Grand Dames of Real Estate
In the world of Manhattan co-ops, River House is the dowager queen: beautiful, powerful and regal, but not as beautiful, powerful or regal as she once was. For years, she has clung to her hidebound traditions—her exclusive club within a club, her distaste for all but the most financially-secure and publicity-averse residents, her refusal to let the building’s esteemed name be mentioned in conjunction with a sales listing—even, or perhaps especially, as her grip on the wealthiest, most influential sliver of Manhattan residents has slipped.
But now the Has Been, as this salmon-colored paper once crowned her, is finally making an attempt to reclaim the throne, Manhattan real estate chronicler Michael Gross reports. Mr. Gross, who recently penned an article in Avenue about the grand dame and her underpriced units, noted that one of River House’s apartments—a 16-room duplex in the tower—just came on the market asking $25 million.
True to form, the listing for a $7.9 million, 14-room apartment at 435 E. 52nd Street never breathes the words “River House.” It’s all “white glove co-op” this and “colossal art deco masterpiece” that.
River House—a co-op so exclusive that it has long forbidden the use of its name in advertisements—has its reputation to protect, after all, a reputation the co-op has carefully maintained by turning away some of the more questionable types that have come knocking on its esteemed doors, among them Gloria Vanderbilt, Diane Keaton and Joan Crawford.
But times change, a heartbreaking phenomenon well-chronicled The Observer, and while River House still has its good name to trade on (much like our favorite tragic heroine Lily Bart), money does not flow to its hallowed halls as it once did.
But then, were things really ever the same after the FDR put an end to mooring one’s yacht in the marina?
This River House co-op has as much charm as you can handle. The dining room has a mural of trees and birds, the living room has a view of the East River and there are wood-burning fireplaces to keep you cozy and warm. This particular owner has chosen to decorate the space with antiques galore, which gives you the full effect of the grandeur of the home. There’s even an old-fashioned sitting parlor with a grandfather clock and a piano.
The apartment has four bedrooms, a terrace, two balconies, a staff room, a laundry room and gym/office space. The listing doesn’t tell us the square footage, but for $15 million we’re guessing it’s enough to keep you and your family happy. Even if the old dame’s seen its better days.
Marty Richards‘ duplex at the River House has 14 rooms, and it seems like The Observer has written as many stories about the home in the decade-plus the famed producer has been trying to sell it. Finally, this reporter might be out of a job, as the home has sold.
Not just in contract, Read More
Yesterday, the Real Estate Desk poked a little fun at this $11 million, 14-room duplex at the “has-been” River House co-op. First off, it is asking a million dollars more than what is reportedly the $10-million record for the building — pre-recession, no less. And who could forget that the unit has changed Read More
Manhattan Transfers Cheat Sheet
– The “kind of pathetic” River House and a team of Sotheby’s brokers is out to prove The Real Estate Desk wrong. Back in March, our own Dana Rubenstein called the building a has-been, but that hasn’t deterred the owners of 4E/5E, a 14-room duplex currently asking $11 million. Sotheby’s Nikki Field and Patricia Wheatley Read More
As the city’s fortunes have changed, so have its neighborhoods. We plot where New York’s A-listers now live, and profile two buildings at the center of the shift.
Superior Ink: The Up-and-Comer >
River House: The Has-Been >
MAP: Who lives where, from the worlds of media, culture, business, and politics >
River House, the co-op so snooty that it makes 15 Central Park West seem like a hippie-dippy Woodstock for the monied classes, is, in a heartening development for those who yearn for a less obnoxious society, declining in prominence.
Consider this. While co-op owners at the 52nd Street and East River apartment house have listed Read More
By the rules of New York real estate, the greatness of any apartment saga is measured by its eccentricity, length and weight. So a furious but short-lived fight over a condo is trumped by a run-of-the-mill but lengthy feud over a co-op, which is trumped by an epically long, cinematically peculiar struggle over a rococo Read More
Location: What was your childhood like?
Ms. Field: Very Middle America; perfect; ideal; Donna Reed … My mother wore the apron; president of the PTA; had a baking day, had a shopping day; Ashtabula, Ohio.
You were a Pan Am flight attendant in the late ’70s, when you married. Where did you meet your Read More