Author: Rebecca Morse

Why renovate and restyle when you can pick up a pad that has already been done to the nines—by some of New York’s most sophisticated decorators, to boot? Designer Richard Mishaan spared no expense (or none of his clients’ expense, that is) when he decorated a 6,300-square-foot apartment at 101 Warren Street in Tribeca, paneling a 65-foot-long living room with macassar ebony millwork, sheathing the master bathroom in Bizazza mosaic tiles, and plopping in a Duravit Starck oval tub.

Think the Polo Lounge on a Saturday night is the toughest table in town? Think again. A handful of upscale New York buildings boast private dining rooms reserved for the exclusive use of their residents. The practice started in the days of Edith Wharton, when apartment living was new and former denizens of private mansions took comfort knowing that they could dine among themselves rather than among the great unwashed.

Scores of celebs are unloading property in New York these days—with varying degrees of success. After two years on the market, Ricky Martin’s three-bedroom condo at developer Ian Schrager’s star magnet, 40 Bond Street, has finally sold, for $7.55 million.

If your dream home is a clapboard country cottage bordered by flowering shrubs, you just missed your chance at snagging a taste of the sweet life in the heart of the East Village. Now in contract, the $4.44 million penthouse at 203 East 13th Street features two dollhouse-like clapboard cottages built onto its roof, with 800 square feet of terrace between them and an outdoor wood-burning fireplace

In Prospect Park, Michelle Williams found herself a fixer-upper: a 114-year-old Colonial Revival mansion in the $2 million range that needs a gut renovation. The Cobble Hill home of the Beastie Boys’ Mike D—a 3,200-square-foot Italianate townhouse at 148 Baltic Street listed for $5.65 million—recently went into contract.

In the West Village, neighborly relations are a little strained these days, especially when it comes to boldfaced names. Gary and Addie Tomei, parents of Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei, are suing their West 13th Street neighbor Sean Lennon, son of John and Yoko, over a tree on his $9.5 million property, the roots of which have allegedly cracked the Tomeis’ stoop and even crept into their basement.

With the completion of the final portion of Phase III of the High Line, which extends from West 30th Street and curves around Hudson Yards, the elevated park will receive virtually no further funding from New York City. Only a small amount is still allotted for security and similar expenses, requiring an influx of private money instead.

South of 14th Street, several star-studded properties have recently changed hands. Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde have just sold their second-floor, two-bedroom love nest at 66 Ninth Avenue, in the heart of the Meatpacking District. Capital gains have bloomed for America’s next top real-estate mogul, Tyra Banks. It has attracted its fair share of other famous residents, such as actress Dakota Fanning and singer John Mayer.

The late comedian Joan Rivers triplex penthouse has recently been listed for $28 million. The 5,100-square-foot spread sits atop a Gilded Age mansion and boasts five bedrooms, two terraces, five fireplaces, and a ballroom decorated in a style Rivers famously called “Louis XIV meets Fred and Ginger.”

Stars: They’re just like us, right? (Oops, wrong magazine.) Unlike mere mortals, bold-faced names can really bolster their bank accounts simply by unloading a premier property. Julia Stiles recently did so, pocketing $2.7 million for her three-bedroom duplex with two wood-burning fireplaces at 310 East 15th Street (she purchased it a decade ago for $1.995 million). In SoHo, Jonah Hill’s full-floor Howard Street loft was recently listed for $12,000 a month; it boasts 13-foot ceilings and a fireplace, but no doorman expecting a holiday tip. A few blocks away, Kirsten Dunst’s Canal Street penthouse has just been snapped up by a new tenant.