"Do you have any beer?"
"St. Paulie’s and St. Paulie’s Non-Alcoholic."
"Mostly liquor tonight then?"
The 19-story, 47-unit condo at 111 Central Park North, just west of Malcolm X Boulevard, launched itself on Thursday night to a crowd drenched in fine wine, carefully poured martinis, Manhattans presented at the penthouse elevator’s door and aged Scotch served from behind a makeshift bar so skillfully makeshift a plush leather couch was the divider between bartender and the quaffing.
Van Halen’s “Jump” played just after 7 before the crowd had thickened. Black-clad waiters sliced through with caviar, slabs of mignon on chips and mini-hamburgers. Mostly, the party grew around the wet bars spread amongst one of the two penthouses in 111 CPN (be the first on your block to learn to roll it off your tongue).
"It went for $2,134 a foot," said Louis Dubin of the penthouse’s sale price; he’s the founder, CEO and president of the condo’s developer The Athena Group. (That’s roughly $900 north of the average for Manhattan condos in general, according to Radar Logic Inc.)
He spoke to the crowd, swelled now, during an elongated toast to the condo’s nearly $90 million in sales and to its being 80 percent sold and 50 percent closed, according to Mr. Dubin, who wore a wide purple tie against a light blue shirt beneath a white-striped, dark gray suit. He started the evening trapped gleefully in the lobby doing photos with pretty much everyone who walked through 111 CPN’s glass doors—which open onto 110th Street, the former moniker for that top stretch of Central Park.
Upstairs from Mr. Dubin the party sauntered along amid muted monitors throughout playing Woody Allen’s Manhattan and, later, a color version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn all done up aggressively, nervously, for a New York that used to be.
Now, it’s one not changed by people but instead by buildings like 111 CPN.
"They’re all coming up here," said Steven, a young man in a sharp suit and perfect short hair who identified himself as "in construction."
Next to him stood Steve, an attorney from New Orleans with long shaggy hair who spoke in a deliciously slow drawl and who talked about his work with "maybe one developer up here."
"This is the boys’ room!," declared a bald man with glasses in a room impossibly, beautifully, tricked out in dark colors and video games. Two games allowed players to sit and simulate a lap around an Indy-like race track, complete with jerky steering wheel. Through the boys’ room’s windows beyond the Triiborough Bridge twinkled. A guru from Intel, which wired the penthouse, said three miles of TV, stereo and Internet cable ran hidden beneath its white and green walls.
The master bedroom offered free caricature drawings and toward one of the entrances to the terrace partiers had a pick of cigars.
The two- and the three-bedrooms have set sales records for the area, according to an understandably ebullient Mr. Dubin. Neither of the two penthouses sold for above $12 million, according to a spokesperson—rumors had swirled for months that one had, breaking another Uptown sales record.
The Zeckendorf brothers’ Fifteen Central Park West—visible a couple of miles away from the many terraces of the penthouse—had sold nearly $2 billion before it opened to owners, a sales pace record for American apartment buildings.
For 111 CPN, the records, however numerous they may likely become—it’s the only condo high-rise on the park’s northern ridge—are immaterial. "The park’s one thing," said one besuited attendee. "111th Street [sic] that’s something else."
Will it be enough for a New York City defining itself against real estate’s progress? Or is it just the start of the world’s most famous urban park welcoming a fourth and final moon to its enriching orbit?
Mr. Dubin finished his toast shortly after 8. The music boomed back. The first full song out of the lull was an old Rolling Stones number: "I Can’t Get No Satisfaction."
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