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(l-r) Keegan-Michael Key, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Keke Palmer, and Jennifer Lawrence made some of the year's top celebrity purchases. (l-r) Keegan-Michael Key, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Keke Palmer, and Jennifer Lawrence made some of the year's top celebrity purchases.
Early in the coronavirus pandemic, a mass exodus from New York City was predicted as the well-heeled escaped their city apartments for country estates or second homes with more space and privacy. It remains to be seen what effect the events of 2020 will have on the city as a whole, but we do know that some lumninaries have shown faith in New York's resilience by buying properties in the city. We take a look at the year's top celebrity purchases.

17-Jane-Street-01 Jennifer Lawrence via Wiki Commons; via Minskoff Equities/David Chipperfield Architects
At the rate Academy Award-winner Jennifer Lawrence is going, her New York real estate portfolio may come to rival her collection of acting awards. She sold an Upper East Side penthouse, still owns an apartment at 443 Greenwich Street, and more recently made the first purchase at 17 Jane Street, a rare new construction condo offering in the Greenwich Village Historic District. The building is on a tree-lined street near Jackson Square, the entrance to the High Line, popular restaurants and shops, and, importantly for Ms. Lawrence’s art gallerist husband Cooke Maroney (not pictured), Greenwich Village and Chelsea’s famous art scenes.

50-United-Nations-Plaza-01 50 United Nations Plaza via Zeckendorf Marketing
Just before the United Nations implemented full-time telecommuting in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Kuwait Consulate closed on a full-floor penthouse at 50 United Nations Plaza, a Foster & Partners-designed condominium across the street from the United Nations Headquarters. When it is safe for Consul General Hamad Al-Hazeem to physically return to work, he will benefit from spectacular views, expansive entertaining rooms, and the building’s private driveway that will let his children safely go to and from school.

81-Pierrepont-Street-01 81 Pierrepont Street via Douglas Elliman
Activist investor Behzad Aghazadeh has made a name for himself with his pharmaceutical acumen, and is raising eyebrows in the real estate sector as well: His purchase of a Brooklyn Heights townhouse and carriage house has set a new record for the most expensive townhouse sale in Brooklyn. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved his architect’s plans at the beginning of November, thus clearing the way to combine the two into a massive dream home.

23-Perry-Street-01 23 Perry Street via Compass
Does Netflix’s algorithm work on real estate, too? One must wonder in light of the recent experiences of Cindy Holland, vice president of content acquisition and original series for the streaming behemoth. Shortly after putting her townhouse at 58 Downing Street on the market, she purchased another townhouse further in the heart of the West Village. This one counts Billy Joel and Katie Lee among its former owners, and the chef’s kitchen has appeared in Ms. Lee’s cookbooks.

960-Park-Avenue-01 The Norma via Douglas Elliman
William Zeckendorf comes from a family of top New York City developers, and he himself had an active hand in such acclaimed buildings as 15 Central Park West, 520 Park Avenue, and 50 United Nations Plaza (see above). But where does Mr. Zeckendorf himself call home? As of this fall, a six-bedroom apartment in a J.E.R. Carpenter-designed cooperative on Park Avenue. He purchased the apartment from fellow real estate scion Jane Goldman, who owns Solil Management with her three siblings.

Brooklyn-Heights-01 Neighborhood image via Google Earth
In January 2020, actress Michelle Williams gave a powerful speech when accepting a Golden Globe for her role in Fosse/Verdon, as directed by her now-husband, Emmy- and Tony-award-winner Thomas Kail. A few weeks later, the news came out that the new power couple had teamed up again, this time on the purchase of a Brooklyn Heights townhouse in an off-market deal. The house dates back to 1820, measures approximately 3,000 square feet, and is located on a peaceful tree-lined street.

Advertising agency David&Goliath is based on the West Coast, but founder David Angelo has purchased quite a Manhattan home base: When he is in New York, he will have access to residents-only amenities as well as the amenities and services of The Beekman Hotel. He will also enjoy sweeping skyline and river views, floor-to-ceiling windows, a 16-foot-high marble fireplace, and a private terrace.

140-East-19th-Street-01 Rashid Johnson via Wiki Commons; 140 East 19th Street via Sotheby's International Realty
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, artist Rashid Johnson and his wife, artist Sheree Hovsepian (not pictured), decamped to their home in the Hamptons with their nine-year-old son. When the family returns to Manhattan, it will be interesting to see what they do with their new home: The couple brought an architect and contractor with them on their first visit to this Gramercy townhouse, which was previously owned by supermodel Paulina Porizkova and the late Cars frontman, Ric Ocasek. On Instagram, Ms. Porizkova said, "The house picked its next family. And I must say: it couldn’t have picked a better family. The spirit of art and love will stay right here where it belongs.”

53-West-53rd-Street-01 53W53 via The Corcoran Group
It is not unheard of for billionaires to accumulate art collections, but this one’s extends to his New York apartment. Eduardo Hochschild, chairman of Hochschild Mining and Forbes billionaires list mainstay, recently purchased a half-floor home at 53W53, the Jean Nouvel-designed tower with the Museum of Modern Art’s expansion at the base. The apartment is a masterpiece in and of itself with floor-to-ceiling windows, expansive proportions, and the finest materials, including Peruvian golden travertine in the master bath.

If anyone needs proof of Nolita’s meteoric rise in recent years, Brewster Carriage House offers a powerful example. The red brick building was constructed in 1856 for a horse carriage manufacturer and converted to a condo in 2005, though not at the expense of rich architectural details throughout. It has attracted the likes of John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, who are now the proud owners of two penthouses in the building, having made quite the upgrade from the one-bedroom they once owned there. Both units have access to the building’s roof.

82-Amity-Street-01 Steve Nash via Wiki Commons; 82 Amity Street via Leslie J. Garfield
After spending part of last season in a secure “bubble” in Orlando, the National Basketball Association has returned its teams to their home arenas with strict health and safety protocols in place. That is good news for one-time All-Star Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash, who has just purchased a Brooklyn townhouse. It is located on a peaceful street, but only about a mile from Barclays Center and the bustling scene that has taken shape around the arena.

Spitzer Enterprises has generated buzz for its Williamsburg waterfront development, luxury rental 420 Kent Avenue, but the head of the company has made his home base at an Upper East Side condominium. At the beginning of the year, Eliot Spitzer, former governor of New York, bought two adjacent apartments with his fiancee, Roxana Girand. As she already owned an apartment in the building, the purchase could possibly have come on her recommendation.
62-Cooper-Square-01 Keegan-Michael Key via Wiki Commons; The Carl Fischer Building via Douglas Elliman
Between his recent roles in Jingle Jangle and The Prom, not to mention an extensive body of voice acting work, the past few years have been especially busy for Keegan-Michael Key. However, the Emmy award-winning actor still found time to purchase a jaw-dropping apartment located at the crossroads of the East Village and Noho. The apartment features high ceilings, exposed brick, grand proportions, and a celebrity history: Mr. Key and his wife Elle (not pictured) purchased it from race car driver and author Alexander Roy.

Power couple Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban live in Nashville, away from the Hollywood scene, but this year became the owners of a two-bedroom pied-a-terre in the landmarked 108 Leonard Street. Full details on their new home are not known; but like all units in the condo conversion, it features high ceilings and interiors by Jeffrey Beers International. The ultra-private couple was also drawn to the building for its three separate entrances, not to mention a private garage that allows for the ability to enter and exit discreetly.

308-North-7th-Street-01 Keke Palmer via Wiki Commons; 308 N7 via Douglas Elliman
From a busy child acting career to a role in the critically acclaimed Hustlers to thriving television and music careers, Keke Palmer’s star is ever on the rise. She just hosted a Peace Out 2020 event on Facebook, but it’s safe to say that something good happened to her this year: She bought a penthouse with two private terraces in a Williamsburg soap factory-turned-luxury condominium.

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