A wall is not a wall on Beekman Place, that two-block blue-blood stretch over the East River: A wall is a slap in the face; a call to arms; an issue for the State Supreme Court.
That’s where William R. Rupp of the double-wide, 12-room townhouse at 19-21 Beekman Place landed in December 2004, when his next-door neighbor Steven Campus asked a judge to make Rupp take down a massive wall he’d built on top of his house. It covered the windows of Mr. Campus’ penthouse, designed by the Brutalism legend Paul Rudolph, and was perilously anchored to Rudolph’s stucco.
That wasn’t Rupp’s first wall war. The Rudolph house’s previous owner, preservationist Michael Boyd, admitted to The New York Times that his wife had used a hose to spray one of Rupp’s so-called spite walls. He said Rupp then threw dog feces onto their property from the roof; five-gallon drums of tar were involved, too.
But that era is over.
Septuagenarian Rupp died last year after a fall in his townhouse, a broker involved said. (That’s exactly the fate suffered by Tolstoy’s famous hero Ivan Ilyich, whose life had been dull and patrician, “and therefore most terrible.”)
Yesterday, Rupp’s house went on the market for $25 million with Corcoran senior vice president Sharon Baum and her associate David Enloe. And that means the wall is coming down! “I think it’s going to be very soon; everything seems to be in place and I think they’re just waiting for the final direction so that everything they do is to code,” said Ms. Baum, referring to the estate.
The Department of Buildings will be glad. There’s still a bright-red alert on the house that dates back to 2004, related to a “brick veneer party wall.” It’s not clear how the Supreme Court case between Rupp and Mr. Campus ended, but the DOB imposed at least one $2,000 fine.
Now there’s scaffolding up to prepare for the wall’s long-awaited death. On the brighter side, potential buyers will also see the 6,330-square-foot house’s purer features, like a formal dining room with massive East River views, five fireplaces and five bedrooms with their own bathrooms.
Then there’s the separate two-story section of the house, which comes with plans to add a three-story addition—which “have been approved by the city,” the listing says.