Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Timothy White's Picture Perfect Penthouse
SELLER: Timothy White
LOCATION: W. 54th Street, New York, NY
SIZE: 4,101 square feet, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen buttercups, Your Mama is all kinds of mad crazy with a bunch of tidbits and this and thats that we can no longer shove to the bottom of our hunny-do list. Therefore we can't spend as much time as usual rambling and exercising over celebrity owned property today. None the less, we don't like to leave the children without their fix so we're going to offer up a wonderful little piece of New York City real estate porn in the form of a penthouse pad in Hell's Kitchen that y'all can drool over and grouse about.
According to property records, the 4,101 square foot penthouse high atop a West 37th Street building known as the The Glass Farm House is owned by a man named Timothy White. Now children, Your Mama knows that unless you're in the glitzy and glammy world behind the scenes of the ugly machine that spins regular people into high powered celebrity products you probably haven't got a clue who this Mister White person is. We can, however, promise y'all that you've seen Mister White's handiwork more times than the number of gin bottles in Your Mama's recycling bin. And there are, lads and lassies, a lot of bottles in that bin.
Mister White is, in fact, a celebrity photographer who has shuttered and snapped the mugs of just about anyone who is somebody who might grace the pages celebrity-centric magazines, walk the red carpet, appear in an advertisement or be splashed up on a billboard pushing a movie or selling some shit. A short list of Mister White's long list of famous folks who have sat for the flash of his bulb and the snap of his lens might include Nic Cage, Halle Berry, Samual L. Jackson, Jim Carey, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Drew Barrymore, Ashton Kutcher, Liza Minelli, and Queen Latifah,
Mister White's work may not have the surreal deliciousness of David LaChapelle, the sexed-up charm of muscle-bound Mike Ruiz, the raw emotion Richard Avedon or the glossy adoration that meets a messy kind of self-consciousness that Your Mama feels Annie Liebovitz's work does, but he's none the less a screamingly successful photographer with a less edgy and more celebratory vibe and enviable Rolodex that reads like a who's who of Hollywood.
Mister White first moved into the building way back in 1984 when he rented two apartments in the building, one for living, one for working. In May of 1991 he paid $300,000 for a penthouse and a year later bought the adjacent penthouse, also for $300,000. He worked in one and lived in the other. Sometime around 1997, according to previous reports, he moved his photo studio to a West 54th Street carriage house and subsequently merged the two penthouses into one large penthouse. In the early 2000s, he renovated. Based on a New York Times article from 1999, it appears he scaled back his original plans which involved adding a second floor.
It used to be that Mister White's neighborhood was called Hells Kitchen. It just so happens that Your Mama is a mite more than a little familiar with the area having, in the early nineties, briefly shared a dumpy triplex apartment with an unbalanced young lady who really knew how to cop a 'tude over no damn thing and possessed some of the ugliest knees Your Mama has ever seen. That's right babies, she had ass-uglee knees. (You know who you are bee-hawtcha.) Anyhoo, way back then the long blocks and night time corners of the far West 30s crawled with some of the devil's delights: streetwalkers and drug dealers. Nowadays that neck of the Manhattan woods still a bit gritty but mixed with any number of high priced condo buildings with doormen who like to keep the riff-raff moving right along. Developers and gentrifiers have tried to re-dub the neighborhood as the much more benign sounding "Clinton" but it'll always be Hells damn Kitchen to Your Mama.
But we digress as usual. The folks at Street Easy reveal that Mister White first put his penthouse on the market way back in March of 2007 with the fat asking price of $5,800,000. There is also some evidence Your Mama squeezed out of the interweb that indicates the top floor unit was available even before 2007 with an unlikely asking price of about eight million clams. Whatever the case, as time as rolled by, a harsh kind of real estate reality began to set in and the priced dipped and dropped to it's present price tag of $4,495,000.
The children will note that although listing information indicates this is a 2 bedroom and 2 pooper penthouse, one quick look at the floor plan reveals that, really, it's a 1 bedroom and 2 pooper property unless there is some damn fool willing to pay four million bucks for a penthouse that requires them to walk right through the guest bedroom in order to enter the master bedroom. No. Thank. You.
One of the architectural situations Your Mama would like to call y'alls attention to is the all glass ceiling that's not only hovering above the 43-foot long living/dining area but also the "guest" room, the master bedroom and the master bathroom. We are certain that electronically controlled shades have been installed that help filter and soften the harsh light of the sun and we'd be surprised if the glass itself was not treated with some sort of reflective bizness but we can't help but to think that after a long night of gin & tonics a person could quite easily forget to close the shades thus frying them like a bug under a microscope come morning time.
The highlights of Mister White's penthouse include the full wall of built in cabinetry that flanks the fireplace, the nearly 1,400 square feet of south facing terrace space, and the double dressing rooms on either side of the sky-lit master restroom. Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter can comfortably share a pooper but, have mercy children, had we to share closet space it would get messy between us real fast. We don't mean messy as in clothes on the floor, we mean messy like claws out cat fighting that would most definitely end in blood and tears not to mention a d.i.v.o.r.c.e.
Mister White has had his penthouse on the market for coming up on three years–at least–but given that Wall Street is handing out huge bonuses this year maybe he'll get a little real estate lucky and some bachelor hedge hog with a wad of cash the size of a Cadillac will come along and finally take his picture perfect penthouse off his hands.
The children may find it interesting to know that for most of 2008, Mister White was performing a real estate double whammy. In March of 2008, after his penthouse had been on the market for at least a year, Mister White also listed his above mentioned photography studio, housed in a four floor limestone and brick carriage house (plus basement) on West 54th Street. He first listed the property at an almost suicidal $10,200,000. The asking price eventually sank to $8,600,000 but the fully renovated and unsold commercial space was taken off the open market in September of 2009. The 25-foot wide and 7,500 square foot building does, however, still appear to be for sale or for rent for an undisclosed amount of money.
The building includes a very desirable curb cut with a drive-in garage with oak floors on the ground floor where, according to a New York Times article from 2008, Mister White housed his antique car collection. The garage holds up to five cars, which would be more than enough for most Manhattanites most of whom don't even own 1 car, but in 2008 Mister White's car collection had ballooned to 25 so that deeply desirable 5-car garage became not quite so functional for him. He planned, at least he planned to in 2008, to move his photography operation to the Hamptons. We don't know if Mister White made this move and we're, in all honesty, too bizzy to check right now.
Mister White's luxurious work space also includes, according to marketing materials, a state of the art kitchen, 3.5 high end poopers, a dressing room and a dressing area, several studio spaces–one of which has a fireplace–a floor through office area, and a forth floor space with a roof terrace on the north side and an even bigger roof terrace on the south side.
Should Mister White manage to unload either his penthouse or his studio space he'll likely come out ahead of the financial game, but until then he's sitting on a couple of quite pricey white elephants that have been for sale for a long time with no takers serious enough to sign on the multi-million dollar dotted line. Good luck darlin'.
We were not, as usual, nearly as compendiary as we planned and we are late, late, late so we gotta run, run, run.
Posted by Your Mama at 12:52 PM