SELLER: Estate of Joan Rivers
LOCATION: New York, N.Y.
PRICE: $28 million
SIZE: 5,190 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: In case you didn’t already read or hear, the fantastically posh New York City penthouse of late, great comedienne Joan Rivers has, after a very long slog, sold for its full asking price of $28 million. The gilt-trimmed triplex condo, with monthly taxes and maintenance charges that tally up to $25,337 according to the most recent digital listings, was owned and occupied by the fearless, foul-mouthed and surgically youthful funny lady since at least 1998.
The ornate East 62nd Street penthouse spans 5,109 square feet on the top three floors of a Horace Trumbauer-designed turn-of the-20th-century limestone mansion just off Fifth Avenue and was first listed on the open market in May 2009 with an asking price of $25 million. With no takers it was taken off the market the following year and relisted in early 2012 at $29.5 million but, alas, again with no serious interest, the penthouse was taken off the market again in June 2013. In early 2015, some six months after Miz Rivers unexpectedly met her maker during a routine medical procedure gone wrong, the penthouse — ownership was posthumously transferred to daughter Melissa — was put up for sale on the open market again and with an asking price of $28 million. So the scuttlebutt and reportage goes, multiple offers rolled in and the deal closed quickly enough that many speculate it was an all-cash transaction. The buyer, though not yet named publicly, has been identified in the press as “Middle East royalty.”
The painstakingly restored and aristocratically decorated triplex — Rivers reportedly joked, “’It’s what Marie Antoinette would have done, if she had money” — centers on an exceptionally capacious living room and an almost as large adjoining music lounge, both with 23-foot ceilings, carved marble mantelpieces and walls lined with gilt-trimmed antique boiserie worthy of a French palace. Additional living spaces include an intimately scaled formal dining room with south-facing terrace access via French doors, a paneled library with built-in bookshelves and — for the suburban macmansion size of the penthouse — a remarkably picayune galley style kitchen that fortunately benefits from a big butler’s pantry. There are a total of four bedrooms, per the floor plan included with online listings, a count that includes a discrete mezzanine level staff suite above the kitchen and Miz Rivers’ nobility-worthy master suite on the uppermost floor that encompasses an octagonal entry vestibule, a roomy bedroom with corner fireplace, walk-in closet/dressing room, a bathroom that’s bigger than the designated staff bedroom, and a private south-facing terrace with oblique Central Park view. The triplex’s lowest level can be closed off from the rest of the penthouse as self-contained guest quarters and includes two en suite bedrooms, a central sitting room and an eat-in kitchen that is, in fact, larger than the penthouse’s main kitchen.
Miz Rivers, who kept a small suite in her daughter’s multimillion-dollar residence in Pacific Palisades, Calif., where she taped her low-budget but high-larious Internet-based interview talk show “In Bed With Joan,” also maintained a 76-acre country spread near New Milford in postcard-perfect Litchfield County, Connecticut. She bought the farm in 2000 for $1.438 million, gave it a full face lift and tummy tuck — natch — and put on the market over the summer of 2009 with an asking price of $6.5 million. The price plummeted to $4.9 million before it finally sold in the fall of 2013 for $4.4 million.
Listing photos and floor plan: Corcoran