After a rollercoaster ride on the market that included a 59 percent price-cut, brokerage swaps and the oddest combination of memorial and open-house in the history of Candela-designed co-ops, little regarding the late William F. Buckley Jr.‘s 778 Park Avenue maisonette could raise eyebrows. That is until a Tuesday morning closing sealed Mark and Renee Rockefeller‘s purchase of the opulently decorated duplex, which has its own 73 East 73rd address.
Indeed, the sale of Buckley’s apartment to the son of Nelson Rockefeller Jr. would have launched the circumlocutary conservative’s notorious arched eyebrows almost to his hairline.
The deal thus entwines two of the giants of modern (and, lamentably, moderate) conservatism. Mark Rockefeller is the youngest son of the late vice president and New York governor, while Buckley founded The National Review and hosted the debate show, Firing Line, for decades. Also, both the Buckley and Rockefeller fortunes spouted from crude: Buckley’s father was a Texas oil baron, while Mr. Rockefeller’s great-grandfather famously founded Standard Oil.
The similarities between buyer and seller, however, likely stop there. Born in 1967, Mr. Rockefeller would only know of his father’s 1964 presidential primary defeat by Barry Goldwater through the history books; though he must surely know that his father’s loss can be largely attributed to the man whose vermillion library and chartreuse leopard-print upholstered chairs he will soon inhabit. Indeed, it was Buckley’s ardent and public support of Goldwater that sealed Nelson Rockefeller’s fate in the California primary 46 years ago.
Mr. Rockefeller, who runs a corporate sponsorship company, and his wife listed their Carnegie Hill townhouse at 13 East 94th Street last May for $15.5 million with Sotheby’s Serena Boardman. Acording to Streeteasy and sources close to the deal, the townhouse has gone into contract at around $12 million.
Buckley died in February 2008, 10 months after his wife Pat, seated at his desk—not the one in the 73rd Street maisonette meticulously preserved to look as if he stepped out for coffee—but the one in his home in Stamford, Conn.
The legendary apartment, where the Buckleys were known to host a salon of sorts in the 27-by-18-foot dining room, was sold by Christopher Buckley, the author and only child of the Buckleys. Brown Harris Stevens doyenne Paula del Nunzio arranged the deal, and declined to comment for this article.
The last asking price was $10 million. It looks like Mr. Rockefeller has found an answer to his great-grandfather’s famous lament: “The only question with wealth is what do you do with it.”