SELLER: Denise Rich
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 12,000 square feet (approx.), 7 bedrooms, 9 full and 2 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Perhaps emboldened by the recent record breaking (and bone chilling) $88,000,000 sale of Sandy Weill’s Mica Ertugun-decorated penthouse at 15 Central Park West to a twenty-something year old heiress to a Russian fertilizer fortune, or maybe, as stated in the New York Post this morning, with a desire to downsize, songwriter/socialite/philanthropist and big-shit political fundraiser Denise Rich has hoisted her legendary, super-sized Fifth Avenue penthouse on the market with a $65,000,000 asking price.
The price makes it the most expensive co-operative apartment currently on the open market in New York City, edging out the monumentally scaled (if somewhat awkwardly configured) duplex at 740 Park Avenue that Time Warner widow and philanthropist Courtney Sale Ross officially put on the block late last year with a sixty million dollar price tag.
Miz Rich, for those who don’t know, was married for thirty years to disgraced (but still filthy rich) financier Marc Rich who famously fled to Switzerland in the mid-1980s after then U.S. Federal Prosecutor—and eventual mayor of New York and pie-in-the-sky presidential candidate—Rudy Guiliani filed charges against him for tax evasion and illegal oil trading with Iran or some such other nefarious money-minting nonsense. Mister Rich, the more politically conscious children may recall, was very controversially pardoned by Bill Clinton in the dying hours of his presidency in 2001.
Miz Rich remained wedded to Mister Rich until 1996, long after he became a fugitive living a relatively quiet, heavily-secured and extremely deluxe life in some of Switzerland’s swankier locales. Although divorced five years earlier, Miz Rich is rumored to have been an overnight guest at the White House the night before her ex-husband was pardoned in 2001 and she not surprisingly invoked the 5th Amendment when she was later questioned at a congressional hearing convened to determine if her ex-husband’s pardon might have been brought about as a result of her considerable contributions to the Democratic Party in general and the Clinton Library in particular.
Despite her billionaire ex-husband’s vast wealth—and her rumored $1-200,000,000 divorce settlement—Miz Rich earns plenty of her own moolah penning pop songs for radio-friendly stars like Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Jessica Simpson, Marc Anthony, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige. She has thrice been nominated for a Grammy but, sadly for her, always a bridesmaid at the Grammys but never a bride….
Anyhoo, Your Mama isn’t sure exactly when Miz Rich purchased her suburban mcmansion-sized penthouse atop the the all but architecturally featureless post-war Park V building. That’s pronounced in the French, natch, as Park Sahnk. The limestone-based building sits heavy on the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 60th Street across from Central Park and shares a fah-fah-froo-froo block with the much more swellegant, architecturally articulated, uni-towered (and plainly phallic) Sherry Netherland Hotel. The building offers residents white glove services (all the door men, concierges, and etc. a songwriting chatelaine could require) as well as a access to a private garage and an in-building fitness room. Of course, Miz Rich has no need to embarrass herself in front of her neighbors with visible sweat stains since she’s got a small gym of her own located on the lower level of her penthouse with panoramic Central Park and city views, a steam shower, sauna, and bidet-equipped bathroom.
Floor plans included with current listing information (above) show not just one but two elevators open directly into the penthouse. The two entry areas converge in a vast, sky-lit 1,200-plus square foot so-called “grand salon” outfitted with lattice patterned striated marble floors, and over-sized sliding windows that allow access to a narrow wrap-around terrace. We find the plethora of champagne and beige furnishings and dated-looking day-core utterly lackluster (although, we imagine, heinously expensive) but there’s some very serious blue chip artwork hanging on the walls that along with the juicy park and city views sort of makes everything else irrelevant.
The comparatively puny formal dining room seats 22—as per listing information—and opens to a slim planted terrace with head on Central Park views. The main service areas of the penthouse, as expected pushed back behind the dining room, encompass an industrially-minded stainless steel and granite kitchen, separate walk-in pantry, spacious laundry room with two washers and two dryers, and 1 full and 1 half bathroom. Just off the kitchen a tucked away staircase winds down to the penthouse’s lower level staff and service wing that includes an office, second eat-in kitchen and, squirreled away behind the service elevator, a prison cell-sized staff bedroom and compact, windowless bathroom
Back upstairs on the other side of the penthouse, a library lined with lustrous, custom-milled Fiddleback mahogany offers Miz Rich cozier quarters with a wood-burning fireplace, slim private terrace, hooch-hound lovers wet bar, and a slew of built-in shelves villed with dozens of framed photographs.
The colossal master suite consumes the entire southwest end of the gigantic penthouse’s upper floor and includes a living room-sized sitting room, big bedroom with gas fireplace and private terrace, a couple of walk-in closets, a pair of fitted dressing rooms, and two bathrooms, the larger with private cubicle for the terlit and bidey, more counter space than most Manhattan kitchens, and a separate jetted tub and over-sized, double-headed, glass enclosed shower stall.
A 30-foot long media room and adjoining billiards/dining room at the extreme rear of the lower level both have easy access to a small(ish) third kitchen and three family/guest bedroom suites, each with ample closet space, private bathroom and access to a planted terrace, line up along the north side of the apartment. Besides the family quarters and service areas, the lower level of the penthouse also includes the aforementioned park view gym, a room marked “bedroom” on the floor plan but more likely—we imagine—to be used for massages and yoga, and a separate (elevator) entrance that connects to Miz Rich’s own million dollar (and we hope fully sound-proofed) recording studio.
The third level roof terrace measures, by our rudimentary count, nearly 4,000 square feet and is only accessible, apparently, by traipsing through the apartment’s service area and climbing one of the building’s two interior service stairs. While access to the roof terrace lacks a je ne se qua one might logically expect in a $65,000,000 penthouse, it does offers the exact sort of city and park views of which many New York City real estate dreams are made.
Miz Rich is a well-known party thrower, both for fun and to support her various philanthropic involvements. She’s an impressively Rolodexed, globe-trotting gal with her bejeweled finger in lots of social pots who can pull in a lot of high profile power players from the media, entertainment, social and political worlds. It is at one of Miz Rich’s dinner parties where conversation companions might include the likes of Patti Labelle, the Dalai Lama, Donna Karan, Nancy Pelosi and Guy Laliberté.**
**Use yer noggins nuggets, we have no idea if any of those people have ever, actually set a foot in Miz Rich’s penthouse. We’re just illustrating the genre and tenor of the guests one could easily expect to find wolfing down canapé, sucking down white wine and marveling vapidly about the view during one of Miz Rich’s notoriously lavish dinner parties or fundraisers.
So the story goes, one winter Miz Rich hosted a party at her penthouse for which she—no doubt at great expense—transformed her roof terrace into an outdoor ice skating rink. While guests nattered on about the weather and the G8 Summit—or whatever fancy people talk about at winter-time parties held in 12,000 square foot Fifth Avenue penthouses, professional ice skaters dressed in little more than gold body paint swooped and salchowed across the ice. We’re not sure whether to be amused, flabbergasted or depressed by such an (alleged) occurrence.
A 2001 article in Vanity Fair, which succinctly and accurately described Miz Rich’s penthouse as a “mammoth two-story creamy-beige marbled apartment,” revealed the jet setter rolls with small army of staff that at that time included, “six maids, two butlers, a cook, and a secretary, as well as two drivers, two masseuses, a hairdresser, a trainer, a yoga instructor, and a personal photographer on call.” She also, at that time, maintained staffs at her luxury homes in both Southampton (NY) and Aspen (CO). A later report from 2007 in the New York Observer stated Miz Rich “reportedly has a staff of 20 (personal healer and yoga guru included),” that includes “something named a ‘wardrobe calibrator,'” whatever the holy crap that is.
In July 2007 one of Missus Rich’s daughters, stand up comic Daniella and her money manager man-mate Richard Kilstock, dropped $3,900,000 for a lower floor crib with a mirrored entrance hall, formal living and dining rooms, 2 bedrooms, 3.5 marble bathrooms, and a staff room/office with Murphy bed.
The Park V is the same building, New York City real estate watchers will recall, where Los Angeles-based billionaire businessman David Geffen dropped $14,170,000 in early 2010 on a full floor, two unit combination spread he purchased from entertainment industry executive Robert A. Daly and his extraordinarily accomplished Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer/songwriter wife Carole Bayer Sager. Your Mama hears from someone in the position to know that Mister Geffen’s newly remodeled spread—all worked over by Rose Tarlow, we’re told—includes a major park view master bedroom where an entire panel of glass in the bathroom can, at the flip of a switch, go from fully opaque to completely clear so that Mister Geffen (and his shower sharing friends) can have a view of the park through the bedroom windows.
We’re a bit muddled on the exact holdings currently in Miz Rich’s real estate property portfolio. She once owned (and may still own) a ski house in Aspen—but, of course, dahling—and property records show in the late 1990s she paid $3,200,000 for a near 3-acre estate a block from the beach on the expensive shore of Coopers Neck Pond in Southampton (NY) with a 7 bedroom and 9 bathroom main mansion. At some point, we’re not sure exactly when, records show Miz Rich sold her Hamptons house for an undisclosed price to New York City-based investor and property developer Steve Witkoff. We’d be somewhat shocked if Miz Rich doesn’t own another high-maintenance mansion in the Hamptons where she spends but a few summer weekends each year but our not particularly thorough or unscientific crawl through the internets didn’t turn up any direct evidence of such a thing.
Since 2007 Miz Rich has owned a 150-plus foot long yacht she dubbed Lady Joy (above). She says she bought the boat after decades and millions spent on yacht charters with male captains who sometimes balked and/or copped a ‘tude when she—as ought to have been her privilege as the lessee—requested the boat be moved here or there. The four-deck Lady Joy—equipped with an elevator and helmed by a female captain, dontcha know—has a crew of 11, accommodates 12 guests in 6-en suite staterooms, and includes an armada of water toys plus two Vespa scooters for land explorations, Big spenders can, should they be inclined, charter Lady Joy for about a quarter million clams a week, not counting fuel costs or dockage fees.
Miz Rich told the New York Post she planned to downsize into a smaller apartment—one that will no doubt be three or four times the size of the average American home—and split her time between New York City and Europe where her both of her surviving three daughters—and ex-husband—live.