“The only thing I ever wanted was a loft in New York City,” said Chris Meloni, who plays both sides of the thin blue line on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and HBO’s Oz , in an interview in In Style magazine in December 2001. “We’ve been here five years, and I still think it’s perfect,” he said of his family’s Thompson Street loft.
But back then, his daughter, Sophia Eva Pietra, was less than a year old. Now she’s almost 2, so Mr. Meloni and his family-he’s married to film production designer Sherman Williams-are settling into something with more of a family feel (by New York standards, anyway).
Mr. Meloni and Ms. Williams have purchased a $2.1 million penthouse condo on Riverside Drive, near 95th Street.
But Mr. Meloni, 41, who plays the straight-laced detective Elliot Stabler on Law & Order and the pathological murderer Chris Kelly on Oz , didn’t leave his fans without an idea of his next step. He told In Style that he wanted his next home to be on the top floor, so he wouldn’t “have to hear the neighbors’ footfalls.” And Ms. Williams told the magazine that they were also holding out for a place with a terrace.
“Whenever we walk down the street, [Chris is] always looking at buildings and trying to figure out the size and whether there’s outdoor space and the year it was built,” said Ms. Williams.
Their new place meets both requirements. Not only is the 1,975-square-foot apartment a penthouse, but it has a 2,000-square-foot terrace (as well as three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, city and river views, and a formal dining room).
“They seemed to like it right off the bat,” said the apartment’s exclusive agent, Nevada Munro of Gala West Realty. “I think the views [were the selling point].”
Actress Carol Kane, perhaps best known to New Yorkers as the actress who played comedian Andy Kaufman’s wife on Taxi , should have no trouble hailing cabs outside her new perch: She’s purchased a small one-bedroom condo in a ritzy prewar building on Central Park West.
Ms. Kane, the petite and frizzy-haired star of over 80 films and TV shows over the last four decades, can now recapture her Annie Hall days by looking out the windows of her new apartment, which give her a nice-and distinct-panorama of the city.
“What I like about [the apartment] is the Woody Allen view of Manhattan and a little outdoor space for my dogs,” she told The Observer .
Her building seems a fitting place for an actress: It was built on the site of a former opera house, and features Art Deco stylings on the brick façade and a dramatic interior courtyard that keep the little rooms on the courtyard side from feeling claustrophobic, while the bedroom and living room let in the drama of those high-floor park views.
Fans of Mr. Allen’s movies would understand why Ms. Kane is wont to romanticize Mr. Allen’s vision of New York: She played his first wife in Annie Hall . She also won two Emmys for her work in Taxi in 1982 and 1983-but if you’re under 21, you might recall Ms. Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present in Scrooged , or as Grandma Addams in Addams Family Values .
upper west side
29 West 74th Street
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $799,000. Selling $799,000.
Maintenance: $1,352; 50 percent tax-deductible
Time on the market: 10 days.
BEFORE AND AFTER When most new apartment owners renovate an aging wreck into dapper digs, they have only their friends and family to ooh and ahh over the transformation. But the new owner of this co-op is getting a lot more exposure than that. The Home and Garden Television channel filmed “before and after” shots of the apartment’s face lift, and the segment will air some time in the fall. In fact, the TV shoot drew so much attention to the renovation that friends of neighbors have already expressed interest in buying the place. The apartment’s new owner, Vivianna Guzman, had done a major renovation on her old apartment before selling it, and was looking for an estate-condition apartment to begin the process again. After blowing through nearly 80 possibilities, Ms. Guzman-the chief financial officer of a large corporation-leapt at this floor-through co-op with approximately 1,400 square feet and a 480-square-foot set-back terrace. Its owner, an elderly costume designer, hadn’t lived in the apartment for a long time-and it showed. Musty, four-decade-old costumes lay strewn about the rooms; most of the wallpaper was peeling and cracked; and the sink and bathtub were both ringed with rust. “You couldn’t stay in the apartment for 15 or 20 minutes without feeling that you needed to take a bath,” said Ms. Guzman’s broker, Edward Joseph, a townhouse apartment specialist at Coldwell, Banker, Hunt, Kennedy. In other words, it was just what Ms. Guzman was looking for, and she snatched it up for the asking price. But a few weeks later-just three days before the start of renovations-Mr. Joseph got a call from HGTV. Apparently, a producer from the station had seen the apartment listing on the Coldwell, Banker Web site, and she thought it would be perfect for their upcoming show on New York renovations. “This was all coincidental,” said Mr. Joseph. “It’s weird how these things work.” After giving the camera crew a tour of her new home, Ms. Guzman spent $250,000 over the next three and a half months on the domestic makeover. It included glass-pane doors to catch the sun, Italian tiles for the bathroom, and polished brass and white alabaster lighting fixtures. The process gave her “a little headache,” she said. “You have to supervise the contractors twice a day, but the result is very rewarding.” When the camera crew came back, Ms. Guzman proudly displayed her new home, but she also began giving serious thought to selling the place. “It would be bittersweet indeed,” Ms. Guzman said. “But the carrot to do it would be the opportunity to do another renovation” on a new apartment. And the extra publicity can’t hurt her chances of selling, either.
upper east side
151 East 61st Street
Six-bedroom, six-bathroom townhouse.
Asking: $5.2 million. Selling: $5.2 million.
Time on the market: one day.
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU MELLONS For the advertising executive who used to live here, this was the easiest marketing job of his life. “It wasn’t even on the market,” said the previous owner, Dick Rich. “They approached me, so we looked around at our current needs and said, ‘We’ll do it.'” As a founding partner of Wells, Rich, Greene and, later, Dick Rich Inc., Mr. Rich was responsible for Wendy’s “Thick and Juicy” ads, in addition to several Benson & Hedges campaigns. He sold his home of 32 years to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropic organization that makes grants in education, the arts, conservation, the environment and public affairs. The foundation already owns five townhouses in a row on East 62nd Street, and it bought this four-story building on 61st Street to expand its operations. “We’re going to be using it [to heal] our growing pains,” said Glenda Burkhart, the foundation’s vice president for operations and planning. “It’s gotten to a point where we can’t find any more space to put people.” Mr. Rich, his wife and their two dogs have moved uptown to a smaller townhouse, while the Mellon Foundation is coming up with a plan connect the gardens of the townhouse on 61st Street with the neighboring gardens of some of its 62nd Street townhouses.
101 Berkeley Place
Three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom condo.
Asking: $799,000. Selling: $820,000.
Charges: $514; taxes: $92.
Time on the market: six weeks.
MODEL BEHAVIOR A model who regularly flaunts high-end fashions and luxe accessories in the glossies bought this Park Slope condo last year, but she was out of town on shoots so much that she decided to let even this Brooklyn outpost in New York go. Of course, even when she was in New York, she could never count on being home when prospective buyers wanted to come through. Normally, that’s optimal: Buyers don’t like feeling like they’re prospecting your medicine chest or designer wardrobe when they check out the accommodations. The problem was the good-cop/bad-cop entourage she left behind to guard the place: a cute Jack Russell terrier and that most misunderstood of mutts, a pit bull. “The dog never attacked anyone,” said the broker, William Spiros, a vice president at the Corcoran Group. “It’s just that he was so damn menacing.” The broker and the model contemplated locking up the pit bull until she returned home from work in the evenings, but Mr. Spiros-a confessed animal lover-couldn’t bear the thought of keeping the dog locked up while the Jack Russell roamed free all day. But this little bit of charity didn’t improve the pit bull’s regard for Mr. Spiros, who regularly brought strangers through its master’s domain, and working out the personal differences between the two proved gnarly: The model would leave the dog in the kennel but, “after the showing, I would open the kennel door and slowly back out of the apartment holding the obedience spray. Then I would leave the spray at the door so I could pick it up when I came back again.” The arrangement eventually worked out, however, and the 1,840-square-foot duplex apartment-two floors of a five-story townhouse-ultimately went to an attorney, who bought the place to live in with her daughter.