SELLER: Oksana Baiul
LOCATION: Cliffside Park, NJ
SIZE: 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: One day last week, while holed up in our city view hotel room in New York City we unexpectedly received a covert communique from a nice gal in New Jesery—let’s just call her Suhbeenuh Snitcharoohoo—who claimed intimate knowledge of a certain high-rise apartment tower in Cliffside Park (NJ) where Ukranian-born and -bred Olympic Gold medal winning figure skater Oksana Baiul has long lived in a high-floor apartment that she recently triple salchowed onto the open market a week or so ago with an asking price of $799,000.
Miss Baiul, who moved to the United States after the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway to pursue a somewhat short-lived professional career in the Ice Follies (or whatever the professional ice skating circuit is called), is perhaps best known for the dramatic and dizzying velocity of her flying camel into a donut spin maneuver (seen here at the minute mark), a modified catch-foot camel in which Miss Baiul effortlessly hiked one of her straw thin but clearly quite powerful legs up from behind her by the skate blade to form an “O” shape parallel to the ice, all while spinning like a goddam dervish on crack. Have mercy, puppies. Forget about how it makes Your Mama need a muscle relaxer just to watch ice gliding contortionists like Miss Baiul, we just can’t fathom how she can can spin like that without barfing up her breakfast.
Iffin we were bein’ honest—and we always are—we’d confess that despite living in New York City for nearly 15 years, prior to Missus Snitcharoohoo’s digital missive we had neither visited nor even heard of Cliffside Park, NJ and we certainly hadn’t an iota the self-described “small suburban community” atop the The Palisades ridge line on the west side of the mighty Hudson River directly across from the Morningside Heights neighborhood near the northern reaches of Manhattan.
Property records show Miss Baiul acquired her New Jersey nest in April 1998 when she paid $465,000 for her 1,646 square foot condo crib at at The Carlyle Towers, a massive, architecturally suspicious residential complex—not surprisingly designed by the architects at Kostas Kondylis Associates—with sensational panoramic views that extend up to the George Washington Bridge, across to the Manhattan skyline and down to Statue of Liberty. The lobby of the building, fronted by a High ’80s-style glass-enclosed porte cochere and staffed 24-7 with attentive doorman and careful valet parking attendants, features glistening marble floors, scads of brass accents, a 40-foot water feature, and a couple of glammy (and gaudy) curved glass elevators. The colossal, two-tower, 370-unit condo complex affords residents access to a full-service fitness facility with indoor pool and restaurant, a second outdoor swimming pool and expansive landscaped terrace atop the multi-level parking structure, a putting green and, somewhat idiosyncratically, a croquet court.
According to Missus Snitcharoohoo, since the gold medalist moved her ice skates and bedazzled leotards to The Carlyle Towers, Cliffside Park in general and the relatively upscale complex in particular has become thick with “rich Russians and Asians” looking to soak up a smidgen of Miss Baiul’s international celebrity through property proximity. Natch, we have no idea if that’s true or not but we also have no reason to doubt Missus Snitcharoohoo who, as we said, claims intimate knowledge of The Carlyle Towers complex.
Listing information and marketing materials available online show Miss Baiul’s high floor aerie has glossy chestnut-colored hardwood floors, miles of custom paneling and built-in mill work, custom floor-to-ceiling closets, long walls of windows that reach almost down to the floor and up to the ceiling, marble-sheathed bathrooms, 10 foot ceilings and solid wood 7-foot doors, and an in-unit washer and dryer. A fairly narrow, glass-railed 20-foot long balcony, accessible from both the living and dining rooms, would certainly be a thrilling spot to take in the twinkling Manhattan skyline were in not for the simple fact that even many non-acrophobics would be induced into involuntary hissy fits of anxiety at the mere thought of standing on that-there vertiginous balcony.
Missus Snitcharoohoohoo tattled that the listing photos depict Miss Baiul’s apartment all but emptied of most of the ice skater’s best artworks and furnishings and that before the decorative thinning the apartment reflected Miss Baiul’s “over the top but stunning taste.” She says toe-may-toe and we say toe-mah-toe, right? One and maybe even two brilliantly gilded baroque or neoclassical something or others in a mostly architecturally featureless and spacious but far from huge 2 bedroom condo could be fab if handled in just the right way but a condo full? Even a sparely dressed condo full? Well, that sort of thing just makes Your Mama feel fidgety and sweaty, regardless of the quality of the furnishings or the sublime brilliance of the nice, gay or lady decorator.
We know absolutely nada zilch kapooey about real estate in that particularly neck of New Jersey but gabby Missus Snitcharoohoo assured Your Mama Miss Baiul’s south tower two bedroom in Cliffside Park is absolutely worth more than a million bucks and the $799,000 asking price decidedly aggressive.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with her, just few days after first contacted by Missus Snitcharoohoo we received a follow-up note in which she passed along the budding building gossip about how a bidding war broke had out between “a bunch of Russians and Koreans” and that the (alleged) offer accepted by Miss Baiul was an all-cash one at more than a million bucks. Bada-bing! Use yer noggins now children, Your Mama has zero direct knowledge about any details of any alleged sale of Miss Baiul’s apartment. We’re just passing along a little of the scuttlebutt that our Missus Snitcharoohoo told us has been floating around both towers of the twin-towered complex.
Missus Snitcheroo also passed along the additional gossip going ’round that Miss Baiul also quietly sold her house in the Hamptons for around $5,000,000 and that she and “her man” have purchased a heavily fortified and “massive mansion.” Your Mama has no idea who Miss Baiul’s man is and we were not able to verify whether Miss Baiul recently acquired a massive new mansion or if she owns (or ever owned) property in the Hamptons. Property records do suggest—but aren’t entirely clear—that Miss Baiul may have once owned a house in an upscale enclave nestled into the Talcott Mountain State Park outside of Hartford, CT.
listing photos: Ridgeco Realty via Coldwell Banker