SELLER: Joan Collins
LOCATON: New York City, NY
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today, dontchyall know, is the 79th birthday of still-globe-trotting actress, author and Showbiz icon Joan Collins. In honor of her birthday—and belatedly for her 2010 award-winning, star turn in the short film FETISH—Your Mama thought we’d take a quick look see at the New York City pied-a-terre she recently put back on the market with an asking price of $2,200,000.
Miz Collins—often carefully painted up like a geisha or like no body’s bizness, depending on one’s point of view of these things—has been successfully shakin’ her classically-trained money maker on stages, screens and tee-vees since the early 1950s. Although quite capable of nuanced character portrayal Miz Collins is arguably and may forever be most famous for her long-running boob-toob role as the filthy rich, Nat Sherman-smoking, one-dimensional villainess Alexis Colby on the iconically campy tee-vee program Dynasty.
The wildly successful night time soap story ran throughout the 1980s when women of a certain upper class and status dripped with diamonds at all times of day, wore shoulder padded and waist-nipping power suits that gave them imposing silhouettes, and lacquered their bubbled hair into armor-like helmets capable of deflecting even the sharpest of underhanded compliments from the other lunching ladies. Her character Alexis Colby—and to a certain extent she herself in real life (as well as her less-couth sister Jackie)—exemplified this sartorial trend that took on and whole-heartedly embraced a very artificial-looking notion of what constitutes chic-ness and glamor for jet-setting socialites.
Anyhoo, this is not, celebrity real estate aficionados may recall, the first time at the New York City real estate rodeo for Miz Collins who was born and bred in England but has been a citizen of the world with four far-flung residences. In May 2011 The Daily Mail quoted an article in Hello! magazine in which Miz Collins is quoted saying, “Many people have said to us, ‘how on earth can you afford to keep four homes?’ And the fact is, in this day and age, we can’t.” Now children. Use your noggins and don’t jump to ugly conclusions about Miz Collins financial affairs. Just because Diva told Hello! she can no longer afford to keep four multi-million dollar private residences around the world doesn’t mean she can’t well afford to keep three. Okay?
The high-gloss septuagenarian—who emphatically claimed in mid-2010 in she hadn’t fallen down vanity’s slippery slope of Botox or plastic surgery—has had her Midtown Manhattan pied-a-terre on the market on and off for both lease and sale at a variety of different prices since 2008 when it first popped up for rent at $15,000 per month. The price was quickly lowered to $12,000 and 5 or six weeks later dropped again to $10,000.
In March 2011 her three-unit, three-exposure, combo co-operative at The Dorchester—a mid-rise, white-brick, post-war wart of a building just two blocks from Tiffany’s flag ship shop on Fifth Avenue—was put up for sale at $2,895,000. Alas, no takers even though the price was repeatedly chipped away at until February 2012 when it was $2,200,000 and taken off the market.
In late 2011 Miz Collins and her real estates team went a little creative with their real estate efforts and offered her already combined crib as a package with the almost 2,000 square foot apartment next door, a two-unit combo owned by someone else. The opening asking price for the whole kit-‘n’-kaboodle was $4,775,000, a number that fell to $3,950,000 before it dropped off the market in late March 2012.
That’s all a long way around to mid-April (2012) when Miz Collins re-listed her unwanted Manhattan roost with a familiar asking price of $2,200,000. Listing information (and the floor plan included with it, below) shows the approximately 2,200 square foot apartment has separate but adjoining living and dining rooms with over-sized windows; a puny, windowless kitchen stuck in the middle of the apartment; two, well-separated bedrooms plus a den convertible to a third; and 3 compact bathrooms, only one of which has an actual window.
Current listing information, which identifies Miz Collins as the owner, describes the apartment as “a soignée sanctuary high above the city’s frenetic din.” First of all, it’s on the 8th floor and anyone who has ever lived in New York City knows you’re hardly above the city’s “din” on the 8th floor and in Midtown the 8th floor is unlikely to provide much in the way of a city view. Secondly, it’s just not soignée, at least not as shown in listing photographs. Sure, the dining room is spacious and some of Miz Collin’s things have a downtown-ish and once-again trendily au courant 1980s sleekness but the apartment itself is a fairly-ordinary and painfully featureless post-war snoozer with a slightly gawky layout—check out the confusing O-shaped entry hall—at least three different wood floor patterns and a lot of mirrored surfaces that unfortunately only reflect the numerous featureless features of the apartment.
The “formal” living room—shown furnished in listing photographs with a spare and vexing collection of comestibles that, along with other eye-crossing choices, include a zebra-stripe sofa and foot stool—connects through an extra-wide opening to the “formal” dining room where one entire, long wall is mirrored from the baseboard to almost the ceiling.
The NY Daily News ran additional photos of the Miz Collins’s apartment that show a black lacquer and mirrored pedestal with a too cliché orchid on top standing against the wall in the corridor just outside the clean-looking but decidedly-dated, all-white galley kitchen fitted with—you got it—a mirrored back splash.
Behind the dining room a long, narrow den—convertible to a bedroom—doesn’t appear in listing photos to have a single mirror but does have tomato red paint on the walls, white paint on the ceiling and a complete wall of built-in bookshelves with entertainment center.
In the master bedroom, Miz Collins (and her nice-gay or lady decorator) swapped the mirror motif for a sea of matching toile-like fabric used to create custom bed dressings, wall coverings and curtain swaggery. The lacquered white dressing table (with tilting mirror), side tables and credenza-thing are, quite simply, unspeakable.
The window-free master bathroom was, not surprisingly, given a glitzy, Art Deco decorative over-note with fully-mirrored cabinetry and walls mirrored from about the waist up that run just about all the way around the tiny room. This is a fun house-y space that could far-too-easily turn into a house of infinitely-reflected horrors with a single naked person brushing his teeth or trimming her nose hairs. Think about that next time you consider installing wrap-around mirrors in your bathroom.
Listing information shows Miz Collin’s New York apartment carries monthly common charges of $2,915 that add to the pet-friendly building’s community pot that pays for the white-glove services that include full-time doormen, concierge, package-room people and laundry facilities. Although we can’t confirm Your Mama imagines the housekeeping services provided by the building cost extra.
Miz Collins and her much (much) younger theater producer fifth husband Percy Gibson maintain three other residences including a 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom, high-floor condo at the star-studded Sierra Towers building in Los Angeles purchased in December 2007 for $2,700,000.
Mister and Missus Collins-Gibson also keep a secluded villa high in the mountains of La Croix-Valmer, not so far from the impossibly haute (and kinda vulgar) yachting stop of St. Tropez in the south of France, as well as a sizable flat in London’s uppity Belgravia area. A kindly gent we’ll call Tom Collins—no relation to Miz Collins—helpfully pointed us in to multi-page article from 2010 in—surprise!—Hello! magazine chock full of photos of the centrally-located London apartment she’s owned 20 (or so years). Your Mama might label the day-core as an elegant example of nouveau landed gentry meets Tinseltown and she herself described it as, “cosy,” and “traditional English, but with a touch of 18th-century French.” Y’all can call it what you will.
listing photos and floor plan: Core