SELLER: Estate of Carroll Petrie
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms (plus 5 staff rooms and 3 staff bathrooms)
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: It was from New York City real estate obsessive Paul Mall that we first heard word that a two-bedroom apartment on the tenth floor of the almost ludicrously elite co-operative apartment house 834 Fifth Avenue in New York City has popped up for sale on the open market with an asking price of $30,000,000. It didn’t take much poking around on the internets to sort out the Central Park view spread was the long-time residence of recently deceased high society social doyenne and philanthropist Carroll Petrie.
Presumably the apartment is being sold by the executors of sartorially inclined socialite’s estate, which the New York Post estimated could be worth as much as $100 million when her collections of couture, furs, and jewels are taken into account. The thrice divorced and four-times married Miz Petrie and her fourth and last husband, the fantastically rich investor and retailing magnate Milton Petrie, much of whose wealth derived from a substantial stake in Toys R Us, gave away great sums of money to a variety of organizations. They gave so much money, in fact, that the fifth floor café at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is named after the couple, as is a European sculpture court at The Met.
We’re not quite sure how long Miz Petrie owned and/or occupied the apartment in question but she previously owned a fifth floor unit before she packed up her trove of oil paintings and gilded commodes and high-tailed it up to the tenth. Although spacious — based on measurements provided on the floor plan included with digital marketing materials we guesstimate it pegs in at about 4,200-square-feet — the two bedroom and 2.5 bathroom apartment is not particularly family friendly and adheres to a rigorous formal layout in which a carefully aligned enfilade of three public rooms is flanked by a bedroom wing on one side and extensive service and staff quarters on the other
The apartment was decorated, we read on the Peak of Chic blog, by high-toned designer David Easton who did the place up in an Old School elegant but comfortable and slightly fussy if absolutely correct manner. An octagonal foyer lined entirely with mirrored panels opens to a nearly 34-foot long marble-floored reception gallery lined with trompe l’oeil architectural elements, sconce-flanked inset bookcases, and stately pedimented doorways. The comfortably proportioned formal living room is ample enough to accommodate multiple seating areas and features dado-enhanced lemon chiffon colored walls, a marble-faced fireplace, deliciously chunky dentil ceiling moldings, and a trio of magnificently over-sized sash windows that provide a multi-million dollar view across Central Park. Listing photographs show the pink-walled dining room was furnished to do triple duty with a probably impressively pedigreed and shockingly expensive secretary desk on one wall and a cozy sofa for casual snacks and cocktails on the other. A butler’s pantry far larger than most New Yorker’s kitchens links the dining room to the pretty-nearly all-white kitchen dressed with a classic black and white checkerboard floor, flannel grey stone counter tops, and a full complement of high-quality appliances. The kitchen opens to a small breakfast room and a petit, east-facing terrace that’s perfect for sunrise tea and late night smokes. A bi-level staff wing behind the kitchen contains three cell-sized bedrooms that share a single hall bathroom as well as a slightly larger fourth staff bedroom with a private bathroom. Listing details indicate the apartment transfers with a fifth staff suite along with a wine vault, laundry room, and storage bin located in another part of the building.
Designed by illustrious architect Rosario Candela and built in 1930, 834 Fifth Avenue has always attracted superrich residents who pay dearly to shack up amongst their financial and social peers. In 2009 philanthropist Laurie Tisch paid $29 million for a 13-room, high-floor apartment with two principal bedrooms, four staff bedrooms, four fireplaces, and three terraces. Retail tycoon Leslie Wexner sold his Thierry Despont-designed mid-floor duplex in 2011 for $36 million — far less than the $60 million it was widely rumored he originally wanted — to real estate mogul Lazaurs “Larry” Heyman. In early 2012 hedge fund fat cat Damon Mezzacappa offloaded his high floor simplex for a princely $42 million to soon-to-be-divorced Texas-based investor Robert Bass and his socially connected wife Anne Bass and, later in the same year, a sprawling low-floor duplex with three principal bedrooms and a staggering eight staff bedrooms was acquired from the estate of late concrete king Walter Goldstein by hedge fund fat cat Phillippe Laffont for $24,000,000. Last year Wendi Murdoch officially became the sole owner of the suburban mansion-sized triplex penthouse that she and her ex-husband Rupert Murdoch bought in 2005 for $44 million from the estate of Laurence Rockefeller and the most recent recorded transfer was earlier this year when Russian-born British multi-billionaire Leonard Blavatnik shelled out a monumental $77.5 million for a high floor duplex sold by Robert “Woody” Johnson IV, the billionaire scion to the Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid fortune and owner of the New York Jets football team.
Listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby’s International Realty