Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market

West Midtown

HALLE BERRY HAGGLES HER WAY INTO A MIDTOWN AERIE. Halle Berry, one of People magazine’s “Most Beautiful People,” recently bought a two-bedroom duplex apartment high up in City Spire, the 69-story apartment and office tower at 150 West 56th Street, at Sixth Avenue. Ms. Berry, 31, a former Miss Ohio, paid $720,000 for the 1,433-square-foot condo. It’s about time Ms. Berry, who got her big break starring as a crack addict in Jungle Fever (1991), had her skyline, river and park views, and of course the place has extra closets. She also owns a $1.6 million house in Hollywood Hills. Ms. Berry has played a range of roles, from a secretary in The Flintstones to the lead in the ABC miniseries The Wedding in February, to a Revlon ad girl, to the wife of Cleveland Indians outfielder David Justice, whom she contentiously divorced last June. She’ll appear in the Warner Brothers film Why Do Fools Fall in Love? with Larenz Tate and Vivica Fox in October. Now she and her two Maltese pooches, Petey and Bumper, are moving into architect Helmut Jahn’s haute-1980’s postmodern tower. She talked ’em down, too: The place had been on the market for $750,000. Common charges are $750, and taxes are $707. Her publicist did not return calls by press time.

Upper East Side

East 72nd Street and York Avenue

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,250-square-foot postwar condo.

Asking: $645,000. Selling: $635,000.

Charges: $1,050. Taxes: $450.

Time on the market: two months.

THE NEW YORK DIGS ARE ALWAYS THE FIRST TO GO. This corner apartment, on a high floor facing south and east, had been the American foothold of a European couple since the late 80’s. Now they’re a bit older and don’t get around to using it much. That, plus the fact that the market’s so active right now, helped them decide to sell the apartment. “They have a couple of other homes so they probably didn’t need this one,” said broker Curtis Jackson. They’re still considering buying or renting a smaller place in town. The buyers, another couple, will live here full time. Broker: Ikoma Residential (Judy Sato); William B. May Company (Curtis Jackson).

162 East 63rd Street

Six-bed, six-bath, 4,800-square-foot prewar town house.

Asking: $2.9 million. Selling: $2.695 million.

Time on the market: six months.

THESE WALLS SUPPORT ONLY MASTER WORKS. Italian art dealer Piero Corsini, a well-known trafficker in Old Masters, fed the expensive habits of wealthy traditionalist collectors and even such august institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art from this neo-classical town house near Lexington Avenue. It doubled as his New York home and gallery. (He also has a gallery in Monte Carlo.) The first three floors were offices, and there was a suitably impressive art-showing room on the parlor level with cloth-covered walls. The residence was confined to the top two levels, with a big picture window on the fifth floor that faced south over the neighbors, who include Dan Aykroyd (who’s been renting a place across the street) and Jasper Johns (whose 11,000-square-foot, courtyard-equipped house, which used to be owned by Gypsy Rose Lee, could be yours next if you can cough up $7.2 million). The art-spangled walls might have intimidated potential buyers, but the real reason it took a little while to sell Mr. Corsini’s house, according to broker Jed Garfield, was the prospect of renovating the office levels for residential use. Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for something Flemish to hang on your wall, don’t worry, the neighborhood Old Masters shop is still going to be open for business: Mr. Corsini’s galleries are moving to 78th Street. Broker: Leslie J. Garfield & Company (Jed Garfield); Stribling & Associates (Sidney Waud).

Upper West Side

233 West 99th Street

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,500-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $365,000. Selling: $355,000.

Maintenance: $1,410; 33 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: seven weeks.

HONEY, I MOVED THE KIDS NEXT DOOR Broker Susan Nierenberg put a sixth-floor, one-bedroom apartment in this 1934 building near Broadway on the market back in June, only to have several potential deals–with buyers offering only $150,000 or $155,000–fall through. In September, around the time one of the deals collapsed, the one-bedroom apartment next door was put up for sale. The apartment was part of an estate, and the sale was being handled by the building’s management company. Ms. Nierenberg quickly went next door to express her sentiments: “Let’s not eat each other’s lunch,” she said, offering to work together on marketing the two 750-square-foot apartments. Together, they formed a six-room, two-bedroom corner apartment in a neighborhood where a typical six-room went for well over $500,000. “Everybody cooperated: the buyers, the sellers, the building and the city,” reported the broker now that the complicated deal has finally closed. “It’s nice to have everybody win for a change.” The sellers agreed to split the money evenly–$177,500 each. And a change in city law last year allows apartments to be combined without the expense of changing the “certificate of occupancy.” All the buyers–a couple with three boys–have to do is knock a $10,000 door through one wall and gut one kitchen. (It’ll become a laundry room and office.) One of the living rooms will became a 23-foot-long master bedroom. Now there’s a parents’ wing and a children’s wing, said the broker. Before the hole was put through, however, the mother joked that perhaps they shouldn’t combine them and should just leave one apartment for the three boys. Broker: Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy (Susan Nierenberg); Jordan Cooper Inc. (Carol Miller).

159 West 74th Street

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,700-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $649,000. Selling: $605,000.

Maintenance: $772; 45 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: two weeks.

REAR WINDOW ON THE SAN REMO This apartment is in a town house built deep enough so that the back bedrooms have windows facing east and west. They look out over the neighboring gardens on a block mostly of brownstones between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. You can see the towers of the San Remo, a co-op on Central Park West, from one bedroom. “Typically you have two exposures, north and south,” in town house apartments, explained broker Michelle Cadden, who lives in one herself. This apartment, which occupies an entire floor, also has three fireplaces–but only two work–and the building was gut-renovated when it was converted to a co-op in 1972. Since then, no real updating has taken place, Ms. Cadden said. Which means that a carpenter or two will enjoy the view before the new owners really settle in. Broker: Halstead Property Company (Michelle Cadden).

Greenwich Village

39 Barrow Street, near Seventh Avenue South

Four-bed, three-bath, 2,000-square-foot prewar town house.

Asking: $1.2 million. Selling: $1.2 million.

Time on the market: two weeks.

HOUSE STALKER GETS HIS MANOR The buyer of this 1828 property had long admired it. It consists of a four-story town house and a two-story commercial space facing Seventh Avenue South, separated by a courtyard. He lived nearby and would check out the adobe-and-tile Mediterranean-style structure (it was remodeled in the early 1920’s) every once in a while. One day last summer, he noticed that the house looked distinctly, suddenly, unlived-in. His estate-sale senses tingling, he thought that perhaps the owner (who had bought it in 1955) might have died. It would have been easier if they’d just taken Billy Crystal’s advice from When Harry Met Sally about combining the real estate listings with the obituaries because, as it turns out, the buyer-to-be’s intuition was right. He checked out the city’s real estate records to find out who the owners were and then spent three months trying to find a relative to talk to about buying it when, once again, one day he was just walking by and saw that broker Sara Gelbard was holding an open house. “By that time, we had an accepted offer,” said Ms. Gelbard. But after all that, the buyer wasn’t going to be dissuaded. “He said, ‘But I want to buy it,'” the broker remembered. That was about 1 P.M; he was back with a friend who could inspect the house by 6:30 P.M. After the inspection, he made an all-cash offer. He had his lawyer draw up the contract to save time. As for the house, it may not be huge, but “it’s what you dream about when you live in the Village,” said the broker. The 660-square-foot commercial space originally was used as an artist’s studio, and it was attached to the main house. The living area has 16-foot ceilings on the ground floor with arched windows overlooking the courtyard and a mezzanine overlooking it. Broker: Corcoran Group (Sara Gelbard).


The sale of an apartment at 2 Horatio Street reported in the April 13 issue represented, in fact, a record high price for the building. Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market