SELLERS: Gilbert and Charlene Haroche
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 7,000-ish square feet, 7 bedrooms, 7 full and 2 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Over the weekend, with much fanfare and hullabaloo, the property gossips at the New York Times gleefully revealed that Liberty Travel co-founder Gilbert Haroche and wife Charlene heaved their grand(iose) full-floor residence at the legendary and legendarily high-nosed Sherry-Netherland building on New York City’s Fifth Avenue on the open market with a publicity generating $95,000,000 price tag.
It’s not clear (or reported) exactly when Mister and Missus Haroche purchased their sprawling Fifth Avenue aerie, but The New York Times did say they spent about two years on an extensive renovation that combined several 18th floor apartments into a single sprawler with approximately 7,000 square feet of voluptuous interior space and another 2,000-or-so square feet of elegantly planted terraces.
A trio of attended elevators open into a gilt-trimmed private landing with intricate mosaic tile floor that sumptuously shuttles residents and guests into a roomy formal living room outfitted with inlaid parquet floors and a wood-burning fireplace, not to mention tassel-trimmed draperies, champagne colored sofas, and a burled wood baby grand piano that Your Mama would bet our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, cost the spendy couple more than a well-equipped Mercedes-Benz.
Additional public and semi-private spaces include a stiff-lipped formal dining room with Midtown views, a window-lined corner solarium with direct view of the Central Park and the Plaza Hotel plus a library with even more inlaid parquet floors and high-gloss mahogany paneled walls and built-in wet bar.
The suburban mini-mansion-sized eat-in kitchen is expensively equipped with a large center island, bone-colored cabinetry with mottled gray slab granite counter tops and all the over-sized, commercial-style appliances—including a pair fridge/freezers and warming ovens—that one can and should expect in any home anywhere with a $95,000,000 price tag. Both the formal dining room and the kitchen overlook a south-facing terrace with an unobstructed (if oblique), multi-million dollar view of The Plaza and the towers of Midtown.
Current listing information, and recent, tongue-wagging reports, about Haroche’s decision to sell report the 15-room residence contains a total of 7 bedrooms with 7 full and 2 half bathrooms including a two-bedroom and two-bathroom guest suite with a small kitchen. The royalty-worthy master suite, accessed by a bowling-alley-length closet-lined corridor, features dual bathrooms and dressing rooms—one fully-lined with floor-to-ceiling mirrored cabinets—plus a private, north-facing terrace with skyline views of Upper East Side and Central Park. Two additional staff suites on separate floors allow residents and live-in domestics an unusual and highly desirable amount of privacy.
Living at the Sherry-Netherland is described in current marketing materials for Mister and Missus Haroche’s palatial apartment as “an expression of privilege since 1927,” and privileged living comes—natch—at an almost unimaginable sky-high price. A few quick flicks of the well-worn beads on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus determined the maintenance charges run a throat-constricting $648,000 per year, based on the approximately $54,000 per month figure reported in The New York Times.
Your Mama’s rudimentary—and entirely unscientific—calculations indicate it would take a New York state minimum wage worker who earns $7.25 per hour almost 45 years to pay just one year of Mister and Missus Haroche’s mind-altering maintenance fees. Mix a stiff gin & tonic and take a moment to ponder that, kittens, because it’s really quite extraordinary.
Anyhoo, the gargantuan monthly fees cover the owner’s share of building’s property taxes plus access to all of The Sherry’s elegant, five-star hotel amenities and services that include twice-a-day housekeeping and turn down service, 24-hour concierge, access to the swish private club Doubles (located in the basement) and room service—for additional fees, natch—available on demand from the swank Harry Cipriani restaurant located in the building’s lobby. What the fees do not include, as far as we can tell, is access to a fitness facility, so any of the sportier billionaires who might consider the purchase of this apartment will also need to lay out a few more pennies for a gym membership.
Your Mama don’t know a palm tree from a swimming pool but it seems to us that Mister and Missus Haroche might be wearing rose-tinted real estate glasses. The next most expensive apartment currently available on the open market at The Sherry is a spacious, U-shaped two-unit spread on the 16th floor listed as unfinished space for a $19,500,000. The Sherry-Netherland is unquestionably a supremely swank and impressive place to live or maintain a multi-million dollar pied a terre and the Haroche’s apartment is undeniably rare in its magnitude and location, even for New York City, but, the highest recorded price paid for an apartment in the building since the middle of 2004—according to the record keepers at StreetEasy—is $11,100,000, in March 2011, for an 8-room corner residence on the third floor with three bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms plus a windowless, cell-sized staff room with attached bathroom, an almost preposterously puny kitchen, two fireplaces and monthly maintenance fees of just over eighteen grand.
Then again, there have been several jaw-dropping purchases of condos the last year or so in New York City including a $70,000,000 duplex penthouse atop the Ritz-Carlton scooped up by gambling honcho Steve Wynn and an $88,000,000 simplex penthouse at 15 Central Park West picked up by Russian multi-billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. However, to date, as far as Your Mama knows, the most expensive co-operative apartment to ever change hands happened earlier this year for $52,500,000, a situation that makes the Haroche’s sky-high asking price seem a little rose-tinted. But then again, what do we know?
Well-heeled current and past residents of The Sherry are rumored and reported to include Miss Diana Ross, journalist/talk show host Charlie Rose, Barbra “only from the left side, please” Streisand, Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Warner, George Burns, mutual fund billionaire Charles Johnson, scented candle king Harry Slatkin and wife Laura (who now live in an regal and ritzy 19th-century Beaux Arts townhouse on East 74th Street bought in 2005 for $11,720,000 from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Arthur Penn), deceased tech titan turned art/trophy property collector and philanthropist Max Palevsky, fat-cat financier Roberto de Guardiola and his interior designer wife Joanne who reportedly own five contiguous combined units, as well as any number of other potentates, captains of industry and financiers who are so ridiculously rich and discreet that most of the children have never even heard of them.
The Old Grey Lady was invited in to the Haroche’s apartment for a tour and took lots more photographs for the children to feast on.
Turns out, this isn’t the first time Mister and Missus Haroche have put a $95,000,000 price tag on one of their properties. Back in 2007 and into 2008 they had Hillandale, their 263-or-so acre estate in Stamford, CT, up for sale with the same sky-high price. The estate does not appear to have been sold and it does not appear to be currently listed on the open market.
Hillandale, formerly owned by the illustrious Sulzberger family who own the New York Times, straddles the Connecticut and New York state border and, according to multiple reports from the time, is comprised of a 20,000-or-so square foot stone main mansion with 8 bedrooms, 10 full and 4 half bathrooms, 9 fireplaces, and an indoor pool plus four additional residences. There’s also a private chapel built with materials imported from France, an authentic tepee (whatever that is), a private lake, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, acres and acres of landscaped grounds that include painstakingly manicured parterre gardens and five-plus miles of private roads.