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SELLER: Bruce Barnes
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $26,900,000
SIZE: 5,100 square feet (approx.), 2-3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today is a travel day for Your Mama so we don’t have the time to prattle on (and on and on) like we usually do about some celebrity owned (mc)mansion. Instead, and in order to keep the children’s real estate appetites whetted, we’re gonna be relatively brief (and not very snarky) and serve up some hardcore floor plan porn in the form of a sprawling park-view apartment at the legendary Dakota building on New York City’s Upper West Side. Later we’ll have us some real estate porn dessert with a less artisnial-feeling and much less expensive but still insanely swank Fifth Avenue penthouse on the Upper East Side.

First up, an approximately 5,100 square foot sixth floor spread at the Dakota listed in early April (2012) with a sky-high asking price of $26,900,000 and owned for the last 17 years by a low-profile financier and philanthropist named Bruce Barnes. Mister Barnes is—or, until recently, was, we’re not sure—the president of the powerful and sometimes capricious board at the Dakota

Although in a letter to the board and other residents (quoted in the Post via The Observer) he explained his desire to downsize was because his “apartment is very large for two people, and several of the rooms are rarely used,” there has been some speculation Mister Barnes’ decision to resign his post as Mister Dakota Board President and sell his Dakota digs after 17 years may (or may not) have something to do with the ugly and, as far as we know, ongoing brouhaha that ensued when hedge fund fat cat Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher Jr.—one of the buildings few black residents and a former board president—filed a racial discrimination ‘the story goes, for his mother’s use.

The 10-room apartment, according to the floor plan included with current listing information (above), has a rare and eye-popping 100 feet of above-the-trees Central Park frontage. The current configuration allows for 2 proper bedrooms with 3 bathrooms including a master suite with private study and walk-in closet. The attached master bathroom has honed onyx detailing and 5 antique shower heads in the party-sized shower.

There are 7 working wood-burning fireplaces, including one in the mahogany-paneled entry vestibule and two in the master suite. Floor to ceiling windows in the 650-plus square foot formal living room open to two Juliet balconies and one itty-bitty terrace off the master bedroom has the swooniest of swoony views that encompasses the entirety of Central Park, the towers of Midtown and the hoity-toity apartment buildings that line Fifth Avenue and Central Park South.

The fully modernized yet immaculately preserved apartment—it has an almost hidden central air conditioning system, a luxury not available in the 1880s when the Dakota was built—retains much if not all of its original 19th-century architectural detailing that includes 12-foot ceilings, heavy plaster moldings, hand-carved wood work, pocket doors, and extra-deep wood-lined window frames.

Mister Barnes and his man-friend Joseph Cunningham have fairly well filled the apartment with a thoughtfully curated (and no-doubt hidjously expensively) collection of Arts and Crafts hoozygoozies and whatchamacallits and the furniture is almost all exquisite Mission style stuff that Your Mama imagines to be pedigreed, papered and museum quality.

Other high profile residents of the Dakota include Lauren Bacall, Roberta Flack, Maury Povich and Connie Chung (who own two apartments) and Yoko Ono (who, it is our understanding, owns several apartments and reportedly brings sushi to the annual, residents only pot luck/meet-n-greet.)

Although the apartment is one of the largest in the building it is also by far the most expensive unit currently on the open market. The next most expensive unit currently available is an approximately 4,500 square foot fourth floor unit with no direct park view. The Barnes’ apartment is also priced well above the highest price ever paid for an apartment in the building. That was for Lenny Bernstein’s simalarly-sized second floor place that sold in 2008 for $20,500,000 to Cheryl and Philip Milstein, a real estate executive heir to a substantial and diversified fortune built primarily on real estate and banking.

listing photos and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens