Pat Kiernan is one of New York’s brightest newscasters, but his apartment is brighter. The 41-year-old New York 1 anchor and founder of patspapers.com, a Web site that highlights interesting content from the nation’s daily newspapers, lives with his wife and two daughters in an elegant Upper West Side penthouse, which he built in 2001. The place has so much natural light that you’d think you were in a suburb. Here’s what he told us as we squinted our way through the grand tour.
How did you find the place?
We were living in the neighborhood. My wife was pregnant, and we were looking for a bigger apartment than what we had. We were renting at the time and looking to buy, and I saw an ad that said—I believe the wording was—’Rare chance to develop penthouse space on the Upper West Side.’ I was intrigued by that because it didn’t seem like there would be much space like that on the top of any building around here; they’re mostly already fully developed. This was mostly storage rooms and things like that when we came here.
So you built the whole thing?
What are the five things in the apartment that you can’t live without?
The outdoor space is nice. Secondary to the outdoor space—I don’t know if that’s a 1-A or a No. 2—I like to be able to use the grill whether it’s summer or winter. It’s nice to be able to cook things on your own.
Because I get up way before my wife we have the master bedroom set up so that I can kind of close the door and have my own world. Once I get out of bed I don’t have to repeatedly walk through where she is or turn on the light where she is. It’s kind of the morning anchor setup.
We love our photos above the sofa there, the Matthew Pillsbury shot of Grand Central Station. Or Grand Central Terminal, I guess, if I’m being accurate.
There’s lots of natural light in the apartment, too.
Which thing in the apartment has the best back story?
Probably the ‘color bars’ painting that hangs over my computer. It’s the classic TV test pattern. It’s probably almost 20 years old now. It was the result of a bet. It was the early 1990s, when I was still in Canada. I was at the National Gallery in Ottawa and they had this painting that was called ‘Voice of Fire.’ ‘Voice of Fire’ was this painting that was two or three strips of fabric, maybe they were painted one color.
The artist made some number and people were paying in the millions of dollars for these things that were just plain colors. And I was in an argument with my wife, you know: ‘How can they pay this guy two million dollars for that? Anybody can do that.’ And at that point she kind of challenged me.
‘Well, if anybody can do that why don’t you do some art?’
And I was like, ‘I will!’
So I set up a place in a little corner of our house where I was going to do my art. Not having any training in art, I went down to the art store and asked them what kind of paint I would need and what kind of canvas I would need. I decided that my contemporary art was going to be to paint the color bars. Then without letting her see it, I said, ‘O.K., now we have to plan the unveiling party.’ I dressed in black for the unveiling party, which meant I had to go out and buy an all-black outfit because I didn’t own one. And we unveiled my contemporary art, which is my first and only piece of contemporary art. But it still hangs in a place of honor.
Which room do you spend the most time in and why?
It’s also the computer room, which is the smallest room in the entire place. But that’s where my wife works from home sometimes, and, when I finish with New York 1, I come home and work on my Web site, patspapers.com, that’s where I do that. It’s probably the worst room in the place. We joke if one of us is away with the kids and the other’s at home working and living in the apartment ourselves, it’s barely a one-bedroom apartment. We sort of go from there to the bedroom and back to the kitchen. We never go to the side where the kids’ bedrooms are.
SLIDESHOW > TOUR SOME OF PAT KIERNAN’S FAVORITE THINGS
Your neighbors—do you keep them close or at arm’s length?
They were all closer than they wanted to be when we were renovating because it was a pretty extensive renovation. And they were wonderfully patient with everything, from noises to water leaking down into their apartments, and so forth. We got to know them and they were all very gracious.
Our schedules tend to be pretty busy, so we’re not hanging around the building socializing. But I’m on the co-op board, so I end up dealing with a lot of people in the building because of that. So it’s sort of somewhere in the middle of the two options you gave me.
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