Monday, March 10, 2014

Update: Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

Last week the heirs of Edgar Bronfman, Sr. officially listed the Canadian-born booze baron turned international businessman and philanthropist's long time Manhattan penthouse atop 960 Fifth Avenue with a sky high but probably not ridiculous $65,000,000 asking price.

At the time of Your Mama's previous discussion, digital listings we had access to only presented the rather magnificent J-shaped floor plan. Now, thanks to several missives from the children, it's come to Your Mama's attention that the official listings now include a handful of photographs and a pair of photos that show the winter time view across Central Park and south towards

The decor is all quite elegant and correct in a high-nosed Fifth Avenue sort of way even if the color scheme is a tad quirky and pastel-hued for Your Mama's particular taste. The walls in the massive living room are bathed in a lemon chiffon hue, the library has eye-popping kelly green walls, and the dining room is of particular note with pale mint walls off-set by a divoonly decadent silver-leafed ceiling and emerald green velvet upholstered dining chairs.

An eagle eyed informant snitched too Your Mama (and provided evidence) that the dining room table and chairs seen in listing photos of Mister Bronfman Sr.'s penthouse at 960 Fifth Avenue are the very same set as were installed by legendary decorator Albert Hadley in a penthouse pad owned by Mister Bronfman, Sr. from, according to 740 Park chronicler Michael Gross, the early 1960s until the late 1970s. The clear crystal chandelier over the high gloss round table probably has a pedigree that would curl and average millionaire's hair—not to mention blow their bank account—and looks to Your Mama's untrained (and admittedly boozy) eyes like it was purchased at great expense out of an 18th century Austro-Hungarian castle or some place like that. Anyways, enjoy...

listing photos: Brown Harris Stevens

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I often imagine these grande old apartments are hard decorated with fancy this and schmancy that's. Not so much in this case. A gut renovation of this place will provide for floor plan and mechanical modernization. A tear will nary be lost over the little, if any, architectural savage discarded.
Although I do love me a good, old school, Kelly green library.

commentator8 said...

These photos help to show what an outrageously large and incredible apartment this is. Were it a house in the country it would be quite spacious, but the fact that it's an apartment in cramped Manhattan surrounded by terrace and overlooking Central Park is mind boggling. This is how you live in the city, as all the stress of the hustle and bustle melt away as you sip two fingers of scotch sitting on the library sofa gazing out the french doors over the park.

The Down East Dilettante said...

I suppose all those elegantly detailed interiors, perfectly proportioned and thought out, will get the usual gut job and heavy molding and marble treatment. People really don't listen to their surroundings anymore, but just prefer to dominate them.

Anonymous said...

The rooms and decoration are really beautiful, grand but with a feeling of simplicity. If I was a billionaire I would buy it and would hardly change anything. Amazing layout, fantastic building, incredible views.

Rosco Mare said...

@ Down East Dilettante

Well written!

Older generations tended to redecorate beautiful residences, not demolish them or order gut renovations. I would redecorate this gorgeous apartment, updating in the spirit of the existing day-core and keeping the existing fixtures. Don't anyone dare move the dining room chandelier, which looks like it might be 18th Century Irish. The silver leaf ceiling above it is heavenly, and if I had the resources, I would dine under it at least once a month.

Anonymous said...

Goodness, is it awful... Pedimented doors! The horror!

Look at all that green: the chairs, the walls, those curtains! Hideous.

One could say: There was the floor plan, and then there is reality.

I find it so hilarious that we agreed that the floor plan was perfection and now the first commentator wants to remake it.

Oh, the irony.

Is the penthouse encircled by a terrace on both sides? What are those two dotted spaces on the floor plan?

Sandpiper said...

Wowza. Special is an understatement. The grandeur defies adjectives. Appears pretty much swept of furnishings and fine art. John Tackett, your thoughts?

Mirrors are usually the last to come down, right? That's a lucky one over the fireplace to have survived so very many years. 1700s? If anyone even thinks about resilvering it, don't.

For now please show me to the room where I can leave my socks on the floor and watch TV.

Kate Louise said...

Nice review of the property. But the prices are too much. Any real estate agent won't be interested.

Anonymous said...

Grandeur, Sandpiper?!

Don't you see that hideous green sofa and the ugly carpets?

Awful.

I do hope that someone other than Shelton, Mindel & Associates will eventually be chosen to redecorate, because their work is too vanilla and boring.

Anonymous said...

Rosco Mare, surely you know that most of these great apartments were delivered as a white box, which is what makes them so special. Paneling from this owner, terrazzo from that owner, a mantle from here, gold plated knobs from there.

Anonymous said...

And surely you're familiar with tales of Long Islands gold coast, and all the remodeling of great estates that took place out there in the early part of the 20th century.

WrteStufLA said...

Would someone please estimate the ceiling height?

Anonymous said...

What is the name of the undulating, indentation-filled strip where the walls meet the ceiling?

lil' gay boy said...

DED,

Always good to hear from you; wise words, indeed.

What a marvelous accretion of materials, furniture & finishes -- are those genuine or faux marble baseboards I espy?

The color palette and provenanced furniture strike me as less than a particular period or school, and more along the lines of the (to paraphrase J. P. Morgan) "...if you have to ask, you can't afford it..." school of decor.

And yes, Anon 12:55 a quick peek at the aerials reveals that, with the exception of the north exterior wall of the dining & breakfast rooms, and the eastern master, this aerie is completely encircled by terraces.

lil' gay boy said...

Anon 7:06,

I believe DED is much more knowledgeable that I on these matters but I do recall seeing something similar at a Designers' Showcase at Caumsett years ago; the docent at the time referred to it as a dropped cornice, although I believe it is more accurately called a recessed cornice (the curve up the wall being a coved ceiling).

I can't quite make out the pattern of carving on the cornice; either egg & dart or perhaps acanthus leaves -- DED?

Anonymous said...

I don't know...

I find it so ugly. It can cost as much as you want, but when it's ugly, it's ugly. I've always hated that line "If you have to ask, then you can't afford it."

It looks like a dump. If these were the photos from Paula Pennington de la Bretonne's Baton Rouge house, and equally expensive and with provenance, I'm sure the reviews wouldn't be so glowing.

Sandpiper said...

Hi 1:26 / 2:55.

No, no, no. Grandeur was limited to the bones only!

Was closing my eyes to the (gaak) interior design. Sooo geriatric. Would have shown better empty and painted white.

Those strié walls and colors are painful. Some may be linen covered but who cares. Completely agree on the green couch and chair/ottoman. It's insulting. Thankfully the rugs can be rolled up and auctioned off (they say there's a buyer for everything). That baby booze bar is dismally scaled and stupid. The ceramic garden stools are either dynasty or Pier One. At least there aren't any animal skins.

Etecetra.

Guessing some valuable possessions were temporarily left behind for marketing. It's not all bad. The dining room furniture is lovely. More so after the chairs are recovered. The dining room ceiling might be Albert Hadley's work, or inspired by. Nice. Love the mirror, of course.

Doubt that prospects will pay attention to anything beyond the architecture. They probably send their decorator and second opinion people ahead to scout.

See why I didn't get into the interior issues. I'm unhinged.

Anonymous said...

I can just smell the moth balls and decay. He must have been really cheap, because this place has not been touched in years.

bentley said...

Never, ever, in my entire life, have I heard the term 'dump' applied to an apartment at 960 5th. I find it highly amusing.

Yes, it is decorated unabashedly terribly, but this is a full floor Candela, gang. It doesn't get much better.

And if the Master and Missus want a late night scotch or PB&J, I highly doubt it's them hauling ass to the kitchen to get it. Know what I'm saying?

Sandpiper said...


Bentley,

You are never at a loss to -- nail it :)

Anonymous said...

Calling Carole Petrie......

What strikes me as rather sad about the way this is decorated is how cliche it is. All you can tell about the owners is that they are rich. Do they read? Collect art? Entertain friends and family? Have any sense humor or originality?

Hopefully the new orders will bring the place some heart.

Anonymous said...

This penthouse is many things but it is not a dump and it's beyond silly to say that. Also, you all realize this is the home of a dead person, right? I'm guessing the Bronfman children have removed all the best artworks etc. from the place already which is probably why it seems a bit lackluster

Anonymous said...

It's a dump not floor-plan-wise, but décor-wise. Is that clear now? It looks awful.

Also, I found it highly amusing for people to mention aristocracy living in Candela's edifice, but then you go through a list of inhabitants and all a bunch of rich nobody's. I mean, Bubbles?! Seriously? That's posh people with provenance? Hilarity.

You see no duchesses or counts from Europe living in Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

9:09 I shiver to think what you WOULD call a dump? Most of us children know that the buyer is not buying this for the decoration. However this place is creepy its so outdated. Sad really. And I know the man made a fortune off booze, but does it have to be on display with his (probably) very expensive paintings??

Anonymous said...

Commenter 2:55,
Clearly you are unacquainted with the work of Shelton, Mindel & Associates. Your opinion is illiterate at best. At worst, you are replete of sophistication.

Anonymous said...

according to the dictionary a dump "an accumulation of discarded garbage, refuse, etc."

While the decor here may be fusty and old fashioned (outdated) it's just not a dump. You may not care for what you're looking in furnishings or art but you can be sure a good portion of it is auction quality and not dump worthy. To use that word is a complete misuse of the meaning of the word dump.

P.S. to you up there at 9:21. Bubbles may have come from humble circumstances but technically she was a vicomtesse (by marriage). And she was extraordinarily rich. Far richer than most of today's Euro-aristocrats, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Who is Bubbles and why was she victomized?

Anonymous said...

Why do you think, Anonymous 11:45, that Shelton, Mindel and Associates are a great interior-design firm?

Anonymous said...

What other upmarket interior-design firms have their offices in New York City?

Anonymous said...

Shelton Mindel repeats the same dull details over and over and over. So depressing and unoriginal. Every project looks the same- prewar, post- war, high floor, low floor, city, country... All the same.
This is a very chic apartment- and the pictures look impressive- is that a Matisse in the living room, over the fireplace? Ceiling height is reportedly 12 feet.
This is the best terraced penthouse in a top 5 building on Fifth Avenue- second would be Mr. Lauder's and you have to walk up stairs to get to it! Rupert Murdoch's doesn't come close.

Mr DHH said...

The decor is not that bad.It is just missing the plastic covers over it.I do not know about momma but I for one am guilty (grams) for being exposed to this type of decor in the formal rooms.Even with the plastic coverings we were not to go in these rooms and play and or be left unattended PERIOD.This is why gramma has the tv room and the rumpus (game)room so you can go in and play to your hearts content and they are right next to the kitchen so you can have a bit to eat if you so desire.Adults only(55 and better) with adult beverages (vodka and seven up)with coasters permitted
in the formal room with Mrs.Jack
direct supervision.Now its time for gramms favorite little man
(and only grand child) to put on his supper clothes because "its Saturday night and we have 6:30 reservations at Sea Fare Inn and don't be late"Off to change.
Good times,very good times.

Anonymous said...

That is why the person who loves Shelton, Mindel and Associates needs to tell us why he or she love the firm's work.

Marcus said...

@ Anon Rupert's PH is imo better than this.Although this is obviously a sick place, the triplex at 834 has much better views of Midtwon,CPS and Columbus Circle.From this you see nothing besides the twin towered buildings on the other side.
Rupert's PH also has a bigger frontage, there are 2 or 3 bedrooms which face the Park, here you have ZERO.And there are windows lighting the staircase..You are also higher by a few floors.This is on the 13th floor that is on the 14-16th floors.The layout is also better, with superior visual axis in Ruperts place.
As for Leonard's place, that also has much better view of Midtown, CPS...
The PH at 1040 is also great, has a wonderful loggia , pergolas...but 1040 is not a top building, so it doesnt really count.
Many of the top buildings on Fifth dont have any PH, they were built before the 1920s.Allen's at 4E 66th doesn't really count as its been carved out of some extra maids rooms.820 and 998 dont have PH's.Same goes for 927.