Helen Gurley Brown’s Penthouse Listed at $20 Million

Legendary Cosmopolitan editrix-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown told Vanity Fair in 2007 that her four-story apartment, which extends up into one of the three towers of the Beresford building on New York City’s Central Park West was “the best apartment in New York City.” And this month, more than three years after her death, the magnificently eccentric penthouse popped up for sale at $20 million. The gutsy, Chanel-clad sexual-politics pioneer and her late husband, four-time Oscar-nominated producer David Brown, purchased the oddball aerie in the 1970s from director Mike Nichols.

Done up in a bold and decidedly camp-tinged glamour, the blush-pink living room stretches to 30 feet, with hair-straightening park and skyline views and downright kooky floral and leopard print carpeting, while the dining room, lined with cushioned banquettes, is slathered in lacquered lipstick-red paint. With just one proper bedroom — a full-floor master with dressing room and bubble-gum-hued shag carpeting — there are two puny staff bedrooms and a bathroom tucked up under the kitchen, and the en suite library, just off the entrance gallery, could easily be converted to another bedroom. A top floor observatory has 17-foot ceilings and massive arched windows, as well as candy-apple red-shag carpeting, and in addition to a vertiginous, three-foot wide terrace that wraps around the living room, there are two additional terraces, both off the stair landing outside the master bedroom. One of them, at nearly 2,300 square feet, is surely among the largest on Central Park West.

Designed by celebrated architect Emory Roth, and built in the late 1920s, before apartment-house living was fashionable (even if the apartment was as large as a private house), the Beresford has long attracted high-profile residents. The two other tower penthouses are reportedly owned by retired Coach CEO Lew Frankfort and tennis great John McEnroe, and a short list of the many past and present residents includes Rock Hudson, Jerry Seinfeld, Glenn Close, Diana Ross and Tony Randall.

listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby’s International Realty

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  1. opinionfree says:

    You have to love a couple where the wife says pink-everything and the husband is cool with it. They must have been quite the pair.

  2. Wrinklebottom says:

    I had a chance to visit this apartment in 1996 (a friend was David Brown’s personal assistant, and she brought us up to see it one day when the Brown’s were out of town)…the decor was essentially the same as seen here, except for the top floor conservatory, which was playfully jungle-themed and filled with lots of tropical plants, trees and giant stuffed animals like elephants, snakes, giraffes, etc. like the type you’d see at FAO Schwartz…it might not be to most people’s taste, but the place was a trip and totally in character with how fun-loving the Brown’s were as people, even well into old age…

  3. Rabbi Hedda LaCasa says:

    The former Gurley-Brown apartment occupies the southeast tower and is ideally positioned, as it directly views Central Park and the set-back Museum of Natural History/Hayden Planetarium. The McEnroe apartment occupies the northeast tower, and also overlooks Central Park. The Frankfort apartment occupies the southwest tower, views the museum and Holy Land of New Jersey, was renovated, damaged by fire, re-renovated, and can be viewed on the Ferguson-Shamamian website.

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