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“New York was populated by the ambitious. It was often the only thing that everyone here had in common” – Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

Ambition is certainly something many of New York's luminaries have in common. It, along with impeccable taste in real estate, is certainly a commonality shared among the luminaries in business, journalism, music, and literature who bought, sold, or listed their New York City homes in January 2024. We look at notable transactions, one from Ms. Yanagihara among them, below.

Barbara Walters — Relisted for $16,995,000

944 Fifth Avenue 944 Fifth Avenue (CityRealty)
944 Fifth Avenue foyer 944 Fifth Avenue, #6 (Compass); Barbara Walters ( Rubenstein - Barbara Walters and Sir Howard StringerUploaded by Tabercil, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=115287531)
Living room with Central Park views
Study with Central Park views
In November 2023, right around the time Bonhams held an auction of her art, furniture, and memorabilia, the Fifth Avenue home of pioneering journalist Barbara Walters entered contract. But a few short months later, the apartment is back on the market at a reduced price from the original $19.95 million ask. No information was available on what happened or the original buyer, only that they left “a hefty deposit” behind (h/t New York Post).

From the Listing:
There is such a special feeling in this wonderful full floor apartment on Fifth Avenue and 75th Street, the most coveted and beloved location on The Upper East Side. The scale of the entrance gallery and rooms, the views to Central Park at just the perfect height, and the knowledge that so many wonderful dinner parties and meetings have happened in this chic residence make this a most unique residence. The living room, with a wood burning fireplace and ceilings over 10 feet, stretches along Fifth Avenue with three big picture windows framing the Park views. The room is generous enough for multiple seating areas as well as a baby grand piano. Graceful, wide openings between the living room, dining room and charming library create wonderfully connected entertaining rooms all with Central Park exposures.
2 Available Listings for Sale from $16,995,000

Norman Mailer — Entered contract with $11,500,000 ask

20 Remsen Street 20 Remsen Street, #TH (Sotheby's International Realty)
Living room with fireplace
Formal dining room with arched entryway
Wine cellar
Rooftop terrace
When celebrated author Norman Mailer was working on debut novel The Naked and the Dead, he did it from a dormered attic studio at the top of a Brooklyn Heights townhouse that served as a boardinghouse and inspired the setting and characters of subsequent book Barbary Shore. Decades later, the multi-family dwelling has been converted to a six-bedroom home with an owner’s quadruplex and additional garden apartment. At the beginning of the year, The Real Deal announced that it had entered contract in what would be Brooklyn’s highest-priced deal of January 2024.

From the Listing:
Nestled on a uniquely elevated cul-de-sac street that merges with the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, this historic brick home is nearly 26 ft wide, a two-family row house, that rises five stories, and beholds four separate outdoor spaces, an owner’s quadruplex, and a separate garden apartment. Elegant comfort abounds in this sophisticated home featuring approximately 6,094 square ft of interior living space, a lower level with sauna and built-out wine cellar, and a roof terrace with 360-degree skyline views. The home also offers three wood-burning fireplaces, state-of-the-art security, and central air systems.

The front steps rise to a dramatic double-door entry accessing the vestibule which opens to the original grand staircase and gracious parlor floor with soaring 12-foot ceilings. The sun-filled living room and formal dining room are beset by hard wood flooring, custom millwork, fine picked plasterwork, marble mantels, shuttered windows, and more charming details. Step into the immaculate gourmet kitchen overlooking the garden, with an abundance of custom cabinetry, honed black granite countertops, a deep oversized sink, and stainless-steel appliances. 

Annie Leibovitz — Listed for $8,500,000

495 West Street Hudson River Dioramas, #5 (Compass)
Living room with casement windows and river views
Living/dining room with fireplace
Study set up as home office
As the New York Post observes, Annie Leibovitz has been almost as busy selling homes as she has taking photos – a few months after her Central Park West home entered contract, she has listed the West Village live/work apartment she uses as a photography studio. Public records show that she paid $6.5 million for it in 2022; as such, she could very well turn a profit with this, unlike the Upper West Side apartment.

From the Listing:
Overlooking the Hudson River Park and beyond, enjoy over 60 feet of steel ribbon windows. A rare find this full floor loft space with an open flexible layout is currently set up as an artist’s photography studio. Entering through a keyed elevator and into the main living space with expansive river and downtown corner views offering wood burning fireplace, heated bluestone floors, wet bar and open eat in kitchen. Discover the library nook with custom bookshelves that can be redesigned into a third bedroom.

The primary ensuite bedroom with well-proportioned walk in closet has a double south and east exposure. The primary bathroom, currently set up with a printer has a soaking tub with capped off shower and toilet. Steal away from the hustle and bustle of city life and into this tranquil surrounding.
1 Available Listing for Sale for $8,500,000

Elizabeth Stribling — Sold for $6,500,000

360 Furman Street One Brooklyn Bridge Park, #PH1215 (Compass)
Corner living room with city views
Library with Hermes orange lacquer
Private terrace with Brooklyn Bridge Park and Lower Manhattan views
The Brooklyn waterfront is having quite a moment now, but power broker Elizabeth Stribling was ahead of the curve, having bought her combination unit at One Brooklyn Bridge Park shortly after the conversion to condos was complete. It was then renovated with herringbone floors, marble fireplace mantles, an Hermes orange lacquer library, and a primary bath with views of the Manhattan skyline from the tub. But for all these features, it didn’t go quickly; when Crain’s New York Business announced the sale, it noted that the apartment had been on the market for over a year, and that Ms. Stribling got close to what she paid for it.

From the Listing:
Penthouse 1215 is a combination of the 2 best units in the 1928 industrial building, resulting in a luxurious 2 bedroom and double-library, potentially 4 BR, gorgeous 3,442 sf home with 1,900 sf terrace that wraps the entire apartment. A two-year renovation was required to convert raw loft space into the most exciting and detail-oriented interiors imaginable. With 10’3” ceilings and an incredible corner expanse for entertaining. Salvaged centuries old French oak herringbone floors, heavy wooden pocket doors, fossilized marble fireplace mantles, a Lacanche range, waterworks hardware, custom millwork, and finished closets. Inspired by Brooke Astor’s famed Park Avenue library, PH1215’s signature room is a stunning Hermès orange lacquer library appointed with P.E. Guerin brass, anchored by the cinematic backdrop of Manhattan’s skyline. PH1215 is unlike anything else.
7 Available Listings for Sale from $1,195,000
4 Available Listings for Rent from $4,400/month

Jenna Lyons — Listed for $5,995,000

178 Garfield Place 178 Garfield Place, #TH (Sotheby's International Realty)
Jenna Lyons; living room with fireplace and crown molding Jenna Lyons (VOGUE Taiwan - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-_pp8_aYUw, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=135059827)
Kitchen with garden views
Private terrace
Before moving into the Soho loft that has been featured in Vogue, T Magazine, and Marie Claire, fashion executive/entrepreneur/Real Housewives of New York star Jenna Lyons lived in a Park Slope townhouse with her ex-husband. She sold it to musician Vince Clarke for $4 million in 2012; more recently, Curbed announced that it has been modernized and listed.

From the Listing:
A historic 1880s home, meticulously preserved, and perfectly located on Garfield Place in Park Slope. This 20’ wide townhouse is a true classic, with many original details still intact. A recent modernization was overseen by the acclaimed designers Roman and Williams. Details include an open double parlor with 10’+/- ceilings, original shutters, beautiful plaster cornices and medallions, original aged pine floors, and 7 restored limestone mantels. Laid out over 4 floors plus a built-out cellar and sunny backyard, the home is packed with elegant charm. Last used as a recording studio, the 800-square-foot cellar is soundproofed and could serve as a media room, wine storage or home gym.

Superman — Listed for $5,900,000

171 Columbia Heights The Standish (CityRealty)
Living/dining room with column The Standish, #5B (Compass); Superman (Flickr - Julien Noriel)
Open kitchen
Bedroom with decorative fireplace
Look! Up in the sky! Well, maybe not that high – according to the New York Post and comic book lore, Superman's alter ego, Clark Kent, lived on the fifth floor of the Standish Arms Apartments in Brooklyn. In the decades since the Superman comic was released, the real-life Standish Arms Hotel (which, incidentally, stands 12 stories high) has been converted to The Standish, an in-demand condominium, and an apartment on the fifth floor has come on the market.

From the Listing:
This exquisite 4-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom residence in the prestigious The Standish building offers a harmonious blend of classic charm and modern elegance. Enjoy a spacious 41-foot long living and dining area, perfect for entertaining and relaxation. The gourmet kitchen features custom-designed Shaker-style cabinetry, top-of-the-line Bertazzoni Italia and Bosch appliances, and elegant Fantini fixtures in natural brass. Distinctive bay windows add warmth and character, embracing the essence of classic Brooklyn brownstone living.
3 Available Listings for Sale from $1,995,000

Joan Didion — Entered contract with $5,750,000 ask

33 East 70th Street 33 East 70th Street (CityRealty)
Living room with fireplace 33 East 70th Street, #5A (Douglas Elliman); Joan Didion (By David Shankbone - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=123431823)
Entrance gallery
Upper East Side views
Almost exactly a year after it was initially listed, the Upper East Side home of Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne (not pictured) has found a buyer after multiple price reductions. According to Curbed, this could be a case of history repeating itself – when the literary couple returned to New York from California in the late 1980s, it apparently took the Wall Street crash and four price cuts for them to even consider the apartment they would ultimately live in until their deaths.

From the Listing:
Located in one of Manhattan’s most desirable full-service cooperatives, on one of the Upper East Side’s most picturesque blocks, residence 5A exudes prewar charm and elegance. The home offers discreet luxury, accessible through a semi-private elevator landing that leads to an elegant gallery which serves as the central corridor of this stunning four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home. The bright and spacious living area boasts a wood-burning fireplace with an intricately carved mantel and an adjacent dining area complete with a wet bar. Four oversized windows frame picturesque views of the architecturally distinct St. James’ Church on East 71st Street. On the other side of the gallery find an oversized den or library, powder room, home office and an eat-in kitchen
2 Available Listings for Sale from $5,300,000

Michael Lorber — Sold for $4,700,000

565 Park Avenue The Lonsdale (CityRealty)
Living room with oversized windows The Lonsdale, #6W (Douglas Elliman)
Formal dining room
Eat-in kitchen
Midway through January 2024, power broker Michael Lorber made headlines when he bought Edward Minskoff’s apartment at 730 Park Avenue months after the developer moved to 17 Jane Street, his firm’s newest project in the West Village. Mr. Lorber, though, did not have to travel far – shortly after the purchase at 730 Park Avenue was recorded, public records showed that he had sold his apartment at The Lonsdale less than five years after buying it for $4.4 million.

From the Listing:
Recently renovated and published prewar cooperative at 565 Park Avenue. This gloriously sunny three bedroom residence is distinguished by fabulous vistas over Park Avenue, the Colony Club, midtown and beyond. Featuring a classic and meticulous triple mint renovation and a wonderful floor plan, the apartment is absolute perfection, boasting approximately 2,200 square feet.

Upon entry, an elegant gallery with hand-painted floors and leather upholstered doors opens to a sun flooded living room with large windows overlooking Park Avenue. A glorious enfilade connects the library to the living room to the dining room (all overlooking Park Avenue) giving the residence a truly grand feel perfect for both formal and informal entertaining. The elegant dining room with custom bookcases and millwork has seating for up to 16. Situated beyond there is a pristine gourmet eat-in kitchen with top off the line stainless steel appliances, marble countertops, and built-in seating. A teak butler’s pantry with wet bar leads to separate laundry/service room with built in closets, additional refrigeration, and full marble bath.
2 Available Listings for Sale from $4,400,000

Hanya Yanagihara — Bought for $3,230,000

38 West 26th Street 38 West 26th Street, #11B (Easton Properties)
NoMad loft and Hana Yanagihara Hana Yanagihara (Sam Levy - VRT photosubmission, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=116395766)
Loft interiors
Loft floor plan
In a 2017 profile in The Guardian, editor/Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author Hanya Yanagihara showed off the massive bookcase and separating the public from the private areas of her one-bedroom apartment. She now has significantly more room to display her 12,000+ book collection – public records list her as the buyer of a full-floor NoMad loft purchased from the estate of artist Gabriele Roos.

From the Listing:
Offered for the first time in 50 years, on the 11th floor of a former 1909 factory building; 4,000 square feet of incredibly beautiful, raw, loft space with 12-foot ceilings and great light streaming in from 3 exposures (south, east and west) through its 14 large, oversized windows. Create your dream home or your own studio space, or both! The Co-op accommodates all forms of live/work uses. The very well run, financially strong, established Co-op, is amenable to accommodate your renovation requests. Currently, the loft is configured with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, a fully equipped kitchen with a gas range, a washer, dryer and a utility sink.
2 Available Listings for Sale from $6,995,000

Steven C. Rockefeller — Sold for $2,545,625

1170 Fifth Avenue 1170 Fifth Avenue (CityRealty)
Former U.S. Vice President and New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller famously broke through the south wall of 812 Fifth Avenue and connected it to his home at 810 Fifth Avenue, its sister building directly to the south. An appreciation for Fifth Avenue buildings designed by J.E.R. Carpenter clearly runs in the family – public records identify his son, professor/philanthropist Steven C. Rockefeller, as the seller of a penthouse at 1170 Fifth Avenue.

Ed Sheeran — Listed for $38,000/month

90 Furman Street Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park (Societe LLC)
Private terrace with Manhattan views Ed Sheeran (Mark Kent - Ed Sheeran at Wembley 3, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61254108)
Living room with double-height ceilings
Open kitchen
Lower Manhattan views
Singer Ed Sheeran holds the record for the most-streamed album on Spotify, attendance records at multiple concert venues in the U.S. and all over the world, and Brooklyn’s most expensive rental apartment of 2023. Mr. Sheeran has reportedly moved on, but his apartment is back on the market at a higher price that comes in closer to the borough’s most expensive rental ever (h/t The Real Deal).

From the Listing:
Embrace an active, chic and unique lifestyle in this designer-furnished, 4-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom luxury rental alongside the adjoining 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Rarely offered, it comes replete with a resplendent private rooftop terrace — and DUMBO's finest luxury living with recreational amenities right outside your door. Suite 405 flaunts only the most exceptional materials. Think solid custom walnut cabinetry, Calacatta Tucci marble slab counters and islands, reclaimed heartwood pine floors, Gaggenau appliances, and energy-efficient solar shades, included in every room.
1 Available Listing for Sale for $1,199,000
4 Available Listings for Rent from $6,490/month

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