Fifth Avenue Flip

In 1999, Frank Newman, chairman of Bankers Trust Corp., was essentially forced out of his job when his company was acquired by Deutsche Bank. When the deal was completed, Mr. Newman received $55 million in severance pay plus $11 million every year until 2003.

Three years later, according to brokers, he has been offered almost $13.7 million for his “absolutely gorgeous” 14-room apartment, which occupies the fourth floor of 927 Fifth Avenue. Mr. Newman bought the apartment for $9.7 million in 1998 and put it on the market a year ago. Brokers say that a buyer has offered to pay close to the asking price, and that Mr. Newman is waiting for a signed contract. Mr. Newman’s broker, Kathy Sloane of Brown Harris Stevens, would not confirm or deny the deal.

According to the Brown Harris Stevens Web site, the apartment occupies the piano nobile -“the floor of the nobility”-of the neo–Italian Renaissance apartment house and has the highest ceilings in the building. The public rooms, many of which overlook Central Park, are ballroom-sized, with fireplaces and large picture windows. According to the site, these rooms, with intricate gold leafing throughout, have been freshly restored, but have never been altered since the building, near 74th Street, was built in 1917 by Warren & Wetmore, the main architects of Grand Central Terminal. There are also five bedrooms, four and a half baths and a gym in the apartment.

Kenneth Cole and his wife, Maria Cuomo Cole, have a 6,200-square-foot place on the third floor of the building. Real-estate developer Richard Cohen, who serves as the head of the co-op board, lives on the eighth floor with his wife, CNN anchor Paula Zahn. And Mary Tyler Moore and her husband, cardiologist Robert Levine, have been living in a 13-room apartment in the building since they left the San Remo in 1987.

George Stephanopoulos Hawks Honeymoon Nest

In five years, George Stephanopoulos went from working behind the scenes as a Clinton adviser to working in front of the camera as an ABC News analyst and occasional Good Morning America co-host. But in just the last year, he’s gone from bachelor to husband to expectant father-choosing a $2.4 million new pad last August, marrying actress Alexandra Wentworth on Nov. 20 (a few months after meeting her), and now expecting his first child in September.

As a result, according to brokers, the new apartment has to go.

Mr. Stephanopoulos made an offer to buy a three-bedroom, full-floor condo on 19th Street near Third Avenue last August for $2.4 million. He signed a contract on the place in November. He married Ms. Wentworth on Nov. 20. He officially bought the apartment in January. And he put the place back on the market, for $2.7 million, on April 15.

The condominium building used to be two separate brownstones. After they were combined, the floors were merged into huge apartments like Mr. Stephanopoulos’ third-floor, 2,500-square-foot space, which also has a 250-square-foot terrace. In the living room, ochre walls with white-painted moldings and a row of windows with gold curtains frame a traditional room-with built-in bookshelves, of course. An open kitchen with a casual, slightly countrified dining set leads out onto the terrace.

The next chapter of the couple’s real-estate story isn’t clear: Ms. Wentworth’s four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath Mediterranean-style Sunset Strip home, with a pool, a spa and a guest house, has been on the market for $1.75 million since late September, when she told reporters the place was “too big to be a pied-à-terre .” Wendy Greenbaum of Ashforth Warburg Associates, who is selling the Gramercy apartment, said the couple is apartment-hunting now, and that they “love” their new neighborhood.

Of course, now that Ms. Wentworth is working for the competition-as a correspondent on CNN’s a.m. news show, American Morning -the couple may need extra-private home offices.


360 Riverside Drive Two-bed, one-bath, 1,100-square-foot co-op. Asking: $665,000. Selling: $645,000. Maintenance: $845.42; 48 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: two and a half months.

LANDING A LOVE NEST Petra Scholder, a broker with Benjamin James, met a young engaged couple eight months ago, when they showed up at an open house she was holding down on West 12th Street. A few weeks later, they called to say they were interested in taking the place. Ms. Scholder told them they were too late-but she offered to take them looking for something else. It turned out that their dream apartment-a sunny two-bedroom in the West Village for under $650,000-was a fantasy. But the couple was intent on moving: They already had a buyer lined up for their apartment on Bedford Street. Not surprisingly, in no time Ms. Scholder was escorting them around the upper Upper West Side. In one marathon day they looked at 10 places, including this two-bedroom apartment, near 108th Street, designed by the seller, an architect. A price was agreed upon-but just before the contract went out, the buyer of the couple’s old apartment pulled out of the deal. “She was just in tears,” said Ms. Scholder of her client. This being the post-9/11 market, the seller offered to wait for the almost-newlyweds. Next fiasco: the wedding.


164 West 79th Street Two-bed, two-and-a-half-bath, 1,600-square-foot co-op. Asking: $1.049 million. Selling: $970,000. Maintenance: $1,382; 45 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: three months.

THE TWO FAST LADIES OF CO-OPS Two women in their early 40’s who love the Upper West Side wanted nothing more than a nice apartment near a Jewish Center. And no one seemed as qualified to find one: The two had been playing the real-estate market for four years when they decided their apartment on Central Park West was a little smaller and darker than they’d have liked. They sold it and bought a small one-bedroom apartment on West 77th Street, but continued looking for something more ideal. Two years later, they sold that place during the peak of the market and bought a West 65th Street one-bedroom-also just to tide them over. “They were waiting to strike for about a year,” said their broker, Brian Rice of the Corcoran Group. At last, this fall, they saw a softening in the market and went in for the kill. Their target? This apartment near Amsterdam Avenue, with good light, a classic six-room layout and a location right near a synagogue, Rodeph Shalom. The asking price had already been dropped from $1.195 million to $1.049 million, but these ladies got it down to $970,000. Karesse Grenier and Thomas Fitzpatrick, both of the Corcoran Group, also worked on this deal.


610 Park Avenue Three-bed, three-bath, 2,207-square-foot condo. Asking: $4.295 million. Selling: $4.25 million. Charges: $1,832. Taxes: $2,059. Time on the market: three months.

DAVID CHASE ALMOST LIVED HERE The owners of this apartment on the corner of 65th Street weren’t completely convinced that they wanted to get rid of the place, so after relocating to a bigger apartment in the neighborhood, they put it on the market for sale and for rent, and waited to see what would happen. Enter David Chase, creator of The Sopranos , looking to rent it. Even the doormen started getting excited about having Mr. Chase in the building after he checked it out a few times. Though the apartment was in great condition, overlooked Park Avenue and had a fireplace (not to mention its convenient location above Daniel), Mr. Chase decided not to take it. When things calmed down, a buyer came along and convinced the owners to let the place go for just a little under the asking price. Let’s hope it’s as easy for the buyer, who put the place back on the market less than a week later. Michelle Kleier, president of Gumley Haft Kleier, represented the sellers in this deal.


105 West 13th Street Two-bed, two-bath, 950-square-foot co-op. Asking: $579,000. Selling: $550,000. Maintenance: $1,100; 54 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: six months.

NOTHING LIKE THE M.T.A. TO WAKE UP TO EVERY MORNING After having lived in New York for several years, a couple who work in the television industry decided to pack their things and head for sunny California. It seems they weren’t the only people with that idea, because when they put this place on the market last fall, there wasn’t a buyer to be found. Finally, around February, there were several offers circulating, and the place was snagged by a lawyer. Lucky for the deserters-oops, the sellers-the deal closed before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that it would soon begin a 39-month construction project to put grates in the sidewalk right outside the building. Andrew Darwin of Insignia Douglas Elliman represented the sellers.

Fifth Avenue Flip