Glee and kookiness left Greenwich Village sometime during the Giuliani administration, when all the frat bankers and handbag-carried Yorkies moved in.
Still, it’s massively odd that the designer Betsey Johnson, the fluorescent-colored, polka-dotted cat lady of New York fashion, a 65-year-old that makes 1983-era Cyndi Lauper look gray-scale by comparison, has abandoned the Village for the Upper East Side.
According to a deed filed yesterday, she spent $1,854,000 on a just-listed apartment at 30 East 85th Street. The condo’s one-sentence listing is boring: one bedroom; two bathrooms; a terrace; a doorman; a washer/dryer.
“It’s a cool building!” her broker Gina Serman said when asked why Ms. Johnson would live among high-nosed Upper East Siders. “It’s not exactly, you know—but her daughter’s in the same building! That’s the secret. I sold her daughter a nice huge apartment there.”
Ms. Johnson emailed later: “I MOVED UPTOWN INTO MY NEW BABY PINK HEAVEN TO BE CLOSER TO MY GRANDCHILDREN. AM HAPPILY ‘GRANDMA-ING’ 24/7 WHILE SHOPPING ‘TIL I’M DROPPING.”
“It’s kind of a chic area; it’s, like, nice, you know?” Ms. Serman, her broker, said. “Don’t forget she’s got two stores on the Upper East Side; there’s one on Madison Avenue literally a few blocks away.”
(Plus, the Upper East Side is where she founded her first boutique, in 1969, around the time of her brief marriage to the Velvet Underground’s John Cale.)
Meanwhile, Ms. Johnson is not fully out of the Village. Her bright-pink, glass-bricked, gold-tasseled duplex loft at 45 Fifth Avenue (pictured) went on the market last year for $3.6 million, before going down to $3.1 and now $2.495 million, according to the listings Web site StreetEasy. “She’s still, like, hot,” Ms. Serman said, “and she goes all over the place; she’s still Betsey.”