The Palatial New York City Penthouse of Joan Rivers Sells For Full Asking Price

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

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  1. Viva! says:

    RIP Joan – I adored her and will miss her for the rest of my life. I’m so glad I saw her live and witnesses trailblazing, fearless talent in the flesh.

    Melissa has the cross to bear of being the child of a legend whose life will forever eclipse her own. I hope she enjoys the fortune her mother built and enjoys many happy decades with her son, Joan would have wanted that.

  2. Desert Donna says:

    Well said Rabbi. If only her daughter had an ounce of talent or her Mothers charitable spirit.

  3. Rabbi Hedda LaCasa says:

    Joan Rivers worked extraordinarily hard, encountered severe misogyny in the boys only world of stand-up comedy, and well-deserved her hard-earned success. While neither her humor nor home are of my taste, both are magnificent. The high ceilings proportionately complement the enormous drawing and music rooms, which would be most ideally heated today with radiant floor heating.

    Ms. Rivers also excelled in the kitchen. Unlike many wealthy individuals who publicize their philanthropic entertaining, Ms. Rivers provided truly gracious and warm in-home hospitality, and quietly gave personal millions to charity.

    May her memory be a blessing.

  4. T'omm J'Onzz says:

    from the article, and photos with floor plan, plus a little browsing, and i believe the address is 9 E. 62nd St. perhaps not ironically or coincidentally, Bing Maps lists businesses at that address as Affordable Plastic Surgery and J Tav Clinical Skincare; LOL!

    i think it’s lovely from an architectural and historical design perspective, but maybe not so much my style (unless i just had gobs of money that i didn’t know with what to do); the library is a little… rugged and jungle-y, doesn’t particularly match with the rest, including the terrace(s) which makes a third theme (and is probably the best, IMO).

    • T'omm J'Onzz says:

      well, typical of Bing/MS, it’s now saying 9 E. 62nd isn’t where and what it said when i clicked the map for the address; searching the address and getting the address from the map yield different results, and clicking where the search says is 9 says that it’s 13. it’s the second south-facing building, whatever that address may actually be.

  5. Mark says:

    Goodness! How does one heat a room 7-meter-high ceiling?! It seems so wasteful. Lil’?

    What’s the deal with these high ceilings?

    Why were they so popular?

    • lil' gay boy says:

      The Rabbi touched upon one of the reasons for high ceilings above — many architectural contemporaries of Trumbauer practiced the usage of the golden ratio in their designs; it produces an interior space that is pleasing to the eye as well as, some maintain, acoustically comfortable. Another aspect of comfort with high ceilings is that in the pre-air-conditioned age these rooms allowed the hot air to rise above the occupants, keeping them cooler. Double-hung sashes allowed for good air circulation when both top & bottom were open.

      While the decor is a tad too fussy for my taste, it is faithful to the architecture.

  6. Desert Donna says:

    She was so funny and her daughter is so sad. No talent and all she talks about is money money. She could not even describe how she would celebrate her Mom’s birthday since passing on The View. Take care of your son and enjoy life Melissa.

  7. Tony says:

    I thought I read that she bought this place in the 80’s too. I also have read from multiple sources that Joan Rivers had already sold this place before she died. I heard that she had downsized to just the Connecticut home.

  8. Bill B. says:

    Nobody wanted this atrocity of a condo. She had to die to make it worth this kind of money. Somebody is going to have to spend many millions more to get it into a realistic livable space unless it was purchased by some eccentric who wants to live completely out of touch with reality. This place is hideous.

  9. Todd says:

    Did you really have to say “bought the farm”? ;-)

  10. Watcher says:

    Thought she bought this place in the late 80’s when she sold the big Bel Air house.
    And the CT house was torn down, except for a massive stone fireplace, and rebuilt with higher ceilings and a different layout but on the same foundation.

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