SELLER: Roberta Flack
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: (approx.) 2,000 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Iconic singer/songwriter Roberta Flack must have gotten a serious bee in her real estate bonnet about selling her apartment at the legendary Dakota building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan because the four-time Grammy winner karate-chopped the asking price of her longtime home by a little more than half of a million dollars down to $6,995,000.
The “Killing Me Softly” singer, a Dakota resident for about 40 years, first put the co-operative apartment up for sale over the summer of 2015 with an in-hindsight unrealistically utopian asking price of $9.5 million. The price plummeted to $8.9 million before it was taken off the market in late spring 2016 only to come back on the market several months later with a vastly lower but still too optimistic $7.5 million price tag. Current listings show the roughly 2,000-square-foot apartment, which has airy 12-foot ceilings and carries elephantine monthly common charges of $8,866, was originally designed with three bedrooms and three bathrooms but at some point the layout was significantly altered and is nowadays configured with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
A closet-lined entrance gallery leads to a loft-like combination living and dining room that stretches to more than 35-feet-long and is completely lined with dizzying and decoratively outré dance studio-like floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The sunny, south-facing space, originally designed as two separate rooms and plenty large enough to comfortably accommodate a grand piano, has two fireplaces, one in the living room area and the other in the dining area. There’s also a wet bar, a bowed bay window in the living room with oblique views over Central Park, and an over-sized sash window in the dining area that provides access to a slender wrought-iron railed Juliet balcony that runs almost the full length of the apartment.
Both bedrooms are amply proportioned and south-facing with a fireplace and generous closet space, all excellent and desirable features, to be sure. But unfortunately, especially for a seven million dollar apartment, neither has direct access to a bathroom. The larger of the two bathrooms, a compartmentalized space presumably used as the master bathroom, is inelegantly located just off the foyer and inconveniently across a hallway from the master bedroom while the guest bathroom is even less conveniently and more awkwardly tucked way into the back corner of a service area behind the small, galley-style kitchen.
The apartment, slathered in white paint, has had the original oak floors lightened to a bone color, a change that will probably not please architectural purists, but listing details state the apartment none-the-less retains myriad pre-war architectural details including carved mahogany and ash doors and door frames, plaster moldings, three original fireplace mantelpieces and the original shutters over the windows.
So the scuttlebutt goes, scads of famous folk who attempted to buy at the Dakota were rejected down by the board, among them Billy Joel, Carly Simon, Gene Simmons and Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas who in 2005 unsuccessfully attempted to buy a duplex apartment from award winning documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles of “Grey Gardens” fame. The prestigious apartment house, built in 1884 and designed by architect Henry J. Hardenbergh, who also designed the Plaza Hotel, has none-the-less been home to a large number of artists, actors and other financially successful creative types including Leonard Bernstein, Rosemary Clooney, Gilda Radnor, Lillian Gish, Boris Karloff and Rudolph Nureyev. John Lennon was brutally gunned down in front of the building in 1980 but his avant garde artist widow Yoko Ono still owns several units in the building; A nine-room unit once owned by Judy Garland is available at $12.5 million after first hitting the market a year ago at $16.75 million; Lauren Bacall’s 4,000-square-foot apartment, where late and famously feisty actress lived for more than 50 years, was sold in December 2015 for $21 million to hedge fund fat cat Ronald Beck; and the sprawling, multi-unit combination spread of powerhouse film producer Jane Rosenthal and her financier husband was put up for sale in March 2016 at $39 million but was taken off the market shortly after the first of this year.
Listing photos and floor plan: Warburg Realty