Prim Manhattan real estate brokers tend to lack kind words for one another’s listings, but as word spread around town over the past week that Madonna had looked at 152 East 81st Street—which, according to today’s Post, she’s actually buying—the meanness was unparalleled.
In interviews with The Observer, three top brokers, including one at Sotheby’s International Realty, the firm that had the listing, described the mansion as horribly located and atrociously overpriced. “It’s one of the worst blocks in creation,” one said, referring to the un-chic strip of 81st Street between Lexington and Third avenues. “It might as well be on the moon in terms of a great townhouse location.”
The house itself, despite its width, is modest: “The woodwork is kind of ugly inside… It’s more informal and it’s not pretentious or overdone. Someone with a very good interior designer–it’s very tired, it’s almost in practically originally condition–could actually do some really good things with it.”
In fact, according to one of those brokers, Brown Harris Stevens’ Wendy Maitland, who has long been associated with Madonna, discouraged the star from visiting the house. “She told her how ugly the block was, and Madonna didn’t really pay attention to what she was saying.” (Ms. Maitland did not return emails.)
Despite its 57-foot width, the mansion is actually two houses put together, those brokers all pointed out. On the other hand, the 26-room, 14-bathroom, 13-bedroom, nine-fireplace, four-story townhouse can’t be all that bad: There’s a two-car garage, a 38-foot-wide drawing room overlooking a 3,000-square-foot garden and a formal dining room off the garden terrace, two kitchens, three pantries, two libraries, a dry bar, and a basement “wine cellar/grotto.”
Still, it’s not quite as majestic as the Harkness Mansion on East 75th Street and Central Park. According to one agent, Madonna also recently visited that 113-year-old, $49.95 million, 50-foot-wide limestone townhouse.