“Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive,” saged conservative society scribe William F. Buckley Jr once said. True as that may be, something about the allure and glamour of Mr. Buckley’s former residence at 778 Park Avenue inspired idealistic expectations from real estate brokers and Mr. Buckley’s Obama-voting son, Christopher, alike prompting them to list the provenanced-maisonette for $24.9 million in June of 2008.
It took two years for the idealistic price to approach reality. The 13-room ground floor unit of the Candela-designed building, where the late Brooke Astor’s apartment upstairs also lingers on the market (price sliced, incidentally, from $46 million to $24.9 million), was relisted after a recession-weary market hiatus, by Brown Harris Stevens mavens Paula del Nunzio and John Burger for $12 million, a discount of over 50%. Now, the Brown Harris Stevens’ listing reveals yet another price cut to a bargain $10 million. Clearly the cost had become prohibitive for potential buyers!
The 5,000 square foot home which boasts its own address, 73 East 73rd Street, is famous for its red library, Mr. Buckley’s office left as is, an 18 foot long marble foyer and the legions of political, intellectual and cultural elites who dined and wined with high-society conservatism’s host Mr. Buckley and wife, Pat.
Something about 778 Park Avenue and provenance seems to equal price cuts, or perhaps it’s simply a case of over-zealous preliminary pricing. The building’s ground floor maisonette, which also boasts its own private, and symmetrical, address–73 East 73rd Street–entertained legions of New York City’s elite as the headquarters for high-society conservatism with the home’s hosts. As Ms. Del Nunzio told The New York Times in March, “This is the place where all those conversations and dinners with statesmen and political figures, not to mention film and television stars, with a quiet family dinner thrown in here and there, happened. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a piece of New York’s intellectual history.”