In 2012, Thompson Dean, a co-managing partner of the private equity firm Avista Capital Partners, was offered a price on a Roy Lichtenstein painting that a Gagosian Gallery staffer characterized as so low as to be “cruel and offensive” to the seller. Mr. Dean took the deal, paying $2 million for Girl in Mirror, another version of which had recently sold for more than twice that amount. Now, it seems, the financier has applied his savings to real estate, paying $16.5 million for a condo at 525 Park Avenue that the sellers, David and Connie Littman, bought last year for just $13.85 million.
For those of you at home wondering about this year’s record-setter in the niche category of most-expensive, non-penthouse, Upper East Side condominium contract, good news—barring circumstances unforeseen—is close on the horizon. Sources tell The Observer that a 19th floor combination at 737 Park Avenue, which was last listed as a sponsor unit with Macklowe Properties for $26 million, has entered contract at $25 million. If all goes well, the apartment should also take the title in the same category for year’s priciest sale; the deal is slated to close before January 1st.
In each issue of NYO, The Observer’s new real estate and lifestyle supplement, we will spotlight a different neighborhood. And what better neighborhood to start with than the venerable, diverse, complicated, constantly evolving Upper East Side, where The Observer was born and first trained its sights. The Upper East Side encompasses a large swath of Manhattan—stretching Read More
The Eight-Day Week
Back in 2007 and 2008, buying at 823 Park Avenue seemed like the gold-standard of real estate investments. The newly-converted luxury condo on Park Avenue was a rare commodity in one of the city’s most rarefied neighborhoods. How could an investment in one of its sprawling floor-throughs go wrong?
But in the years since, resales at the building have failed to fetch more than the first wave of owners paid.
Best Laid Plans
One of New York’s most welcome and low-key holiday traditions arrives today with the 68th annual lighting of Park Avenue’s fir trees, a tradition that began just after World War II. Not for Upper East Siders the hullaballoo of the Rockefeller Center tree-lighting, with its celebrities and vertiginous height; the manageably petite Park Avenue firs Read More
Best Laid Plans
In this week’s Observer, we take a look at two proposals to widen the Park Avenue median and turn it into a pedestrian promenade. One is from SHoP Architects, one SOM, both presented at last month’s MAS Summit. Part High Line, part art walk, the hope is it would create an entirely new destination on the East Side of Manhattan, providing much needed open space along the way. Take a stroll for yourself and decide.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
“Nobody on Park Avenue walks,” Michael Shvo said last month, standing near the back of the Drill Hall inside the Park Avenue Armory.
The Fund for Park Avenue was hosting a private cocktail reception to honor donors to its annual holiday tree-lighting drive, a signature project that dates back to 1949.
Mr. Shvo, the 40-year-old retired real estate glitz guru, was among the few dozen guests at the reception. Wearing a white dress shirt with black top-stitching unbuttoned past his clavicle, he was talking about a recent art transaction with a fellow developer when The Observer interrupted them to ask about the future of Park Avenue. Maybe there was room on it for a pedestrian pathway down the middle, so we could all enjoy the malls?
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.
Brace yourself for traffic jams and honking horns, the event of the summer that infuriates New York City drivers the most is back with a vengeance. Summer Streets begin this Saturday and while bridge and tunnel commuters across the city are throwing up their hands in frustration, DOT commissioner Sadik-Kahn tells pedestrians, don’t forget to try the zip line!
The residents of Carnegie Hill are not particularly experienced in protest techniques—they are more likely to walk through throngs of the demonstrators than to walk among them. But a new Toll Brothers development on Park Avenue has inspired angry Upper East Siders to take up the picket.
In a vertical city like New York, simple signs on sticks do not do much good, so neighbors have resorted to a more high-flying technique for their “visual protest” this morning, unfurling homemade banners from one of their buildings that read “Save Our History.”
“We’re all rookies at this, not professional protesters,” said Lucinda Ballard, who lives in 1112 Park Avenue, right next to the two pre-Civil War townhouses that the Philadelphia-based Toll Brothers is almost certainly planning to replace with a tower, but has thus far refused to confirm.