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Townhouse Tuesday: Jack and Alison Schneider

SELLERS: Jack and Alison Schneider
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $33,500,000
SIZE: 13,048 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 full and 5 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Several days ago one of our unofficial (and unpaid) aide de camps—that would be dear, sweet Hot Chocolate—thoughfully forwarded Your Mama a link to a real knee-buckler of a New York City townhouse recently hoisted on the market with a hardly unheard of but none-the-less ear-piercing price tag of $33,500,000.

A quick peep and poke around the public property records informed Your Mama the decked-out, dazzling and done-done-done townhouse, desirably located just off Fifth Avenue on East 75th Street, belongs to a (possibly former) hedge fund manager named Jack Schneider and his wife Alison Schneider (née Cayne) who paid $8,250,000 for the the urban and urbane mansion in January 2002.

Missus Schneider, dontchyall know, was born into great Wall Street privilege as the daughter of now-fallen and much-loathed Wall Street fat cat Jimmy Cayne, the former CEO of once mighty and now-shuttered investment bank Bear Stearns. The children may recall that Daddy Cayne literally played bridge in Detroit while his professional (and proverbial) Rome burned to the ground in the magnificent mortgage meltdown and economic crisis of 2007-08. At one point Mister Cayne was worth more than a billion and a half bucks; Today he’s considerably less rich but nowhere near poor. As far as we can tell, Daddy Cayne and Missus Cayne still own a pair of adjacent apartments at The Plaza that overlook Central Park, total 3,092 square feet, and were bought in early 2008 for, according to Streeteasy, a combined $28,244,559.

Missus Schneider (née Cayne) caused a bit of a stink of her own in late January 2007 when she was quoted in The Old Grey Lady herself, The New York Times. At the time there was a bit of a brouhaha and kerfuffle going doing at the exclusive and (shockingly) expensive pre-school at The 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side where tuition ranges from $13,500 to $27,150 per year…for pre-school. The school’s director had recently sent out a letter that requested parents who send and pick up their kids in chauffeur driven cars not tie up the street with unnecessary idling. The letter went on to bizarrely threaten parents that failure to follow the new no-idling rule could, as per The Times, “hinder their children’s chances of getting into the kindergarten of their choice.” Missus Schneider, bless her heart, was cattily pointed out by another parent at the school as someone who sends and picks up her kids in a chauffeur-driven car. When queried about the letter by The Times reporter Missus Schneider said, ”I got the letter, but I don’t really have any feelings about it one way or the other. It’s kind of boring. It’s about cars and parking.” In other words, Madam S. don’t give a shit. 
Anyhoo, Your Mama thought Mister and Missus Schneider’s titanic and totally remodeled townhouse might knock the real estate socks off some of even the most jaded of the children and put it on our list of properties to discuss. Alas, we were once again, like with the Lea Michele business earlier today, beat to the blogging punch by those ever-industrious kids at Curbed who briefly discussed the townhouse yesterday. Never-the-less…

At the time Mister and Missus Schneider bought their own high-toned, (approximately) 25-foot wide townhouse, then just an empty shell, the 1920s limestone mansion measured, according to online documentation we espied, 9,759 square feet. The house, originally built in 1872 with the existing and restored limestone façade added in 1917, underwent after a three-year renovation in the early- to mid-Aughts overseen by accomplished architect Peter Pennoyer and equally accomplished lady decorator Victoria Hagen. The architecturally elegant and smack-you-across-the-face sophisticated seven story (plus cellar and sub-cellar) French Empire-, Neoclassical or maybe Beaux Arts-style pile now weighs in, according to current listing information, at a substantially more considerable 13,048 square feet with 4 bedrooms, 5 full and 5 half bathrooms, at least 6 fireplaces, 4 interior staircases, and a staff suite in the cellar comprised of kitchen/dining room and two small but windowed bedrooms, each with private facility.

The remarkably efficient, thoughtfully resolved and fully custom floor plan (above) includes public and service entrances—pretty much right next to each other—a convenient bicycle and coat room just off the entry vestibule, a marble-floored foyer with fireplace, a jaw-dropping elliptical staircase that winds from the ground to the fifth floor, and an multi-passenger elevator that serves all seven above-ground floors as well as the cellar and sub-cellar.

The grand, impress-the-guests front foyer connects to the central stair hall and adjoining walk-in coat room and discreet half bathroom for party guests. Beyond that, a colossal, nearly all-white center island kitchen at the ass-end of the ground floor has a marble counter tops, top-grade appliances, a windowed breakfast area, and a punishingly pee-wee family room barely if at all bigger than the master bathroom. A convenient dumb waiter connects and a corkscrew staircase off the family room curls up to a kitchen-sized butler’s pantry and formal dining room. The dark chocolate-stained herringbone pattern hardwood floors in the dining room extend into the extra-wide center stair landing and on into the formal living room outfitted with a fireplace, white walls for displaying art, wedding cake moldings, and a row of street-facing windows that stretch almost to the floor and the ceiling.

A men’s clubby, wood-paneled library with fireplace flanked by built-in bookcases and adjacent half pooper shares the third floor with the master bedroom complete with, entry vestibule, one bathroom and two, custom-fitted dressing rooms. The fourth floor was configured with a stair landing sitting area, one large guest/family bedroom with attached private bathroom and two too-narrow bedrooms (for a house of this magnitude) that share one hall bathroom.

The fifth floor, according to the floor plan, was given over almost entirely to the pursuits and (often noisy) activities of the Schneider off-spring with family room, children’s library, two bathrooms, and play room/art studio lined with floor to ceiling storage and shelving and used by Mister and Missus Schneider, we think, as a bedroom. Our imperious house gurl Svetlana pointed out there’s also a second laundry room on the fifth floor as well as another, larger laundry facility in the cellar.

A sixth floor exercise room has an adjacent half bathroom—but not, it seems, a steam shower or sauna—and the airy penthouse level operates and a refined, adult-oriented media/music room with fireplace, sky light, wet bar and access to an exterior staircase that descends half a level to a roof terrace tucked up behind the ornate parapets.

Listing information also indicates the townhouse is equipped with a top-of-the-line security system—natch—plus as state-of-the-art Crestron system controls the audio, visual, temperature, telephone and lighting systems (including electronically operated shades) throughout the house via convenient touch pads.

Property records reveal Mister and Missus Schneider also own a waterfront residence adjacnet to the Fenwick Golf Club in Old Saybrook, CT that they acquired in September 2008 for $4,232,000.

exterior photo: Property Shark
listing photos and floor plan: Corcoran

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