You Will Meet a Perfect Stranger on Riverside Drive

perfect strangers 0418 You Will Meet a Perfect Stranger on Riverside DriveThough most remember Balki Bartokomous’ “Dance of Joy” from the 1980s sitcom Perfect Strangers, this time it’s lovable Cousin Larry’s turn for a happy jig. The actor who played Larry, Mark Linn-Baker, recently sold his three-bedroom apartment at 17 West 71st Street for $2.85 million, $150,000 more than the asking price. Was there a bidding war between two perfect strangers over the park-adjacent home of Balki’s fictional brethren?

The eight-room apartment was originally listed in February 2008 for $3.55 million by Brown Harris StevensIleen Schoenfeld, who declined to comment citing respectfully that she, “doesn’t ever really speak to reporters.” Whisked off the market pre-crash several months later, the apartment lingered unlisted for a year, until May 2009, when it relaunched more modestly at $2.7 million.

Now, 18 months later, the “sun-filled” co-op with south, north and east views (the listing does not specify views of what, so one may well be a view of a brick wall) has been purchased by David and Jessica Friedman.

Mr. and Ms. Friedman’s new neighbors include New York Times food critic and cookbook author Mark Bittman and wife Kelly Doe, who purchased a ninth-floor unit in 2009 for $999,999.

The deed lists Mr. Baker and his wife, Adrianne Lobel, as the sellers but cites two different Riverside Drive addresses for the pair, who wed in 1995. Ms. Lobel is a theatre set designer and the daughter of Arnold Lobel, acclaimed children’s book author of the Frog and Toad series, which Mr. Linn-Baker adapted into a Tony-nominated Broadway musical in 2003. He played Toad.

It’s fitting that Mr. Linn-Baker is hopping around the Upper West Side: the Yale Drama school graduate’s first turn on screen was a bit part in Woody Allen’s Manhattan, in which he plays the Shakespearean actor Mary Linn-Baker.

cmalle@observer.com