Friday, July 27, 2007

Vera Wang Swapping Park Avenue Apartments

SELLER: Vera Wang and Arthur Becker
LOCATION: 778 Park Avenue, New York, NY
PRICE: $35,000,000 (monthly maintenance / $10,717)
SIZE: 6,000 square feet (approx.), 6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms (plus two staff bedrooms and 1 staff bathroom)
DESCRIPTION: (shortened from listing agent's website) ...The entire apartment reflects conservative elegance including the entry hall that was specifically designed to greet a visitor with a full sense of home. The design and scale of each of the rooms define luxury that is hard to equarl. The living room, dining room and library with wood burning fireplaces face Park Avenue. The corner master bedroom, with sitting room, features a bath with double sink, marble tub and shower. Each of the other four bedrooms has bath en suite. Presently configured with two staff bedrooms. The modern chef's kitchen has granite countertops, Gaggenau stainless steel stove, two Miele dishwashers and a U-line wine cooler...

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last week the NY Post's impossibly well connected celebrity real estate columnist Braden Keil told the world about the recent real estate doings of stitch bitch Vera Wang, the famous fashionista who designs freakishly expensive wedding dresses for the rich, the famous, and all those merely well to do young ladies who want to appear rich and famous on their wedding day.

Honestly children, Your Mama thinks it's obscene that anyone, regardless of the size of their bank account, would spend well upwards of $10,000 on a big white dress that will be worn only one time. One time! People in this country go without food and health care while stinking rich Bridezillas walk down the aisle in dresses that cost almost as much as a Mazda? Please. But that's another gripe for another day.

Keil wrote that Miz Wang and her family were moving from their large, full floor apartment at super exclusive 778 Park Avenue, and into an even larger duplex at the even more exclusive 740 Park Avenue. However, Miz Wang did not have to jump through the normal financial hoops that are required in order for the average super rich buyer to pass the notoriously fussy board at 740 Park. Instead she sneaked in the back door, so to speak, having inherited her massive 10th and 11th floor duplex from her pharmaceutical tycoon father, who kicked it in September of 2006, may he rest in peace.

More information about 740 Park Avenue and it's roster of super rich residents can be found at the website author Michael Gross set up to work in tandem with his book, called 740 Park, that recounts the fascinating history of the building and walks readers through the who's who of the vastly wealthy and enormously powerful occupants.

Now, let's go back to the sprawling apartment at 778 Park Avenue that Miz Wang and her huzband Arthur Becker, an information technology company CEO, have recently placed on the market at the ear splitting price of $35,000,000. The third floor apartment occupies the entire floor of the building, which means that it might fetch even more money if it were located on a higher floor.

Gaining board approval in a super-luxe building like 778 Park Avenue is not easy. You can't just roll up to the front door in a Bentley and expect the board at 778 to rubber stamp your application. Oh no children, no one at 778 is going to be impressed by your Maybach, your collection of couture, or your entourage of Proenza Schouler clad assistants. Not only does the listing for Miz Wang's apartment state that no mortgages will be tolerated, many of the most exclusive buildings in New York require that potential buyers have 3-5 times the purchase price in liquid assets. LIQUID! Honestly, Your Mama is not sure exactly what 778 Park requires, but you can bet that you have to have FAR more than $35,000,000 in liquid assets just to think about viewing the apartment.

What does Your Mama think about this apartment you might ask? We think it's gorgeous. The layout is well considered and resolved with large, graciously proportioned public rooms and well separated bedrooms. Your Mama is not usually much of an aficionado of the "conservative elegance" school of interior design, but we would be stark raving mad not to recognize or acknowledge that this place has been exquisitely done by Miz Wang's talented team of gay decorators with an subtle and understated sophistication and splendor.

We are particularly impressed by the dining room with it's puse colored walls, an interesting and daring choice of color, and one we approve of and applaud. Your Mama shed a few tears of joy that Miz Wang and her decorators did not fill this room with a gargantuan table for 24 and a ridiculously elaborate and unnecessarily glitzy crystal chandelier. So while the room is enormous, a sense and scale of intimacy has been well achieved.

There are however three beefs we have with this apartment. Number one: the low ceilings. While we are quite certain the ceilings are higher than in most homes and apartments, but we would have appreciated another foot up there to give the rooms a slightly more grand feeling.

Number two: the funereal drapes in the main salon. We know this sort of elaborately draped window covering is customary in traditionally designed interiors, but we are not digging them at all. We would prefer to see a simpler sort of swag without an over-done valance.

And number three: Your Mama would not dream of paying upwards of $30,000,000 for an apartment with no outdoor space. For this amount of money we require at least a small terrace on which to store the Hibachi and read the newspaper. And yes, we do actually read the newspaper, thank you very much.

We would also like to note the staff suite. Of course Your Mama would sooner live in a cardboard box than have staff people living up in our house and knowing all our bizness, but we do appreciate the reasonably sized staff suite which includes a sitting room, something few rich people think to provide their live in staff.

At $35,000,000 there are precious few potential buyers for this apartment, but given the meticulous renovation and upkeep, we imagine this one will find a buyer more quickly than most $35,000,000 apartments.

Sources: NY Post, Michael Gross / 740 Park


Anonymous said...

Damn you are good to get these pics so fast! The place is stunning. Now if you could just get some pics from the 740 place she is moving into you would be a God!

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I think this apartment is blah. I expected more from Vera Wang. It looks a bit like a hotel to me. A very expensive hotel.

Anonymous said...

No one sees eye to eye all the time, and this is a perfect example. The decor is not at all my taste, nothing like I would have expected Vera to enjoy, and nothing like I would have expected from a nice gay decorator.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous! I'm fascinated by getting an inside look at her home!

The one thing I hate is the wicker stools in the kitchen. I'm sure they cost more than I make in a year for some reason, but they look like tacky early 80s leftovers.

That gallery/hallway is to die for! How gorgeous is that???? ACK!

Much better than Fleur de Lys!

Anonymous said...

Geeze.. I wasn't done and one of my cats jumped onto the keyboard sending my message flying, lol.

I just wanted to add that the decor looks dated and drab to me. That could be making it difficult for me to appreciate it more.

Your Mama said...

Children, we appreciate that this decor is not to your personal taste, but this is classic, restrained and serious, very serious Park Avenue decorating done well. Trust Your Mama...we've been in many Park Avenue apartments and this one is really good.

Your Lusciousness said...

I saw this in the post too--I was floored with the price tag, but then again, it IS that damn building and Mz. Wang. I agree with anon @ 730am...I expected more from Vera, but it's nice--definitely not my taste, but nice.

And I agree Mama--I would never pay that much for a wedding dress...that's WAY too much money. On that note, have you seen that show "the fab life: my big fat wedding"? I ran across a preview online and these couples spend anywhere from half a MiLL to 2 MILLION!!! For a wedding!!!! All I was thinking was, "their house doesn't even look impressive!"--why would they do that??!!!!

Anonymous said...

where do you watch the boob tube? I couldn't live there if I had 100bilzions dolluhs.

Anonymous said...

Considering Veras amazing ready to wear line which is pretty innovative; the interior of this place has kinda shocked me - I thought out of all the Park Av palaces she would have amazing decor but I guess not ... Not that I think there is anything wrong with this, it's just like the 100's of other Park Avenue classic apartments .... With decor like this the place will sell far faster than if it was some modern show place - thats not what Park Av buyers want, they want refined elegance so I guess this place will suit them fine ... [Though at $35M I'd rather be on 5th with a Park View] ... She should sell this place & 740 & buy an amazing townhouse ... Isn't the Guccione place still on the market? Also mama, has Madonna bought the place on E63rd? It was on the market for years & years, she looked at it a few months ago & now it's in contract ... ??

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't doubt you Mama. Just her furniture and drapery alone is probably worth more than my entire house here in little plain-jane Virginia.

I thought the very same thing about the kitchen stools as the previous poster. They look out of place.

Anonymous said...

maybe i've been poor too long, but where does anyone get comfortable in that museum?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that bit of education Mama. I don't think I'm frivilous, but apparently I'm not Park Ave. serious either. The important thing is that people enjoy their own home the way they want it regardless of what anyone else thinks, and not because they're dancing to someone else's tune, imo.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I'll be the 1st to admit that my home decor philosophy can take a seriously disasterous turn at times, as witnessed in the Saperstein house, lol.

Anonymous said...

Mama is right, this is just what Park Avenue looks like. Venture off into UES numbered streets and you'll see exciting decor. Blue Blood either goes this way, or the extreme of Aby and Samantha Rosen (their townhouse is insane!)

I think Vera's place is beautiful. Not what I'd buy, but better than Park Ave. places that I've been in. Though if I had this money/house I'd be really over the top and load it with Carlo Bugatti furniture. My dream, I guess.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what side of town you came from, Mama, but it's obvious that it's not the same as Vera's. We don't refer to curtains or draperies as "drapes"... very Bronx-y. And yes, there is an outside place to put your K-Mart hibachi.

Former tenant - 778 PA

Anonymous said...

Several more apartments in this building should hit the market soon. Bill Buckley lives there, but he might find the building depressing now that his wife Pat is dead. The late Claudia Cohen lived there, and her daughter Samantha Perelman probably does not need the apartment; she can live in Daddy's townhouse until he buys her a place of her own. The have been reports that Brooke Astor might finally die soon, although legal issues will have to be sorted out. Charles Fortgang of M. Fabrikant & Company, the diamond wholesaler, also lives in the building, and his company recently declared bankruptcy. So maybe he could use $30 mil or so.

Anonymous said...

What does "puse" mean?

Anonymous said...

Puse is the name of a color.

I too was expecting decorating with a lot more zing to it, but I could really care less about the decorating... the floor plan is one of the most perfectly proportioned and elegant I've ever seen, even though I agree about the ceiling height, Candela was a true genius.

luke220 said...

It is a beautiful floor plan. I feel that the interior is too sterile. Makes me think that this is staged, there is no life or character to these rooms.

The monthly fee seems low to me. I know people in condos paying more.

Anonymous said...

LOVE Mama's writing!! I think the decor (and address) are so Vera Wang though -- look at her dresses, and the models she chooses in her ads. They say "don't touch me, just stand about 5 feet away so you don't find out I'm not perfect." I've never thought of her dresses as appropriate for sexually/socially confident women, like Badgley Mischka's are, for instance. I expect the same kind of insecure, showy (complete with poor choice of window drapery and kitchen stools) -- albeit somewhat lovely -- decore to be just the kind of place she'd live in, as that's what her dresses have always been about, to me.

Anonymous said...