Of Real Estate and Politics
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).
New York City superbroker Dolly Lenz not only lost the backing of one of the city’s most powerful brokerages when she decided to go it alone, but also some of her star-studded listings. Former NFL coach and insanely popular video game franchise namesake John Madden‘s co-op at the Dakota, was just sold, according to city records—but the broker was Elliman’s Katherine Gauthier, not Ms. Lenz, who once had the listing.
The two-bedroom, 2.5-bath residence has been on the market for two and a half years, with an initial ask of $4.9 million, later dropped to $4.4 million. It eventually sold for $3.9 million, with the sale closing during the middle of the August doldrums.
Are the days of airing the Dakota’s dirty laundry finally nearing an end? Hedge fund manager Alphonse Fletcher Jr.’s lawsuit against the board of the fabled Upper West Side co-op still stands, but he and the lawsuit are standing all by themselves.
The two law firms representing Mr. Fletcher have been allowed to withdraw from the case, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing unpaid bills and irreconcilable differences—the culprits that seem to end every once-happy relationship.
Let's Not Make a Deal
Penthouse A/B at 129 West 20th Street appears to be a place where nearly anyone would want to live. Flicking through the multitude of listing photos from the many brokerages and brokers who have tried to sell the 4,500-square foot Chelsea loft, one sees an apartment that seems to embody the dream of downtown luxury living: five bedrooms, four mosaic-tiled baths and two expansive terraces pinwheeling off the home’s showy heart: a sun-flooded double-height living room/dining room with 22-foot-high ceilings, two wood-burning fireplaces and an open staircase of wood and steel. The only problem is that it’s a dream no one wants to buy.
The home, which made its market debut at $8 million in April 2006, in the midst of massive renovation intended to set buyers’ hearts aflutter, has lingered there ever since. A handful of renters have come and gone, but none have wanted to sign the deed. Not for $8.5 million (the highest ask), not for $6.45 million (the lowest and most recent ask) and not for anything in between. It’s now listed for rent at $25,000 a month.
When The Observer visited 129 West 20th Street on a recent afternoon, we found an apartment that was many of the things it has claimed to be over the years: “glamorous, dramatic and refined,” just as the first Corcoran listing had promised, as well as “cinematic in scale and scope” like the Prudential Douglas Elliman listing bragged a few years later. (It had, in fact, starred alongside Keira Knightly and Eva Mendes in Last Night and Mariah Carey in an AT&T commercial.)
In a city of luxurious apartments and coveted addresses, there are a few that rise above the rest. A fabulous apartment with a 100-foot stretch of windows facing Central Park, seven working fireplaces and two balconies might do the trick. Especially if it happens to be in the famed and fabled Dakota.
Hotel legend Ian Schrager announced yesterday that his newly-formed PUBLIC brand will be teaming up with residential developers Durst Fetner Residential to launch a new hotel/rental apartment hybrid on 855 Sixth Avenue. Called PUBLIC New York, the 250-plus key New York hotel will be Mr. Schrager’s second site in his PUBLIC brand since unveiling PUBLIC Chicago in September. The building will also feature 60,000 square feet of retail and 315 rental apartments. Fresh from a recent trip to Chicago, Mr. Schrager spoke with The Commercial Observer yesterday about the design of PUBLIC New York, the status of the Clock Tower building, and his love for all things Apple and Trader Joe’s.
It has not been a great week for the Dakota.
The famous Central Park West co-op where John Lennon was murdered became embroiled in a lawsuit earlier this week accusing the Dakota’s board of discrimination against some of its residents, particularly former board chair Alphonse Fletcher Jr., who brought the suit in part because he Read More
Imagine all the people, living life in peace… well, not at the Dakota.
A city-shattering lawsuit has been filed by Wall Street tycoon Alphonse Fletcher Jr. alleging that the board of the storied Central Park West co-op has a grave history of discriminating against not only applicants but owners like Fletcher, who has Read More
Thirty years ago, John Lennon was gunned down outside his Central Park West home, so it stands to reason the Dakota would have decent security.
Apparently not, as Yoko Ono bumped into a Korean tourist who had snuck into the building to snap pictures on the roof. (It is pretty picturesque Read More