The New Math? Schools Chief Klein and the Missus Add Up 12 Rooms on Park Avenue

New York is a city of poshly-housed public servants.

The mayor owns two mansions in the East 70’s; the governor goes rent-free in a terraced Fifth Avenue apartment (it’s owned by his dad); development chief Robert Lieber has a new $7.25 million condo at Trump International; and even Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is in the Beresford.

Now Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has bonus space on Park Avenue. He and his wife Nicole Seligman, a Sony executive vice president (and an ex-lawyer for both Oliver North and Bill Clinton) have paid $1.7 million for their second apartment at 95-year-old 565 Park Avenue.

“When you walk in the lobby,” a longtime resident once told The New York Times, “it smells like old money.” The bouquet won’t be new to Mr. Klein: City records show he bought a seven-room apartment in 2002 one floor up from his new one; that old apartment had been listed for $3.5 million.

If he combines the two co-ops into a duplex, the man who oversees 1.1 million schoolchildren will have himself a nice sprawl. According to listings, the apartments add up to 12 rooms: two fireplaces; two dining rooms, one “formal” and the other “intimate,” with its own archway; a wood-paneled library and a study; one stone kitchen; and one stainless steel kitchen.

The couple’s new master bedroom has unobstructed views over the 104-year-old Colony Club across the street on Park Avenue, a building the AIA Guide to New York City calls a “prissy neo-Georgian town palace.” (Don’t tease Mr. Klein’s wife about the prissy neighborhood: Lt. Col. North once said, “Nobody messes with Nicole Seligman.”)

Her husband grew up in the outer boroughs, but when he took office in 2002, Mr. Klein turned down the keys to a $2.4 million Brooklyn Heights brownstone the city had bought for schools chancellors. Maybe it lacked that moneyed odor?

A spokesperson said Mr. Klein “gracefully declined” to comment, and his wife didn’t return calls to her office.