David Shaffer Guts Downing Street Home In a Real Big Hurry

HUSBAND OF ANNA WINTOUR FALLS HEAD OVER HEELS WITH NEW HOUSE On Nov. 15, David Shaffer, the estranged husband of

HUSBAND OF ANNA WINTOUR FALLS HEAD OVER HEELS WITH NEW HOUSE On Nov. 15, David Shaffer, the estranged husband of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, paid $1.7 million for a four-story Greek revival town house at 19 Downing Street, between Bedford Street and Sixth Avenue, which he plans to move into within the next two months. Since 1992, Dr. Shaffer, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, has lived in a town house at 172 Sullivan Street with Ms. Wintour, from whom he separated last fall after 15 years of marriage.

After touring a half-dozen other properties, Dr. Shaffer was the first prospective buyer to see 19 Downing Street, a red brick house that had belonged to the late painter Anne Parker Wigglesworth and her husband, composer Frank Wigglesworth, since the 1950’s. Dr. Shaffer never met Ms. Wigglesworth, but he owns a couple of her paintings.

“It’s one of the last West Village Bohemian houses,” said Leslie Mason of Douglas Elliman, who represented Dr. Shaffer. “He walked in and completely understood it,” she said.

The town house was built in the 1880’s. There’s a photography darkroom in the cellar and a painter’s studio on the second floor. There are three outdoor spaces: an 11-by-20-foot enclosed garden on the first floor, an 11-by-20-foot terrace on the second floor and a roof deck with another garden. When Dr. Shaffer bought it, it was subdivided into three apartments, each with a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom; there were also five wood-burning fireplaces and a study.

“Probably one of the nicest things about the existing structure is the natural light and the way it filters in through the back,” said Carl Finer, a partner at Elterman Finer Architects, whom Dr. Shaffer hired to create one home with four bedrooms, a guest room and an office.

This is about the fifth Manhattan town house that Dr. Shaffer has bought and renovated. “I’m completely redoing it. I hope it’s going to be a great house,” he told The Observer . He’s anxious to get in “as soon as they’re finished plastering the walls.” Mr. Finer said he began work in the first week of January, and it should be completed by April.

Mr. Finer also worked with Dr. Shaffer in renovating a town house at 45 Macdougal Street, where Dr. Shaffer and Ms. Wintour lived before moving to 172 Sullivan. “He likes to design in the space; he’s not good at looking at drawings. He likes to be in the space and wave his hands around,” said Mr. Finer. And Dr. Shaffer is constantly on the Internet finding new products and e-mailing his ideas to his architect. “He doesn’t want anything to look new. The more layers of paint the better–it’s almost like we’re trying to build old. Every time I think I’ve figured him out, he throws another angle. After I learned to work with that, it was easy and a pleasure to work with him. He keeps me on my toes.”

The one major piece of furniture that Dr. Shaffer is bringing with him is a large dining room table, which will be featured prominently on the ground floor. “It’s his real place, where he does a lot of work,” said Mr. Finer. “This table seems to be very special to him.”

The annual real estate taxes are $11,724, and Dr. Shaffer’s new neighbors include Sean Lennon, James Murdoch and a block full of fresh, new restaurants.


200 East 89th Street

One-bed, one-bath, 775-square-foot condo.

Asking: $359,000. Selling: $380,000.

Charges: $485. Taxes: $375.

Time on the market: one day.

SURVIVAL OF THE RICHEST At the first cattle-call showing of this 39th-floor apartment, which lasted less than two hours, the first people to walk through the door took one good look around, then came scurrying up to the broker with an offer. Not so fast. Shortly after, another visitor made a higher offer. In the auction-style proceedings that followed, the adage “First come, first served” proved true–at least when the first to come is willing to offer the most cash. The apartment has panoramic views, hardwood floors, a marble bathroom and a kitchen that opens to the living room. The building, at the corner of Third Avenue, offers a health club, a pool, a parking garage and a doorman and concierge. Broker: A.J. Clarke Real Estate (Susan Wasserberger).

205 East 69th Street

One-bed, one-bath, 850-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $359,000. Selling: $350,000.

Charges: $886; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: two months.

AD GUY SWOONS OVER ART DECO PAD For months, an advertising executive roamed around the city in search of a place to buy. He wanted something with “character” and “charm.” Finally, he came upon this 1928 Art Deco building between Second and Third avenues. The building has character and plenty of charm to spare. The apartment was in his price range. It has beamed ceilings, parquet floors, moldings and a wood-burning fireplace. And downstairs there is a doorman, a workout room, a laundry and storage rooms. The seller got married and fled to the suburbs. Broker: Douglas Elliman (Kenny Shusterman), Corcoran Group (Patricia Palermo).


146 West 57th Street (Metropolitan Tower)

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,490-square-foot condo.

Asking: $795,000. Selling: $770,000.

Charges: $1,427. Taxes: $800.

Time on the market: three months.

JUST A LITTLE SOMETHING FROM YOUR MOTHER AND ME Next to Carnegie Hall and the Russian Tea Room, this contemporary luxury building offers a pool, a parking garage, a roof observation deck, a private dining club, a doorman and a concierge. The seller is moving to a one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea. His 37th-floor, 1,490-square-foot apartment has Central Park views, floor-to-ceiling windows, a built-in entertainment center and bookcases, a bar and custom-designed closets. Multiple offers were made on this place, but it sold to a European couple who wanted it for their daughter. Broker: Corcoran Group (Linda Stillwell).


438 West 44th Street

Four-story town house.

Asking: $1.495 million. Selling: $1.275 million.

Time on the market: eight months.

THIS HOUSE COMES WITH AN S.A.G. CARD If you want a quick glimpse inside this 19th-century town house next door to the Actors Studio on Restaurant Row, go see Isn’t She Great , starring Bette Midler as Jacqueline Susann. A doctor who lived there for many years and had an office on the ground floor has sold the place to an English woman. Though she is now living in Spain, the new owner plans to do a gut renovation and convert the place into a single-family home for herself. Broker: William B. May Real Estate (Midge LaGuardia).


425 Park Avenue South

One-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,000-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $359,000. Selling: $350,000.

Charges: $1,129; 60 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one month.

CLUB MURRAY HILL “It feels like you’re on vacation,” said a broker of lounging on the roof deck of this former office building near 29th Street, which has four apartments per floor. This 10th-floor corner apartment has 11-foot-high ceilings, a big kitchen and huge closets. The sellers have been living in Hong Kong and renting out their apartment. The buyer is an Ecuadorean architect coming to work and live here, but with no green card and no Social Security number as of yet. Although she speaks fluent English, her entire board application package had to be translated from Spanish. Nonetheless, she passed with, as they say, flying colors. She plans to completely redesign her new apartment. Broker: Corcoran Group (Jane Cibener).


69 West Ninth Street

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,150-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $569,000. Selling: $560,000.

Charges: $1,306; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: two weeks.

BANKER ORDERS GOURMET APARTMENT It didn’t take long to sell this 12th-floor apartment. Could its location–directly above Balducci’s–have had anything to do with it? The seller had lived here for just two years before deciding to abandon the mad pace of Manhattan for Vermont: She bought a big house for half the price of this place, which she sold to a single woman, an investment banker, for $560,000. The banker had been looking for months at apartments on the Upper West Side when her broker showed her this place, which had everything she wanted–two bathrooms, views and a logical layout. She’s bleaching the floors and installing a new kitchen with additional cabinets before she moves downtown. Broker: Corcoran Group (Marc Goodman, Brian Rice, Linda Gorby).

759 Greenwich Street

8,400-square-foot, six-story loft building.

Asking: $2.995 million. Selling: $2.7 million.

Time on the market: Less than one year.

HOGGING ALL THE LOFTS This six-story little loft building doesn’t have any bedrooms or bathrooms yet. But the buisnessman who just purchased it from another businessman plans to move his family down from the Upper East Side and take over the entire place. The 21-foot-wide building on Greenwich Street between West 11th and Bank streets started out as an apartment building before it was purchased by William Daugherty, an investment broker. “About two years ago, the seller put in about $1 million of mechanical infrastructure and got approvals for north and south windows on the top two floors,” said Stephen Levine of Massey Knakal Realty Services, the broker of the deal. Mr. Daugherty then moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., and decided to sell the building. The new owner is considering renting out the ground floor to a business, but otherwise will make it into a large family home–converting the second and third floors into bedrooms, and the other floors into living space. The broker said that the top two floors have 360-degree views of the city and the Hudson River.


735 East Ninth Street

One-bed, one-bath, 3,800-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $749,000. Selling: $720,000.

Charges: $1,500; 20 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: six months.

EVEN THE CAST OF RENT WOULDN’T HAVE LIVED HERE A YEAR AGO A few years ago, a stroll down this block might offer a glimpse of an actual dead person, perhaps by overdose, a building occupied by squatters and vacant lots. So no wonder this 3,800-square-foot apartment in a former furniture factory took six months to sell. Potential buyers came and went, frightened by the desolate feel of the street. Once, during an open house, a body was carted off to Bellevue Hospital from a building down the street. But the spooky stuff is in the past now. The squatters were yanked out by the cops, buildings are being renovated, and the empty lots are being built on. There are also trendy restaurants popping up all over the neighborhood. The sellers of this sunny second-floor loft are artists; they’ve lived here for 15 years. They bought a fabulous old stone house upstate about three years ago; now that their young daughter is attending school, they want to live there full-time. The buyers, now renting in Greenwich Village, will move into their new home in about six months, after extensive construction. They’ll be adding bedrooms and bathrooms, and will renovate the kitchen. Broker: Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy (Debbie Gimelson). David Shaffer Guts Downing Street Home In a Real Big Hurry