Way back in a more grubby and innocent era of downtown New York, supermodels didn’t buy many combined-unit East Village apartments. But those days are long gone, so it’s hardly surprising that Gemma Ward, American Vogue’s youngest-ever cover girl, has bought a three-bedroom co-op on East Sixth Street between Second and Third avenues that was originally three units.
According to city records, she paid $1.525 million. Only two and a half years ago, gallingly, an apartment two floors up sold for $290,000.
Indeed, the building hasn’t always been a million-dollar place. “It was one of these East Village tenement things,” said listing broker Karen Donica, the younger half of mother-daughter realty firm Custom Brokers. But a cement backyard was dug up and greened, and now “there are lanterns in the garden and beautiful planting …. People just go down there and have a drink, and read a book.”
After an open house, there was a bidding war for the apartment. Did Ms. Donica tell the seller—a former Web developer for MTV Networks named Bernard Meisler—that one of his potential buyers was 19-year-old Ms. Ward?
“No. I did tell him, let’s say, that she was young, whereas the other [potential buyer] was not young.”
“They were both equally qualified,” the broker said about the bidders. “It didn’t really matter that she was a supermodel.”
Incidentally, this reporter also didn’t know that Ms. Ward was a supermodel before a brief barroom encounter last summer. (There was a conversation about her Australian accent, and then she excused herself: “I’m going to go to the bathroom. O.K.?”) In person, Ms. Ward looks like an archangel from Neptune.