Madonna Burning Up Over Co-op Rejection

Although most of the time Madonna and Guy Ritchie reside in London where they are rumored to own as many as six townhouses in the Marylebone area, it’s long been rumored and reported that she and the Mister are looking to expand their real estate empire in the Big Apple.

The Kabbalah Kween has long called Harperley Hall her New York City base, a second tier building on Central Park West where the material girl first purchased a co-operative apartment back when she was married to actor Sean Penn.

Now puppies, before we get scad of emails and phone calls, don’t misunderstand Your Mama. We are not saying Harperley Hall is a pile of shit. It’s a lovely full service building with well scaled pre-war apartments overlooking the park. It is not, however, The Dakota or The Beresford or even the San Remo, where poor Madge was famously rejected by the stiff co-op board when she tried to buy a three bedroom, $1,200,000 unit back in 1985.

Anyhoo, over the years the material mommy purchased two more adjacent units at Harperley Hall and combined them into a 6,000 square foot duplex (pictured above) that her brother Christopher did over into a sleek, sophisticated and elegant 1930s urban pad filled with Art Deco velvet furniture and quite a few paintings by Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka. It’s really quite expensive looking, but it does not look like the sort of place to have two small boys running around knocking shit over.

Well, now that Madge has that cute new child from Malawi and she’s not yet purchased any of the many gigantic and grand townhouses on the Upper East Side that she’s eye balled, 6,000 square feet is simply not enough space for a family of five and the small army of assistants, nannies, trainers, cooks and etc. that are required to keep a high powered celebrity home running efficiently. So, according to recent reports, she tried buy another adjacent seventh floor unit to incorporate into her already three unit Harperley Hall combo. But the board rejected the purchase.

And a hush fell over the Upper West Side.

So, no doubt rabid and frothing at the rejection, the used to getting her way entertainer did what anyone with a few hundred million dollars does. She called her attorneys and filed a damn law suit against the board requesting they allow the sale to proceed and to cover her court costs and legal fees. Oh yes she did. Probably not exactly the best way to ingratiate yourself with the neighbors who sit on the board, so she must really want that apartment.

Madonna may be the biggest name celebrity who shacks up at Harperley Hall, but she’s not the only one. Property records reveal that comedic actress Fran Drescher and her annoying voice own a fifth floor unit. We tease. We love Frannie and her campy made up voice.

In addition to Madge’s Manhattan duplex, shes’ got those six townhouses in London, Ashcombe House, the family’s 1,200-acre country estate in south Wiltshire once owned by famed photographer Cecil Beaton, and a somewhat modest mansion on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills. That’s all the properties that Your Mama is aware of, but we would not be surprised to learn she’s also got some ultra posh Caribbean getaway or a fetching finca in Spain.

As it stands, co-op boards are not currently required to provide a reason or justification for a rejection, so it’ll be interesting to see what develops and results from the lawsuit. Your Mama makes no predictions because co-op boards wield a strange and staggering kind of power that we’re not certain can be foiled by a judge…at least not until the law changes that will require boards to provide a justifiable reason for rejections. Until then, Madonna battles on.

Source: Architectural Digest/Durston Saylor (photos)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Anonymous says:

    EXCUSE ME!!!!
    Ellen will never get rejected because everyone loves her!

  5. hjb says:

    Ever read any of the books on the great buildings of New York City?
    Have you ever seen this one noted?
    I don’t think so.
    It’s not even on the Eastside!
    Fifth or you have a long way to go.
    Who even designed it?

  6. Anonymous says:

    “I think Ed has the corner on that market.”

    Yeah…He was confused and thought anyone around here gave a d*mn.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Nevermind! Just the read the entry.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is that a real Tamara de Lempicka on the wall in that dining room pic?

    Man, I am jealous.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “(But I really don’t think I was the confused one several posts ago.}”

    I think Ed has the corner on that market.

  10. aunt mary says:

    Oh, my yes, how dense of me! Don’t you just hate it when old people have a brain freeze and embarrass themselves and everyone else? Carry on, dears. (But I really don’t think I was the confused one several posts ago.}

  11. Anonymous says:

    Rosiland Russell in the 1958 film version of “Auntie Mame” is the aunt every gay man wishes (or should wish) they had growing up. She loved her men, gin, and redecorating her Beekman Place apartment.

    Auntie Mame: Oh, Agnes! Here you’ve been taking my dictations for weeks and you haven’t gotten the message of my book: live!

    Agnes Gooch: Live?

    Auntie Mame: Yes! Live! Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!

  12. aunt mary says:

    Oh, dear, I think I took a wrong turn back there with anon 8:57. Was that a pun? Was Hippie being clever and oblique? Should I have turned left at hairless Charles and gone straight after the ping pong ball? (Who is Auntie Mame? Should I remember her?) Now I’m quite lost. Help!

  13. Agnes Gootch says:

    Auntie Mary, meet Auntie Mame (the Rosalind Russell version).

  14. aunt mary says:


  15. Anonymous says:

    OMG… Poor Hippie, that sounds just GHASTLY, JUST GHASTLY.. how did you ever live that down?

  16. Hippie Canyon says:

    It reminds me of the time I was at the country club during our annual ping- pong tournament. The score was 24-14. And I stepped back to make this really terrrr-ific shot, when I STEPPED on the ping- pong ball. Can you imagine? It was completely squashed. We had to call the whole, thing, OFF.

  17. Sandpiper says:

    I’ll stay Switzerland on this one. But, anon 3:48… Public scrutiny of Camilla dates back to when Charlie still had hair. Here not there; just what it is.

    Aunt Mary, love it when you’re cranky. Group hug.

  18. aunt mary says:

    8:57, too funny.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t want to meet Camille, or Charles for that matter either, yuck.

  20. aunt mary says:

    Oh, anon, 3:48, thank you so much for the thoughtful reply. We could continue this discussion and bore the hell out of everyone, so I’ll be short. You make all your points. I concede that she is a successful entrepeneur/entertainer. No, I don’t know her, so I don’t know her inner thoughts and motivations, but she has chosen public poses. And I am reading her public pose by my own lights. I wish you had a tag, so I can be sure to catch all your posts. Can I name you Nighthawk?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’m killing time as well so forgive me for this very long reply..

    To aunt mary…

    Madonna herself said that Camille took her (Madonna) too seriously… and that there was something unhealthy about Camille’s preoccupation with her.. Can’t stand close scrutiny? Madonna’s been the most analyzed female pop figure for 3 decades now (& during the Camille period, for a decade already) and if that isn’t enough time for close scrutiny, then no amount of time can. Besides, Norman Mailer got to interview her and you can’t fool someone like him…
    I think you “are not seeing it” because you are not clear with yourself if you wanted to see a woman who is a “pop culture path maker”, or an “artist”. Don’t confuse the two. On the former, there is no doubt that Madonna deserves the tag; on the latter, well, it’s a matter of personal taste, as always… As for me, I always find it corny as hell that an artist, to deserve being called an “artist”, needs to suffer. Art is an aesthetic that speaks to anybody on any level, and comes from many sources of inspiration– not just pain, and blood. At least Madonna (who has given us many great pop music and memorable stage performances) has been honest with her poses and has endeavored to really entertain, as opposed to the real poseurs (pardon the oxymoron) who are “artists” of pain and suffering and blood and yet can’t entertain their way out of a paper bag.

    Your calling her an “Angelina Jolie wannabe earth mother”, and that such is a “new invented persona” of hers among her “invented lives” smacks of cynicism. Such sweeping stereotyping of somebody else, who, btw, is spending her own money and time for the cause(s) she believes in, and who may be earnest in her advocacies. Do you know her?… And alas, the whole “earth mother” thing was done by her waay before Miss Jolie got to be seen as one..

    As for the coop fight, I always wonder why coop boards behave the way they do.. I agree that it would be better for Madonna to seek out another apartment, one that is not under a coop. She should drop the lawsuit, there are better buildings out there..

  22. aunt mary says:

    This is all off topic, so heads up to you number crunchers who don’t like ramblings and musings. Here I am with my insomnia and we still have Madonna on the front burner. I looked at the links in Mama’s post. The AD spread had some nice pics. If the brother is indeed untrained in design, he’s good or has a lot of help. I like the whole place. Hard, cold, bloodless, Wagnerian. To look at, not to live in. The whole dark, 30’s Third Reich vive suits the material girl. Just as the Brideshead Revisited tableau she’s created in England. Same aura, between the wars aristocracy staring down the future, clinging to entitlement. I wonder how her new invented persona as an Angelina Jolie wannabe earth mother is fitting into her other invented lives? Real kids can end up being such a pain. And they hang around like forever! Camille Paglia, who I think is a brilliant genious admires Madonna as a pop culture path maker, so I try to see it. I’m not seeing it. I don’t see an artist with passion, heart, blood, suffering. I see a steely eyed, ice in her veins, money making diva. Camille wanted to meet her, but she declined the invitation. Camille thought she was just shy. Oh puleez. She knew she could never stand the close scrutiny. It was probably a smart move. Anyway the coop board will get screwed over by her and she’ll get her way for all the reasons people have mentioned. Apologies for being so cranky.

  23. impatient heir says:

    Lawd! That ol hag is like a cockroach. The hose from the tailpipe of a semi hooked up to her window all weekend and the beotch is still on the internet.

  24. Bartleby Smitherington Cartright says:

    She is NO lady!

  25. Old Hag in a house says:

    I’m still here

  26. Anonymous says:

    the whole 30s thing seems really well done, the lines, the mix of furnishing.

    the aesthetic in the gym hints at germanic kitsch, but doesn’t quite arrive there.

    itstead of all the Lamipica, i’d want to hint at the darkness of the 30s with some Leni Reifensthal prints …

    the bathroom in the Architectural Digest shoot is a vision of hygene, privacy and cool, (literally with all that marble) … the arch appears to hide a can be pulled across to shut out the shower area.
    and i’m guessing there is a window next to the free standing tub, maybe facing the park???

  27. Anonymous says:

    There are two flag lots in the block between Mountain & Hillcrest. I believe Madonna owns the the house on the east flag lot (she used to own that one). The house on the west flag lot is a Neutra, don’t know if it belongs to ex-Mrs. Collins (or were you saying ex-Mrs. Collins owns the house facing Sunset next to Maddie?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Madge. Force the board to spend lots of the co-op’s money on legal fees. They may not have to defend their decision legally, but when the whole building is paying through the nose for the ‘right’, they’ll have to defend their decision to the residents and the reason had better be good.

  29. Anonymous says:

    is her house on sunset the flag lot between hillcrest and mountain next to phil collin’s ex wife’s home? if not which one is it?

  30. Ed from westwood says:

    I guess the scales are tipping, LA will go way down in price and NY will go way up, the bankers are making it that way.

    Time to move to NY.

    From CNN:

    Wall Street titans and rock stars are calling NYC’s newest luxury residence home, with an average apartment costing $10 million.

  31. Joan Collins says:

    Madonna, dahling, this is the problem with co-ops. They are bullshit.

    I bought a lovely condo on the Upper East Side in 2002. Go condo Madonna, it’s fab!

  32. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get it … why would ‘ellen’ be ‘rejected’ ? She lives in L.A & not buying a co-op … seriously, some people here are crazy!

  33. Ms Frivolity says:

    “What did I tell those bastards at Warner when they said I couldn’t have the company jet?I said I can have whatever the fuck I want if they want their name on my ass right?”She stopped picked up the cut glass baccarat flower vase that Guy’s Mum had given them last Christmas,upper middle class taste she thought to herself,and threw it with all her might against the far wall smashing it into a million pieces and narrowly missing the Leger over the fireplace.”And the Snodgrass’s tell me I can’t have that roach infested back apartment for 5 mil.I’m going to suck the marrow out of their miserable old bones while chanting Kabalah!”

  34. Anonymous says:

    Somebody has a major case hard on for Ellen bashing.

    Is is a lesbian who was rejected? If so, by Ellen or Portia (or both)?

    A man who thought he could get Portia to pull an “Anne Hecht”?

    Or maybe someone related to that “non-profit” pet “adoption” organization..Which happened to be run/founded by the same person who owns/runs the *for profit* pet store that is the only location where “adoptions” take place?

  35. Anonymous says:


    ellen who?

  36. Anonymous says:

    im so glad madonna is told she cant have something. i only hope ellen gets rejected too.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Part of the reason that Harperley Hall isn’t top rung on CPW is that more than half the apartments are 1 and 2 bedroom units in the back and side. Also, the building was a rental for a long time and isn’t in great shape. Coop boards will never have to divulge rejection criteria because coop buyers are buying stock in a private company that in turn leases them an apartment – as opposed to a condo where the buyer is actually buying the real estate. Anyhoo – as Mama would say – Harperley Hall is probably not terribly well off financially and fighting Madge might not be affordable.

  38. Madge says:

    You want pain in the ass?you ain’t seen nothing yet!

  39. caveman says:

    trainers, cooks, nannies, assistants, no wonder she’s such a hardass, she’s always at work, managing her employees 24/7.
    imagine the lack of privacy 24/7, what a pain in the ass.

  40. Andy Warhol says:

    West side taste,very Barbara Striesand.

  41. Ms Frivolity says:

    …The scene,a late afternoon board meeting at Harperley Hall in Mr and Mrs Snodgrass’s second floor,no park view,apartment.Madge had always hated the Snodgrass’s,just because they had lived in this crappy apartment since the 1950s when it was a rental and bought in 69 when it went coop for eighty grand didn’t make them the kind of people she wanted to deal with but she had no choice and she was going to let them have it!
    “Don’t fuck with me” she screamed at the top of her lungs,banging her bony pilates fist on the oak arts and crafts table(it wasn’t even a Stickley she sniffed to herself)”I made this dump of a building what it is today,do you think that without me an apartment like this would be worth over 3 million?I’ll have a pack of lawyers all over your frumpy assholes and I will end up owning the whole building.Do I make myself clear?”

  42. Anonymous says:

    Madonna owned her townhouse on Great Cumberland Place then earlier this year bought the property next door from property developer Paul Davies after 8 months of negotiating. Mario Testino & Jennifer Saunders were supposedly both interested in it also. There is absolutely no way that she owns 6 townhouses in the area. They rarely come on the market & when they do they’re purchased usually within weeks [remember the central London market is far hotter than the manhattan market] The link you provided states the area is “an up-in-coming area” Ha! Thats the funniest thing ever – it’s one of the oldest, poshest areas in central London & has been forever.

    As for the C.P.W place … well, co-op boards are always dicks – whats new!

  43. Anonymous says:

    It looks like a beautiful space and, yes, I know the pictures were staged for Architectural Digest (I’m guessing) or some other magazine but the whole effect is rather souless. Her brother IS talented no doubt…but, again, it looks more like a suite at a posh hotel than a home.

  44. She has a house in Coral Gables Florida,and I have heard that she also owns another country estate in the Republic of Ireland.

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