Barbra Takes a Bath

With greatest-hits collections and antiques, Barbra Streisand usually comes out on the winning end of a deal. But not in

With greatest-hits collections and antiques, Barbra Streisand usually comes out on the winning end of a deal. But not in real estate. In April, Ms. Streisand signed a contract to sell her 8,000-square-foot duplex penthouse at the Ardsley, 320 Central Park West. Sources say a contract for around $4 million was signed in early March, and that the buyer, a single woman, will be meeting the co-op board in the next month.

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But no one is promising anything. Ms. Streisand’s penthouse has become known as the apartment that just wouldn’t sell. In the many years it’s been on the market, Ms. Streisand has had a string of people signing contracts for the place at a wide range of prices, but still has never been able to unload it. The closest she ever came, said a source familiar with the deal, was over a decade ago, when a magazine editor agreed to pay $2.7 million for the place and miraculously made it past the board. But, recalled the broker, Ms. Streisand had not yet purchased another apartment and convinced the editor to cancel the deal.

Since then, however, the co-op board has rejected several potential buyers-most memorably singer Mariah Carey, who offered to pay $8 million for the duplex and the apartment below it in 1999. “I don’t know whether they don’t like her or what,” said one broker. “But after a while, it starts to seem personal.”

Brokers also say that, despite the fact that the apartment is 4,100 square feet, has 1,750 square feet of outdoor space and multiple working fireplaces, “it has a lot of things to overcome.” One broker who has shown it several times said, “First of all, it’s a back apartment, so there is no view. It’s also in original condition, and it has a problem with leaks.”

Ms. Streisand’s apartment has been represented by several brokers over the years, but the listing currently belongs to Carrie Chiang of the Corcoran Group, whose Web site now reflects the apartment’s new status as being under contract. The penthouse was last on the market for $4.75 million-quite a drop from the $10 million the place was once asking. If it seems surprising that Ms. Streisand would accept around $4 million, well, it shouldn’t. Less than a year ago, it was reported that Ms. Streisand, fed up with the apartment predicament, was considering donating it to charity.

Goldman Guy Next in Line For Ted Ammon’s Co-op

For the fourth time since it came on the market in the fall of 2000, slain financier Ted Ammon’s apartment at 1125 Fifth Avenue has a buyer.

Sources familiar with the deal say that a Goldman Sachs partner who has been looking for an apartment for several years has agreed to pay $10 million for the four-bedroom co-op.

Brokers say that the previous buyer, Richard Schaps, chief executive of billboard firm Van Wagner Communications-who had also offered $10 million-was recently rejected by the co-op board for “unspecified reasons.” Mr. Schaps is the third applicant to be rejected by the board, which Ammon had filed suit against before he was found dead in his Hamptons home last October.

Brokers said that should the board continue to reject applicants, the price tag would only go up, as it’s still relatively low for a full-floor, 5,500-square-foot, 10th-floor residence near East 92nd Street.


2109 Broadway (the Ansonia) Three-bed, two-bath, 2,300-square-foot condo. Asking: $1.45 million. Selling: $1.395 million. Charges: $1,320. Taxes: $121. Time on the market: two months.

CHOREOGRAPHER PULLS OFF BIG MOVE Where else should a City Opera choreographer live but at the Ansonia? At least that’s what former City Opera soprano Joanna Simon thought when an old colleague called her looking for a new home. And apparently, Ansonia apartments are not that hard to come by-they’re just harder to afford. Ms. Simon, now a broker with the Fox Residential Group, took the choreographer to look at a three-bedroom apartment in the fabled building, near 77th Street; it had just been renovated and has huge windows with balconies off them. The choreographer was able to see it all coming together marvelously and forked over the dough.


165 East 72nd Street Three-bed, three-bath, 1,600-square foot co-op. Asking: $1.15 million. Selling: $1.1 million. Maintenance: $2,096; 44 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: Two months.

SO LONG, NEIGHBOR; HELLO, THREE BEDROOMS If some folks want to ship out to the Hamptons permanently, well, that just leaves more room for the rest of us. Take the couple in their 40’s who had grown claustrophobic in their apartment a few floors below this one and found their prayers answered when this place went on the market after the owners fled to the East End. “Everybody who lives here says they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” said Norma Hirsch, a broker at Insignia Douglas Elliman, of the residents of this postwar co-op building on the corner of Third Avenue, which has a gym, a garage and a doorman. But the stroke of luck didn’t stop the buyers from negotiating with the newly anti-city sellers; they got $50,000 knocked off of the asking price.


2 Horatio Street One-bed, one-bath, 800-square-foot co-op. Asking: $435,000. Selling: $438,000. Maintenance: $935.51; 52 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: three days.

90 NEW YORKERS FOR EVERY ONE-BEDROOM Anthony Miller, a broker at Bellmarc Realty, knew that this quiet one-bedroom apartment with a courtyard exposure near Hudson Street was slightly underpriced when he put it on the market for $435,000 in the beginning of January. But his seller needed a quick sale, and the market had been slow. He figured the low price would speed things up. He had no idea just how much. “There were 90 people at our first open house,” he said. “I didn’t know whether to cry or be happy or call the police.” It got all the more chaotic when the doorman demanded that Mr. Miller personally escort each potential buyer from the lobby. “So back and forth I went … at one point, there were 37 people backed up in the lobby,” he said. A successful architect who’d shown up early decided he’d like to buy the place. He thought there might be competition, so when he called that night, he made an offer slightly over the asking price. Turns out he had it figured perfectly: He just got the keys.


53 Montgomery Place Three-bed, two-bath, 1,400-square-foot co-op. Asking: $629,000. Selling: $629,000. Maintenance: $740; 50 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: one week.

WILLY LOMAN AT THE DOOR! Earlier this year, a couple of successful Manhattan attorneys living in Brooklyn decided to hightail it to sunny California. When they put this three-bedroom apartment dripping with prewar detail (tin ceilings, ornate decorative fireplace, stained-glass windows, etc.) on the market for $629,000, an insurance salesman came knocking at their door. This being one of the nicest blocks in Park Slope, their visitor wasn’t selling anything-he wanted to buy the place as a new home for his wife, a teacher, and their two daughters. According to Patricia Neinast of the Corcoran Group, who brokered the sale, “They were moving from a very comparable apartment on Prospect Park West.” But the girls had friends in the neighborhood, plus the apartment comes with a rear garden and a painting studio for Mom in the basement-a poster for home insurance.


Last October, Sean Holl- ingsworth, a stage producer, and Donald Robinson, an accountant, thought they had sealed a deal to buy a house at 59 West 119th Street. The pair had found two tenants to rent out part of the house and were planning their holiday-slash-housewarming party for December when they got the bad news: Their seller had signed a contract with another buyer, and the other buyer now had the keys. Their security deposit was returned to them, but their dream house was lost.

Filled with guilt, their broker, Glenn Rice of Willie Kathryn Suggs Real Estate Inc., “took them around everywhere” looking for a replacement house.

Mr. Rice said many Harlem buyers-and there has been a stampede of them-are intent on staying in West Side neighborhoods like Mount Morris Park, near Lenox Avenue and Central Park North, and Morningside Heights and Hamilton Heights, near and north of Columbia University. But this couple had only one sticking point: “I really wanted mahogany moldings, and most of the stuff we saw was oak,” explained Mr. Robinson.

Earlier this month, they ended up buying an 18-foot-wide townhouse at 29 East 126th Street for a little over $460,000. “I really liked the configuration,” said Mr. Robinson.

The building has its share of problems, but this time the buyers are aware of them. “The ground floor was being used as a restaurant at one time,” explained Mr. Rice. “To have a little club or restaurant going on where it shouldn’t be … is kind of a Harlem thing.”

What’s more, the building is still listed with the Department of Finance as a “single-room-occupancy hotel,” or boardinghouse-something that will take a little money and a lot of paperwork to fix.

But the sense of history about this place got the couple interested. “The [front] doors are 10 feet tall,” said Mr. Rice. “The ceiling height on the parlor floor is 13 feet; there are mirrors … and enormous mahogany details throughout the house: moldings, pocket shutters.”

Plans are for the couple to occupy the two floors attached to a garden, with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large kitchen and a separate dining room.

In the end, they’re happier starting over-their would-be home on the West Side was already renovated-even if it means spending a few weeks sleeping in Mr. Robinson’s office.

“We’ll get exactly what we wanted now,” he said.

Barbra Takes a Bath