The co-op board at River House, once sufficiently exclusive to reject applications from Diane Keaton and Gloria Vanderbilt, has lately relaxed its standards in effort to attract more buyers amid an increasingly condo-friendly high-end market. (It also recently listed the River Club on the market as an ultra-luxe, standalone mansion.) In fact, things are so laid back these days that the gatekeepers at 435 East 52nd Street did not even look askance at Uma Thurman‘s application, despite the actress’s starring role in Lars Von Trier’s forthcoming Nymphomaniac, a two-part film oft-described as pornographic, and which features Ms. Thurman in—ahem—compromising positions.
Fortunately for the actress—and for any red-blooded male in residence at River House—Mr. Von Trier’s erotic epic remains in post-production, the chatter at whisper level, and Ms. Thurman has passed muster with the board. For the price of $10 million, she has become the proud new owner of a four-bedroom unit on the sixth floor, according to city records. (The sale was first reported in The Post.)
Though that purchase price cannot, in most circles, be described as “small potatoes,” it nonetheless represents a $300,000 drop from the co-op’s most recent listing, and a comedown of some $9 million from its ask in 2010. In the intervening years, the novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford, OBE (that’s “Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire,” for those of you playing along at home), and her filmmaker husband Robert Bradford, the previous owners, listed their apartment with Sotheby’s, Stribling, Douglas Elliman, and finally, again with Sotheby’s, where Serena Boardman and Eva J. Mohr handled the sale (if anyone could move a stagnant River House listing, it would be Ms. Boardman).
The Bradfords are apparently looking to downsize and have been browsing properties on Park Avenue, according to The Post, to whom they gave a very un-River House interview in October—perhaps the place really is turning over a new leaf? (In 2011, BBC described Ms. Bradford, whose 1979 debut A Woman of Substance has sold tens of millions of copies since publication, as “one of the richest women in Britain,” which perhaps goes some way toward explaining her willingness to slash prices and her apparent eagerness to find a broker who could get her place sold.)
The Bradfords’ reign saw the co-op decorated in fashions befitting owners with chivalric rank and questionable taste—wall-to-wall carpets with bright plaid and star-print patterns, molding filigreed in gold paint, locket-style oil portraiture—but the space itself, unsurprisingly, is deeply enviable. East River views and abundant sunlight complement three—yes, three—maid’s rooms, spacious entertaining and dining spaces, as well as a butler’s pantry (whatever that is) and a discrete bar. Wood-burning fireplaces and a library contribute both coziness and class.
Ms. Thurman’s new pad much better suits a mother of three young children than the apparently-dissolute Mrs. H. she portrays in Mr. Von Trier’s new film. But then again, this will be far from the first time that the actress has taken on a role that would make bringing her work home with her inadvisable.