Among the gushy house tours featured in the December issue of Architectural Digest is an eight-page spread entitled, “On Top of the World in New York.” The home in question is an “11,000-square-foot penthouse duplex,” characterized as being “fit for a king.” The article does not name the king, but coyly describes the owner of the oversize apartment as “the iconic corporate raider of our time.”
According to a source close to financier Carl Icahn, that choice of words fingers him as the apartment’s owner-iconic sounds a lot like Icahn, get it? And Mr. Icahn finds the play on words “a little annoying” since he is the owner, and the magazine had agreed not to name him in their piece, according to another source. Since the piece hit newsstands on Nov. 18, he has been royally pissed and raving about the magazine violating that agreement, the source said.
Before he agreed to the shoot, Mr. Icahn signed a confidentiality agreement with Architectural Digest -a standard formula contract among shelter magazines for wealthy homeowners who want praise and attention heaped on their 27-room penthouse or landmark fixer-upper, but not their names in print. The magazine settles for biographical information alluding to the owner’s identity and multiple-home-owning wherewithal. But in Mr. Icahn’s case, a single word has led him to believe the magazine went too far.
“They weren’t supposed to put his name in,” said someone in Mr. Icahn’s confidence.
In fact, it didn’t take long for readers to figure out that the “icon” was in fact Carl Icahn, and the apartment his newly integrated, two-apartment home atop Museum Tower, at 15 West 53rd Street. The Daily News ‘ Rush & Molloy reported this much on Dec. 4. But equally upsetting to the litigious financier, according to a source, was the magazine’s reference to his assistant-turned-girlfriend Gail Golden as his “female companion.”
Mr. Icahn would not comment on the article. Architectural Digest did not return calls seeking comment.
Meanwhile, the apartment-half of which was bought in 1986 for $3.45 million as a pied-à-terre , the other in 1994 for $3.24 million-was treated with typical fetishism by AD. The copy flattered its floors, tiled with “the same limestone that I.M. Pei used for the new wing of the Louvre,” the English antique furniture, the “salmon, celadon and beige carpet in the living room [that is] perhaps the single most important Savonnerie in New York” and, of course, the “end-all power view” of the AT&T, Sony, Chrysler, General Electric and Citicorp buildings.
A journalist at a rival interior-design stroke book said of celebrities who let photographers into their bedrooms, “I can’t believe they’re doing this as a favor to their interior designers. I think they think it’s just cooler not to say they live there.”