Of Real Estate and Politics
Why exactly the ground-floor Unit #C at 740 Park Avenue came to break off from the duplex just above it to become first a stand-alone two-bedroom apartment, and then a doctor’s office, is something of a mystery. “It was ages ago,” said Judi Lederer of Town Residential, who has been tasked with selling the property, which just hit the market asking $5.85 million. “Nobody knows for sure.”
Michael Gross, author of 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building, told us that #C was originally a segment of one of three triplex maisonettes, all of which were broken up in the 1930s. “Its original owner was Sherbourn Becker,” he said. A Wisconsin native, Becker made his fortune in railroads, shipping and banking, and had a son who lived in a duplex on the 12th and 13th floors. But by September 1940, Mr. Gross said, the ground floors of all three maisonettes had become professional offices.
The political divide that runs down the middle of Central Park, dividing the very blue Upper West Side from the very red Upper East is considered as unyielding and insuperable as the Berlin Wall. During the last presidential election, the top two fundraising zip codes for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were on the Upper West Side (10024) and Upper East Side (10021) respectively, an ideological division that has held fast all these years despite all that is shared between the fabulously wealthy residents who live in the sprawling, pre-war co-ops lining either side of the Park.
However, as the results of the most recent mayor’s race reveal, the political leanings of the East and West sides are not as uniform as they seem at first blush—in fact, during an analysis of The New York Times‘ election district results, The Observer discovered that there are some surprising bastions of conservatism in a few of Central Park West’s most storied buildings (alas, no corresponding pockets of liberalism can be found in the posh precincts that radiate out from Fifth Avenue).
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
If you’re trying to find a building to burglarize in New York, why waste your time on any of the merely rich co-ops surrounding Central Park? Just cut to the chase and go after the wealthiest of them all.
At least, that seems to be the approach taken by the thief (or thieves), who has carried out a series of burglaries at Manhattan’s snootiest address, according to the New York Post. The limestone godhead is home to more billionaires than any other building in New York. (Famously rich rich guys John Thain, Howard Marks, Stephen Schwarzman and David Koch all live there.)
The opening shots of Park Avenue: Money, Power and The American Dream show the famed avenue in all its moneyed glory: idling Mercedes, impeccably coiffed society women and stern limestone facades with white-gloved doormen stationed outside like sentries. It is a vision so lofty that it is almost otherworldly—can the vast majority of Americans even conjure this up as the apex of the American dream, let alone attain it?
It’s a question that director Alex Gibney revisits repeatedly in his documentary about the growing gulf between the rich and poor and how that gulf has been widened by the political manipulations of the country’s wealthiest citizens.
Rejoice all ye house hunters looking in the $50 million and above range!
For a while, it seemed that all hope was lost, what with the disappearance of the Courtney Sale Ross mammoth at 740 Park, the Teddy Forstmann whopper at 2 East 70th Street and the $77.5 million Ritz-Carlton throne. But praise be, there’s a new $50 million co-op apartment on the market.
The owners of a floor-through apartment at the hoity-toity 944 Fifth Avenue (the staff members actually wear white gloves, reports The New York Times, who first wrote about the listing), have listed their six-bedroom apartment. The apartment is located on a high floor above the tree line. The listing doesn’t actually mention which high floor—how discreet!—but a little sleuthing reveals that the apartment is almost certainly on the eleventh floor.
For those in the know—and with Scrooge McDuck quantities of money piled high in their private vaults—Courtney Sale Ross’ apartment at 740 Park has been sitting quietly on the market for the past several years. Abandoning the whispering tactic, the listing for Ms. Sale Ross’ home has hit the open with a resounding boom. It is still seeking the same $60 million it has been since 2008, changing times be damned.
The listing went public yesterday, and the thirty room duplex has our mouths watering. Kathy Sloane of Brown Harris Stevens, the broker representing Ms. Sale Ross, takes full advantage of the building’s pedigree in her listing.
Unreal Estate! The 740 Park spread of alleged Madoff enabler Ezra Merkin. Read More
Not that there are swarms of highly-qualified co-op buyers running around the Upper East Side with money to spend on 32-room duplexes, but, just in case, there’s some good news about one of the heftiest homes in New York City.
After Michael Gross, who literally wrote the book on 740 Park, reported that Read More
Forget the Plaza duplex that Tommy Hilfiger put on the market for $50 million, and the $46.5 million Kress family’s penthouse, and Brooke Astor’s $46 million co-op, and the duplex that zinc magnate Bill Flaherty is listing for $43 million.
A source told The Observer yesterday evening that the Read More
Each absurdly wealthy family is absurdly wealthy in its own way.Take Ira Rennert, who parlayed junk bonds and Hummer uber-vehicles into a slot (#891) on the list of the world’s billionaires, not to mention an oceanic estate in the Hamptons (and, farther away, an equally-sized smelting plant in Peru, and a Read More