Atoosa Rubenstein, who has become something of a girl-power tycoon since leaving her editorship at Seventeen last year, has bought her first downtown spread.
She and her commodities-trading husband, Ari, closed this month on the 3,007-square-foot loft at Altair 18, a new condo on West 18th Street near Fifth Avenue. “If you’re ever walking on 18th Street and you look up and see a lady with two cats—two cats and a laptop—it’s me,” she told The Observer.
City records show they paid $3.05 million directly to the Extell Development Company. That contract was signed way back in February 2006, which explains the relatively low price. “Listen, we made a great deal,” she said. “People have already wanted to buy from us for a lot more.”
Yet Ms. Rubenstein is only on the second floor, a 33-story downgrade from her last apartment in a Trump condo. That high-rise “brought me above it all, and it was very sterile, very out of touch with the places I came from.” (She was born in Tehran.)
“For the first time I can actually see the ground.”
Beyond the couple’s plan to turn the loft’s three bedrooms into two, they don’t have very precise designs. “The thing about this new space in my life is that I’m trying not to plan it like a Type A psychopath,” she said. So, for now, the central décor is a silk-screen of a chandelier and a distressing Bert Stern shot of Marilyn Monroe, topless, from her last sitting.
“Very raw,” she said about the photo, a present from her husband, “that definitely speaks to me.”
On a sprightlier note, the condo’s Italian-imported Rosewood kitchen comes with a built-in coffee system, double wall ovens, a massive Sub-Zero and—somehow—a wine cooler too. It will “shame me into being a better wife and cook for my husband,” said Ms. Rubenstein. Nice.
Even better, there are radiant heated floors throughout the loft, according to marketing materials, plus the master bathroom comes with a Sony flat-screen TV and a “Bain Ultra Thermo Masseur Tub.”
Masseur tubs aside, Ms. Rubenstein is using the apartment to work on her new viral video-based online community, dubbed Alpha Kitty. “It’s going to be a salon; I hope my apartment can be a place that Alpha Kitties, men and women who are interesting in New York, will want to come by, shoot videos together, and just hang out, figure out how to do interesting things together.”
On the other hand, she regrets working too much back in her magazine days. “All attention on my personal life stopped because I was a young 24-hour working person—I was constantly, constantly, constantly in the office, and didn’t pay much attention to my home life, and realized that wasn’t the best course of action. I made some changes in my life last year, and one of the things I wanted to focus on was building a home again.”
Her new home’s high ceilings and massive windows, she said, will come in handy for video shoots. But she’s not sure where her office nook will go: “There’s a lot of space in there, to be honest with you.”
This is her first apartment in the neighborhood, although way back before she became the founding editor of CosmoGIRL!—that was age 26, which made her the youngest-ever magazine chief at Hearst—she interned nearby at a Reader’s Digest rag called American Health.
But now she can afford to buy the Flatiron’s fashionable wares. “‘One day,’” she once thought, “‘one day I’m going to have Kenneth Cole shoes.’ And it’s fun and funny to be back in that neighborhood; it feels nice.”
“I feel really blessed,” she had said earlier about the loft. “I’m hoping that the cats won’t tear it up.”
Meanwhile, city records show her new neighbor Neil Simpkins, a senior managing director at the Blackstone Group, paid $9.25 million for a two-unit loft in the building. The contract was signed on March 21, 2006, a year and a day before the firm’s gargantuan initial public offering was announced.