SELLER: Estate of Helen Gurley Brown
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 1-2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms plus staff quarters
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: After just a month on the open market with an asking price of $20 million, Helen Gurley Brown’s quirky, New York City quadruplex penthouse has been put into contract to be sold to an as yet unidentified buyer for an as yet unrevealed price. The eccentrically decorated, four-story aerie, which stretches up into one of the three hexagonal towers that top the super-luxe Beresford apartment house on Central Park West, was purchased by the late and legendary Cosmopolitan magazine editrix and her husband, four-time Oscar-nominated film and theater producer David Brown, in the 1970s from internationally lauded filmmaker Mike Nichols.
Configured with just one proper bedroom — the master suite, which occupies the entire third level — the apartment’s en suite library next to the living room on the main floor could be converted to a bedroom and there are a pair of rather puny staff bedrooms and a shared bathroom tucked down a back staircase underneath the kitchen. In addition to the slender terrace that wraps around two sides of the living room and zigzags its way over to the library, the penthouse has two much larger terraces, both of them outside the master bedroom and one of them, at around 2,300-square-feet, billed in online listings as one of the largest private terraces on Central Park West. The spectacularly peculiar penthouse is capped by what marketing materials call a “great room” that has magnanimous 17-foot ceilings, a fireplace, and a trio of towering, double-height arched windows that provide hair raising views over Central Park to the east, the Hudson River to the west, and the midtown skyline to the south. This property gossip assumes the new owner will extensively renovate and tear out every shred of Miz Gurley Brown’s famously flamboyant and stereotypically feminine decor that incorporates gold and rose brocade wallpaper in the entrance gallery; pale pink paint and crimson window coverings in the elegantly proportioned living room; lipstick red walls, cushioned banquettes and fuchsia upholstered chairs in the dining room; and unabashedly koo-koo Pepto-Bismol pink wall-to-wall shag carpeting in the master bedroom.
Described by New York-centric architecture critic Carter Horsley as “One of the world’s greatest residential buildings,” the Beresford was designed by esteemed architect Emory Roth and built in the late 1920s. While many of New York’s most exclusive co-operative apartment houses have historically forbid showbizzers from entering their high-nosed residential ranks, the Beresford has long attracted and permitted entertainment industry movers and shaker who over the years have included Rock Hudson, Jerry Seinfeld, Glenn Close, Diana Ross, Tony Randall, and tennis great John McEnroe who, incidentally enough and according to a recent report in the New York Post, has peeped just about every downtown trophy apartment with an asking price higher than $12 million.
Listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby’s International Realty