High-end residential real estate in New York City is nothing if not cutthroat, so it’s really no surprise that within a week of silver screen legend Lauren Bacall’s Aug. 12 passing, speculation regarding the fate of her high-floor apartment in New York City’s fabled Dakota building made its way into the property gossip columns. (Rumor has it Bacall’s bedsit of 50-plus years will soon go up for sale.)
Uncommonly gorgeous, husky-voiced and famously foul-mouthed, the Bronx-born and -bred actress — nee Betty Perske — bought the Central Park West co-operative spread in 1961 for just $48,000. She shared it with second husband Jason Robards until they split in the late ’60s, and raised her three children there. Details have yet to emerge, but the apartment was appraised shortly before her death at about $9 million, and was described in Vanity Fair in 2011 as “cavernous” with “wood trimmed parlor” and “huge windows” that “overlook Central Park, 30 feet above the tree line.”
Current residents whom Ms. Bacall fraternized with at the annual party each fall in the building’s illustrious courtyard include a flotilla of financiers and a healthy number of celebs like Maury Povich, Connie Chung, Roberta Flack and Yoko Ono, who owns not one but several units in the building. Former famous residents of the storied apartment house include Boris Karloff, Judy Garland, Rudolph Nureyev, Rex Reed and Gilda Radner, who sold her place to football’s John Madden. Albert Maysles made a bit of a stink in 2005, when the all-powerful board rejected a bid by Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas to buy his three-bedroom apartment. So the scuttlebutt goes, other rich-and-famous would-be residents who had bids for digs at the near-mythic building rejected include Madonna, Billy Joel, Judd Apatow, Tea Leoni, Alex Rodriguez, Carly Simon and Cher.