Jason Herndon, a.k.a. Caushun, the hip-hop world’s first openly gay rapper, is moving out of an East 76th Street apartment that his friend, Kimora Lee Simmons, recently purchased and made available to him.
Ms. Simmons, the model turned clothing executive who is married to Def Jam records founder Russell Simmons, bought the apartment in May as an investment property and has never lived there. Shortly after closing, however, she allowed Mr. Herndon to stay there. It is unclear at this point why Mr. Herndon is leaving, but reps for both Ms. Simmons and Mr. Herndon said the pair are still on good terms.
“Kimora and Jason remain very good friends,” said Ms. Simmons’ lawyer, Jack McCue.
Mr. Herndon, a 26-year-old former hair stylist to the stars, has been a personal friend of Ms. Simmons for years. In an April cover story for The New York Times ‘ Arts and Leisure section, the paper said that Mr. Herndon “wants to be hip-hop’s homosexual Jackie Robinson.” He has been in talks with Ms. Simmons to release his debut album on Ms. Simmons’ fledgling record line, Baby Phat records-but that project, like the record line itself, is currently stalled.
The apartment in question is a $735,000 two-bedroom unit at the Impala, a recently constructed high-rise at 404 East 76th Street. Mr. McCue said that Ms. Simmons still hasn’t decided whether to rent out the apartment or perhaps use it as a pied-à-terre ; she and her husband have their main residence all the way in New Jersey.
Telecommunications mogul John W. Kluge is making a major divestment. The 88-year-old chairman of Metromedia International Group Inc., who is one of the richest men in the world, has put his duplex apartment at 953 Fifth Avenue on the market for $10.5 million.
Meanwhile, his daughter, Samantha Kluge, the former style editor at Glamour magazine, has withdrawn her last foothold in New York. In July, Ms. Kluge sold her one-bedroom co-op at 311 East 71st Street for $475,000. The 33-year-old is a full-time resident of the Brentwood section of Los Angeles and has no need of a permanent Manhattan address.
“In the last seven months, she has been here about one day,” said Ms. Kluge’s stepfather, Jonathan Mann, who is also her real-estate agent. “When she comes to New York, it’s just as easy to go to a hotel.”
Ms. Kluge’s father didn’t return calls for comment on his Fifth Avenue sale. However, the octogenarian currently splits most of his time between residences in Palm Beach, Fla., and Charlottesville, Va. Mr. Kluge’s Metromedia company is one of the world’s largest players in the television and cellular-phone business. Fortune magazine this year estimated Mr. Kluge’s net worth at $10.5 billion, putting him 17th on its list of the planet’s wealthiest individuals.
Mr. Kluge purchased the New York apartment for around $7 million in 1999 from art dealer Richard Feigen, who had lived there for the previous 20 years. The three-bedroom, four-bathroom unit takes up the third and fourth floors of 953 Fifth Avenue, a building composed of six duplex units and one triplex. Mr. Kluge’s nine-room apartment has a paneled library, a windowed eat-in kitchen, two staircases and four fireplaces.
Samantha Kluge’s old apartment, while a penthouse unit, is a decidedly more modest perch. The 900-square-foot unit has one bathroom and a large wraparound terrace. According to Mr. Mann, who is married to John Kluge’s ex-wife, Yolanda, Samantha bought the unit in 2001 and did a small amount of cosmetic renovations. She is currently freelancing in the magazine world from the West Coast, having put her fledgling jewelry business on hold.
RECENT TRANSACTIONS IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET
155 East 93rd Street
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $595,000. Selling: $595,000.
Maintenance: $1,226; 30 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: 20 days.
CAPTURING THE FRIEDLANDS For the last 12 years, Rob Friedland has been installing home theater and audio systems for New Yorkers like Harrison Ford, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. But in all that time, Mr. Friedland, the president of Soundsight Technologies, has never done an installation at his own place. Why not? Because he has always been a renter, never an owner. “You never want to sink too much money into a rental because it’s not yours-it’s more of a hotel,” he said. “My own place had a bird’s nest of wires. I couldn’t do it at all because I didn’t want to do it half-assed.” Looking to put down some electrical roots of his own, the 36-year-old Mr. Friedland had been house-hunting on-and-off for the last four years. His search took on new urgency last summer, however, when he got married to an organized type, a conference planner at Ernst and Young. The couple’s hunt ended this spring in Carnegie Hill with a 1,200-square-foot apartment with hardwood floors, high ceilings and prewar details. They closed in April, and already the apartment has built-in wall speakers in both bedrooms and stereo speakers in the bathrooms; a 50-inch plasma-screen TV is on the way. “He’s been waiting his whole life for this [installation],” said Mr. Friedland’s wife, Martha. Still, it’s not quite his Shangri-La. “To him, this is an intermediate,” she said. “His goal in life is to have a media room in a house.” So might they be headed to the suburbs? “In about five to seven years, to be exact,” Ms. Friedland continued, sounding quite organized. “Not that we’re on any plan or anything.” Sabrina Kleier Morgenstern, a vice president at Gumley Haft Kleier, represented the Friedlands on the deal.
UPPER WEST SIDE
1 West 67th Street
Two-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $525,000. Selling: $500,000.
Maintenance: $1,177; 46 percent tax-deducible.
Time on the market: six months.
ROBERT’S CUBE About two decades ago, this duplex unit at the famed Hotel des Artistes was home to Irving Howe, the late firebrand social and literary critic. In fact, Howe-who rented at the building while between marriages-was actually just one of a gaggle of prominent artists who have lived in the building since its erection in 1915 as an artists’ studio. The tenant roster has included painter Norman Rockwell, director Mike Nichols, actor Gary Oldman, playwright Noël Coward, writer Fannie Hurst and dancer Isadora Duncan. The latest owner of Howe’s old apartment is himself an artist of sorts: prominent New York architect Robert Marino. “The apartment is kind of like a Rubik’s Cube,” said Mr. Marino. “That’s what appeals to me architecturally about it. It’s compactly put-together and very efficient.” Mr. Marino, whose contemporary-styled residential and commercial projects dot the landscapes of Westchester, Manhattan and the Hamptons, happened upon the apartment after his wife saw an ad in the Sunday New York Times . “It said something like: ‘Needs great vision,'” Mr. Marino remembers his wife saying. Great vision, indeed. The apartment hadn’t been renovated since at least the 1950’s. It had belonged to a retired college professor of medieval history-who had sublet the apartment to Howe. “It needs a tremendous amount of work,” said listing broker Andrea Davis, who shared the listing with fellow Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy broker Scott Claster. That, according to Mr. Marino, explains how he snagged the space for such a price. And as befits his occupation, he’s planning to refurbish just about every square foot of it, from the walls to the floors to the windows. Mr. Marino, who’d been living with his family in a smallish two-bedroom apartment in Chelsea, said that the apartment’s set-up and location is perfect for his 2-year-old twins, Luke and Jake. “It’s kind of like a compact playhouse,” Mr. Marino said. “And the park is right next-door. An 800-acre front yard-you can’t beat that.”
400 East 51st Street
One-bedroom, two-bathroom condo.
Asking $850,000. Selling $850,000.
Charges: $730. Taxes: $716.
Time on the market: one week.
HEN-PICKED NEST A young married couple in their early 30’s-he works in the financial world on Park Avenue-were so happy with their rental unit at Trump World Tower that they decided they wanted to stay put permanently. They couldn’t buy the one they were renting, however, because another party had already contracted to buy it. So they turned to Corcoran Group vice president Dennis Mangone, who lives in the building, and asked him if any units similar to their rental were available for purchase. He told them they were out of luck and offered to walk them a few blocks over to the Grand Beekman, a recently constructed condominium on 51st Street. There, the couple did find a unit in their price range: One found it charming, the other lacking. “The husband said, ‘I don’t like it, but my wife likes it, so I guess we’ll have to go back and see it again,'” Mr. Mangone said. And in an $850,000 indulgence of the “Yes, dear” school of marital relations, the couple paid the asking price on the first and only apartment of their house hunt.