahne said.
So the duplex, with a top-floor bedroom, will be quite domestic. “It makes it feel like home to have an extra room that is up some stairs,” he said. “It’s a lot to have a stairway!”
It’s also a lot to live at the Rockefeller, a high-style prewar co-op with enormously sexy 1930’s curves.
Mr. Kahne is producing Paul McCartney’s next LP (to be released through Starbucks, creepily), plus TV starlet Kelly Clarkson’s upcoming third album, and yet the producer won’t listen to anything noisy at the penthouse. “When I’m at home,” he said, “I listen to classical music, but I don’t have any real hi-fi set up.”
That’s because he has his meatpacking-district studio, called See Squared. His penthouse library is going to be less thunderous: “One whole wall will have bookshelves—it will be quiet and muted.”
City records list the seller as the estate of Jane Gordon. According to the listing with broker Rich Marino of R&R Realty, the apartment hasn’t been on the market “in over 30 years.”
So is the penthouse duplex old-womanish? “Yeah, I guess so,” Mr. Kahne said. “But it was very classy. She had a lot of art—really great taste.”
Jazz Sanctuary Sells for $4.7 M.
The octogenarian jazz impresario George Wein, who founded the indispensable Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, has sold the five-floor townhouse that served as his offices for over three decades.
According to city records, Andrew Bares and Alla Kormilitsyna paid $4.7 million for the house, at 311 West 74th Street.
“Dizzy was here all the time,” Mr. Wein told The Observer. “Miles, whenever he needed anything, he came around here. And he had a period of time when he didn’t work and he needed help, and we always helped him.”
At the middle of last century, Mr. Wein helped concoct modern outdoor concerts with the Newport Jazz Festival—where his friends Dizzy (Gillespie) and Miles (Davis) would headline legendary shows. Mr. Wein founded Festival Productions Inc. 15 years later.
In October 1974, according to public records, Mr. Wein and his late wife Joyce paid $100,000 for the townhouse. “We never lived here; we always used it as an office,” he said. “This was a music house.”
Musicians didn’t sleep over, but they were continually present: “You know, they were always looking for advances on contracts!”
The Weins lived around the corner in 33 Riverside Drive for 32 years, according to the promoter, but kept their booze at the townhouse. “I had 4,000 bottles of wine, at one time, in a walk-in chest …. My favorite bottles are my wife’s year of birth: 1928.”
Will he miss the townhouse’s late-20’s vintages and early-50’s jazz? “You learn as you go along in life not to get too attached to everything,” he said. “If I was attached to everything, I’d go crazy, because I’ve done some wonderful things in my life. You just have to move on and try to create new things.”