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.)
In years past, diplomats, movie stars and the crème de la crème of New York society clamored for entry into River House—the art deco co-op on the East River so elite, so elevated, so refined that it famously prohibited the use of its name in all advertising materials. It admitted only the staidest and most moneyed of applicants, snubbing movie stars and the young socialites alike, among them Diane Keaton and Gloria Vanderbilt.
But in the years since the snootiest of all co-ops first opened its closely-guarded gates, society has changed. There was World War II, and then all the hippies and feminists and radical activists of the 1960s and 70s, the yuppie splendor of the 1980s, the rise of the internet and these days, a real estate market swayed by the whims of Russian billionaires. Along the way, River House lost its place at the pinnacle of New York society. The closing prices of its well-appointed apartments lag tens of millions of dollars behind other top tier co-ops, Beekman and Sutton places have declined in prominence and the social register is now a quaint anachronism, like women wearing hats and gloves when they leave the house.