While the mayor has been busy locking down as many new initiatives as possible in his final months in office—a $20 billion waterfront rebuilding plan here, a stair-building push there—he has not been neglecting things on the home front.
The New York Times reports that Bloomberg has been busy spiffing up his townhouse on East 79th Street, a project that will span some of the last few months of his term. Presumably, the mayor wants to make sure that he has a decent place to putter around after leaving office. He may have many other manses—the townhouse in London, the estate in the Hamptons, his vacation homes in Colorado and Bermuda—but re-gilding his Manhattan home base is clearly a top priority.
As far as makeovers go, the townhouse’s touch-up appears to be largely practical, rather than aesthetic: refurbishing and weatherproofing the facade, fixing up the rear part of the roof and a revamp of the heating and cooling systems (the mayor is committed to his chilled air, after all—who could forget the time that he hooked up a room air conditioning unit to his SUV?). However, the structural work—estimated to cost $1.4 million, according to The Times—may well be complemented by an interior facelift, as documents filed with the Department of Buildings would be unlikely to include non-structural, cosmetic changes to interior spaces. Described as “Louis XIV on acid,” the mayor’s interior decorating preferences are said to run towards the rich and richer: a foyer paved with rare Egyptian marble, $1 million Chippendale couches and antique snooker tables.
Bloomberg has done extensive interior work on the 12,500-square-foot mansion before, knocking down walls and expanding into the property next door. Which is, perhaps, unsurprising given how keen the mayor has been to leave his mark on the city and as one of his first tasks after being elected, kicked off a renovation of Gracie Mansion, where he has famously refused to live. (His declarations that mayors should sleep on their own dime has incensed more than a few mayoral hopefuls who do not have as many dimes as Bloomberg and would enjoy living in the East River mansion.) He also hastened to recreate a Bloomberg News-style bullpen in City Hall. He is not, in other words, the kind of man who will tolerate the last tenant’s wallpaper in the living room.
One thing we can surmise, however, is that one area of the house will not be undergoing a renovation: the elevator. As the mayor recently bragged, unlike some lazy mansion-dwellers, he always takes the stairs, even when he’s going up all the way up to his enormous home’s fifth floor.