The inside scoop on New York real estate

Living in a five-bedroom triplex penthouse in SoHo can’t be that bad, right? Yet despite its celebrity pedigree, one of the two penthouse units at 30 Crosby Street, between Grand and Broome, has had a tough run on the real estate market...


Living in a five-bedroom triplex penthouse in SoHo can’t be that bad, right? Yet despite its celebrity pedigree, one of the two penthouse units at 30 Crosby Street, between Grand and Broome, has had a tough run on the real estate market. Rock star and moonlighting decorator Lenny Kravitz—who paid $7 million for the 16-room Penthouse B in 2000, soon after the 1890 corset factory had been converted to condos—tried listing the apartment in 2002 for $17 million. After having no luck selling, he took it off the market for six months and oversaw major renovations. (Perhaps the stress of it all led him to make ample use of the calming aromatherapy system in the building’s lobby.) The apartment is huge—more than 6,000 square feet—with an additional 3,000 square feet of outdoor space. Plus, it has a keyed elevator entrance, essential to privacy-seeking celebs such as Kravitz and Nicole Kidman, who bunked here in 2003. (The two were romantically linked at the time.) Star-worthy features include floor-to-ceiling windows, eight bathrooms, a Crestron entertainment system, and a floating glass staircase that leads to the sumptuous master bedroom suite. And with no load-bearing walls, the space can be easily reconfigured.

Nonetheless, Kravitz’s trophy palace had no takers until 2010, when R&B singer Alicia Keys bought it for $12.75 million, following various price reductions. But by March 2012, she was already looking to sell and listed the condo with Sotheby’s for $17.95 million. This past February, there was a price chop to $15 million, and the place sold within weeks.  

Grammy winner Keys and her producer husband, Swizz Beatz, had already decamped to Englewood, New Jersey, where they paid about $12 million for Eddie Murphy’s seven-bedroom, 25,000-square-foot Bubble Hill estate. (Murphy had been trying to sell for eight years.) The mega-mansion comes with a recording studio, a two-lane bowling alley, an indoor pool, a racquetball court, and a tennis court. —Carmela Ciuraru




Can the venerable luxury goods company Baccarat, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary next year, shatter the glass ceiling of the competitive midtown real estate world? Given the considerable buzz about its new hotel and condo project, chances look good. (The company seems to be on a roll, with a new Madison Avenue flagship store, designed by Rafael de Cárdenas, opening in early June.)

Buyers might want to ante up now for an apartment in the 50-story Baccarat Hotel & Residences, still under construction at Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street, right across from the Museum of Modern Art. Available units range from a $3.35 million one-bedroom to the 7,481-square-foot, five-bedroom, $60 million penthouse. Sales of the ultra-luxe apartments began in mid-March and have been brisk so far.

Designed by the famed architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, with interiors by Tony Ingrao, the building is expected to bring some much-needed dazzle to residential midtown living. A large Baccarat chandelier is a signature feature in the foyer of every apartment, which will also include custom bronze-work, wide-plank white oak flooring, state-of-the-art technology, marble bathrooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Starwood Capital CEO Barry Sternlicht, whose company acquired Baccarat Crystal in 2005, has said that his aim for the building is to marry “Louis XV with the modern era”—fittingly enough, as the luxury glassworks was founded during Louis XV’s reign.

The tower’s hotel rooms will make up the lower floors, while the 61 apartments will occupy floors 18 and above. Residents will have full access to the hotel’s amenities, including room service, a spa, a 65-foot swimming pool, and a 24-hour concierge. For those with less expansive wallets, rates for the 115 sumptuous hotel rooms are expected to hover around $800 a night. —C. C.



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Aussie Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr’s light-filled 10th-floor corner apartment at the Jade went into contract recently for $1.3 million, after being on the market for two years. The 14-story condominium, an office-building conversion at 16 West 19th Street, is named for jewelry designer Jade Jagger (daughter of Mick), who helped design the interior finishes and promote the condo’s appeal to 20- and 30-something singles in 2008. (Most of the residences are studios or one-bedrooms.) One special feature in Kerr’s apartment is an interior “pod”: a black-lacquered, free-standing, jewel-like unit that, when opened, reveals a kitchen, bathroom, and closet—perfect, perhaps, for storing the $2.5 million bejeweled Victoria’s Secret “fantasy bra” that Kerr has sported on the runway.

Why sell now? In fact, Kerr had initially listed her one-bedroom bachelorette pad for $1.395 million in 2010, just a few months after marrying British actor Orlando Bloom. She gave birth to their son, Flynn, the following year, and then dropped the price to $1.175 million. In the end, it looks as if she made a tidy profit on the sale, having paid just $1,084,436 for the place in 2006. Kerr and Bloom have since moved to Los Angeles, where they live in the four-bedroom, $2.75 million home that Bloom bought in 2007.

Kerr is not the only Victoria’s Secret model with an appetite for real estate. Supermodel Karolina Kurkova recently leased a $17,000-a-month apartment at the River Lofts in Tribeca, where she and former boyfriend Alessandro Bazzoni already own a 2,000-square-foot loft. (The building, at 92 Laight Street, is also home to Gwyneth Paltrow and Meryl Streep.) Yet another VS model, Lindsay Ellingson, is trading up: In February, she put her 650-square-foot one-bedroom co-op at 205 Third Avenue,
near Gramercy Park, on the market for $589,000. Her new abode is a sunny duplex at 456 West 19th Street, which she purchased last summer for $1.675 million. And recently anointed VS angel Karlie Kloss can spread her modeling wings in the bucolic garden behind her new West Village duplex. She purchased the co-op at 151 Charles Street in November for $1.975 million. —R. M

top to bottom: s_bukley/; Anton Oparin/; Nata Sha/



You can’t take the Jersey out of a Jersey boy, but apparently you can take the SoHo out of him. Fifty-one-year-old Jon Bon Jovi—who recently released his fifth number-one album—just put his 7,500-square-foot penthouse duplex at 158 Mercer Street on the market for $42 million. He and his wife, Dorothea, bought the five-bedroom pad in 2007 for $24 million. They also own homes in Middle Township, New Jersey, and in East Hampton.

So why the $18 million price hike after just six years? For starters, the penthouse has been extensively renovated, with high-end finishes throughout, and it’s being offered fully furnished, right down to the pillows and chandeliers. The place features panoramic views, 11-foot-high ceilings, arched windows, a great room with a wood-burning fireplace, a formal dining room, a screening room, an elevator that opens directly into the foyer, and three landscaped terraces. Deborah Grubman and David Dubin of the Corcoran Group have the listing. —C. C.

house of worship

In New York, buying a piece of real estate can be a religious (or at least transcendent) experience—especially at 455 West 20th Street in Chelsea. The block between Ninth and Tenth avenues is arguably one of the loveliest in Manhattan, anchored by the Episcopal Diocese’s General Theological Seminary, built in the 1820s on land that was once an apple orchard. The Gothic-style seminary’s leafy campus is now shared by a row of distinctive condominiums: 455 West 20th Street comprises two buildings, one a renovated Gothic stone edifice built in 1836; the other a brand-new structure, designed by the architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle and intended to reflect the history and aesthetic of the original seminary buildings. The residences overlook the seminary’s private courtyard, known as the Close, which was modeled after the quadrangles of Oxford and Cambridge universities. Buyers of the two-, three-, and four-bedroom residences (ranging from $2.2 million to $12 million) will enjoy exclusive access to this grassy refuge. “Many New Yorkers fantasize about living on a park, and 455 West 20th Street actually allows its residents to live inside a park,” says Angeli Dahiya, sales director at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. Special features include bay windows, vintage white-oak herringbone floors, wood-burning fireplaces, and Kohler Tea-for-Two soaking tubs. Occupancy is expected sometime this fall. —R. M.






Who says there are no second chances in life? If you missed the real estate renaissance that peaked in Hudson around 2006, there’s good news: The best time to buy might be right now. Just take a stroll down Warren Street—the town’s main thoroughfare—which is lined with boutiques, restaurants, and cafés. There’s Crimson Sparrow, founded by the chefs at WD-50 in Manhattan; Swoon, established by former chefs from Michael’s and Union Square Café; Mexican Radio, a northern outpost of the SoHo hot spot; and the tiny ten-foot-wide Lick for sweet treats (try the damson plum sorbet). And that’s just on Warren. Within walking distance—and anchoring a rocking music scene—is Basilica Hudson, an industrial art and performance space in a reclaimed 19th-century brick factory (its creative director is Melissa Auf der Maur, formerly of the band Hole). The nearby Helsinki welcomes musical acts such as Shawn Colvin, Pete Seeger, Norah Jones, and the Blind Boys of Alabama. And coming soon is the Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art, developed by Marina Abramovic, who hired Rem Koolhaas to reinvent a sprawling circa-1929 indoor tennis facility.

Village Appeal This  circa-1795 property at 446 Warren Street is listed for $650,000 with Nancy Horowitz Felcetto of Halstead (518-821-5509).

“Commercial real estate is getting snapped up in seconds,” says Nancy Horowitz Felcetto, a New York City transplant and Halstead Property broker whose husband owns Ca’Mea Ristorante, as well as a local B&B. Currently, Felcetto’s only Warren Street listing is a circa-1795 brick townhouse with a Greek Revival addition, two apartments, and a commercial space for $650,000. “But there are still great residential deals in town and around it,” she adds.

Just a block away is the circa-1870 neoclassical townhouse at 10 South 4th Street, owned by artist and interior designer Frank Faulkner and listed for $575,000. The stately building had been constructed to house two law offices and used for that purpose for a century or so. Five years ago, Faulkner converted it into a modern three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home, installing a new kitchen, bathrooms, mechanicals, and roof, among other updates. He also transformed a walk-in safe into a pantry and floor-to-ceiling bookcases into a display for china, while restoring the original chestnut paneling and staircase and plaster walls. Peggy Lampman of Peggy Lampman Real Estate has the listing.

Historic Hudson This renovated 1866 townhouse at 24 North 5th Street is listed for $319,000 with Sarah Sterling of Halstead (917-699-5688). It has three bedrooms, two baths, and four working fireplaces.

Coming in at just $319,000 is 24 North 5th Street. (Good luck finding that kind of price in the Hamptons.) The circa-1866 redbrick townhouse has been renovated to offer three bedrooms and two bathrooms on three floors, along with seven working fireplaces and a library. The listing agent is Sarah Sterling of Halstead Property.  

Although the recession cooled down home prices, don’t count on them to stay that way. According to Kathy Duffy, the managing associate broker at Gary DiMauro Real Estate, weekends bring a flood of urbanites curious about “Williamsburg on the Hudson,” as the town is sometimes called. Indeed, at times Warren Street is so bustling it’s not unlike Bedford Avenue. “Hudson was saved by the fact that absolutely nobody wanted to develop here for nearly a century,” adds Duffy, who lives in an 1880s farmhouse she bought for $130,000 in 1988. “If they had, they probably would have converted all the Federals and the Greek Revivals and the Georgians to bland small-town storefronts.”

Hudson’s design-obsessed community embraces modern homes too. Currently, Harriet Schur of Gary DiMauro Real Estate is listing a one-story house on 3.4 hilltop acres just five minutes from the town’s center. The circa-2008 home is constructed of steel, stucco, and concrete, with glass walls that take advantage of the views over the Berkshire Mountains to the north. The open floor plan features a 40-foot main room that’s centered on a massive fireplace fashioned from I-beams and reclaimed pine. The 2,300-square-foot home also offers three bedrooms and three bathrooms, plus one half-bathroom. The asking price is $1.3 million. —Diane Di Costanzo


George Washington really did sleep here: A historic marker certifies that our first president often spent the night in the Fowler House, a 1740 Greek Revival in Brewster, now on the market for $450,000. Washington frequently bunked here on his way from West Point to New England during the Revolutionary War. Today, the yellow-clapboard home still features many of its original amenities: a hitching post, solid-granite steps, and a deep and many-columned porch out front. Inside are wide floorboards and a handmade staircase, a formal front parlor, and seven fireplaces. In addition to five bedrooms, the 5,400-square-foot house also comes with a legal two-bedroom apartment in the back. It’s listed with Angela Briante of Briante Realty Group in Carmel.

The late philanthropist Brooke Astor made news last fall when the contents of her Park Avenue and Westchester estates sold at auction for more than $18 million. Now available is a 32-acre property at 195 River Road in Rhinebeck, belonging to Astor and her husband, Vincent Astor, who inherited the estate—called the Tea House at Ferncliff—from his father, John Jacob Astor IV, who perished on the Titanic. After Vincent died, in 1959, Mrs. Astor came to disfavor Rhinebeck for its lack of a social scene and nice places to have lunch and gave away much of the property to the Catholic Church. But the 4,500-square-foot home remained in private hands and is now listed for $2.55 million with Gary DiMauro Real Estate.

Located across the Hudson in Rockland County’s Tomkins Cove is a circa-1858 Gothic Revival manse built for town founder and industrialist Calvin Tomkins. Called Boulderberg Manor, an impregnable-sounding name that fits this poured-concrete fortress, it has two-foot-thick exterior walls, all the better to withstand the winds that buffet its high perch overlooking the river. For all its bulk, there’s a certain romance to Boulderberg: The exteriors feature high-pitched gables, a cupola, stylized trim around the windows and doors, and a handsome slate roof. The 4,500-square-foot home includes ornately carved ceilings, mahogany staircases, and ten marble fireplaces, as well as eight bedrooms and three bathrooms. On the 4.5-acre grounds: a gazebo, a cottage, and a front garden courtyard with a fountain. Richard Ellis of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty in Nyack has the $1.175 million listing. —D. C.






Locust Valley, a charming hamlet about 30 miles from Manhattan,
was once home to socially prominent families who built magnificent estates along the water in the 1900s. The appeal is easy to understand: It’s just a half-hour from Manhattan, with great schools and nice beaches. Although the real estate market is heating up, you can still find reasonably priced properties, such as a quaint village house for around $350,000, or spend considerably more on a luxury estate in the $10 to $15 million range.

Locust Valley Values  Built in 1982, 3 Valley Road (left) is listed for just under $3 million with Lea Frank of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s Realty (516-359-2137); 38 West 4th Street (right) is listed for $539,000 with Eloise Halpern, also of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s (516-455-8187).

A case in point on the low end is the 1926 three-bedroom home at 38 West 4th Street, listed for $539,000. The quintessential village Colonial features beamed ceilings, detailed woodwork, and peg oak floors. Considerably pricier and new to the market is a 15-room home on five acres at 3 Valley Road, listed for $2.999 million. Built in 1982, it was completely renovated a few years ago and includes five bedrooms, five-and-a-half bathrooms, a library, a three-car garage, a Gunite pool, and a large private pond. Sitting on seven-plus acres at 40 Piping Rock Road is a sprawling 18-room Colonial, built in 1925 and listed for $12 million. Fully renovated in 2008, the main house has four original fireplaces, a gym, and a library, along with a heated Gunite pool and Har-Tru tennis court. The estate once belonged to former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett, who served in the Truman Administration and died in 1986. —C. C