The Times columnist, Princeton professor, recent Nobel winner, and all-around ceaselessly smart economist Paul Krugman has a nice new co-op. According to a deed filed in city records Wednesday, Mr. Krugman and his wife, economist and yoga teacher Robin Wells, spent $1.7 million on a three-bedroom Riverside Drive apartment earlier this month.
“We really wanted a place that has the ultimate New York luxury, which is a washer and dryer,” Mr. Krugman said Wednesday afternoon.
Even though the couple bought their place at a big discount–it was listed early last year for $2,495,000, which became $2,199,000 and then $1,850,000–it’s slightly odd that Mr. Krugman, whose cynicism about the American housing market is not a secret, would want to buy something now. “Yes, I do expect New York prices might fall some more,” he offered, “but we need a place. And I came into some money.” He chuckled awkwardly, because he was referring to his Nobel, which comes with about $1.4 million. “We have financial resources that we didn’t have before.”
The couple’s seller happens to be former Times reporter and correspondent Joseph B. Treaster–which is a coincidence. “Never met,” Mr. Krugman said, but offered that Frank Rich is in the co-op’s sister building. Then he paused, gasping about something that the kooky Niall Ferguson wrote (“President Barack Obama reminds me of Felix the Cat… Felix was not only black. He was also very, very lucky”), then went back to the new apartment. Unlike in his old place in the neighborhood–which is about to be sold, though the couple won’t be making any money on it–this has a spare bedroom he can write in: “We’re planning on having a desk, and a Murphy bed, to make it a little more spacious for when it’s serving as an office.”
On the downside, Ms. Wells said the apartment needs to be seriously refurbished. She’s already spent $250 on a Polson light fixture. “We like Danish modern,” she explained. “We’re kind of, you know, moderate, kind of a step up from Crate and Barrel. The only thing I’m probably splurging on a little bit is upholstery fabric. I think I’ll be getting some actual Swedish fabric. But the sofa I’m covering I found on eBay; it’s one of these beautiful 1960s pieces.” That Swedish fabric, she said, is “truly expensive stuff. Oh, yeah. They’re like the Germans. Everything is perfect.”