15 Central Park West, the Best Assisted Living Money Can Buy

She loves her bags and her bedrooms.

While a lawsuit rages over whether or not the $88 million penthouse at 15 Central Park West is a dorm room or a oligarch’s hideaway, The Times got a tour of the best building everfrom one of its newest residents. (It feels like there should be a better name for them, perhaps courtesans? Limestoners? Gods?)

As The Observer reported in October, Barbara Baekgaard, co-creator of the gleefully colored Vera Bradley handbags, purchased a third floor condo for $17 million—she claims she was looking at a $28 million unit on the 28th floor but preferred being closer to the action of the street, which has to be a first.

Of her new home, she likes to say “It is truly assisted living,” what with the best restaurant in town, the Thanksgiving luncheons, and so much more.

After descending to the lobby on a recent Saturday, we walked past three gas-burning fireplaces on the way to the library, which had dozens of books and several comfy chairs. The dining room was closed (it isn’t open on weekends), but Ms. Baekgaard assured me that “it is the best place to eat in the city.” There is no dress code; some residents wear shorts to lunch, she said.

In between the 19-story “house” and the “tower,” which is about twice as high, is the health spa, including a state-of-the-art gym and the 75-foot-pool with a glass roof. Ms. Baekgaard said her children had spotted several famous people at the pool, including [Denzel] Washington. Residents can request any kind of special workout, including Pilates.


We made our way up the tower. On the sixth floor there is a billiard room, a 20-seat screening room (where her visiting children and grandchildren have watched movies and the Super Bowl), a conference room and a mammoth deck.

And yet for all that, can this truly be called a happy place?

While fellow residents are not overly social, she said, they are friendly. They will say hello in the dining room. When someone is using the theater they will say, “Come on in,” she said.

It is true what they say, then: You can buy a lot of things, but you can’t buy friends.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

15 Central Park West, the Best Assisted Living Money Can Buy