Monday, February 4, 2008

Jann Wenner's a Little Bit Country

BUYERS: Jann Wenner and Matt Nye
LOCATION: Woods Road, Tivoli, NY
PRICE: $5,800,000 (listed at $6,750,000)
SIZE: 69.1 acres, 4,068 square feet (approx.), 4 bedrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Left leaning media mogul Jann Wenner (founder of Rolling Stone, Us Magazine, Men's Health) and his fashion designer man-friend Matt Nye prove that not all screamingly rich and good looking New York City homosexuals pack their non-prescription "meds" and itty bitty bikini bathing suits and head east to The Pines, the exuberantly and unapologetically capital "g" Gay ocean front mecca clinging to the sandy spit that is Fire Island.

In fact, Mister Wenner has long been a Hamptonite going way back to the late 1980s and early 1990s when he and his former wife Jane (and their three kiddies) shared a spectacular, flat roofed house on East Hampton's swanky Further Lane. After Mister Wenner went gay in the mid-1990s, he appears (but we can not confirm) to have given full use of the Further Lane property to the ex-wifey, which sits right next door to the massive ocean front estate Jerry Seinfeld bought from Billy Joel some years ago.

Several post split reports indicate the hetero turned homo leased several Hamptons houses, including one owned by big gay artist Ross Bleckner. Although Mister Wenner's name still appears on the deed records for the 11.5 acre Further Lane estate, Your Mama finds no property records that indicate Mister Wenner and Mister Nye currently own another Hamptons house. However, there are plenty of reports in the Hamptons social and gossip columns that suggest he does indeed own a Hamptons getaway. Could Jann, Matt and Jane all be shacking up together? Anyone in the Hamptons want to fill Your Mama in on this?

The somewhat scandalous coupling of the now 62 year old and still ruggedly handsome Mister Wenner and the much younger male modelesque Mister Nye was followed with great interest by all the New York City gossips. Many figured the May/December man on man romance would not last. But it has. Not only has it lasted, the gentleman have added children into the mix. Several years ago, the couple welcomed a son by surrogate to their union and they are currently "with twins," also by surrogate.

Now puppies, this ain't none of our bees wax, but Your Mama is of the mind that 62 is simply too old to be fathering children. Seventy years old and schelpping seven year old kids to karate and swim lessons? Uh, no. By the time those twins are graduating from Dalton or Choate, their dear daddy will be 80 and will prolly need to be wheeled in to the graduation ceremony in a damn wheelchair. Yes, he can provide for them financially, which is a good thing, but a man of a certain age should be having grandchildren, not children. Just my meaningless and judgmental two cents.

Anyhoo, now that the gay daddies are soon to be a family of five (not to mention the three other grown children from Mister Wenner's hetero marriage), the glammy and bespoke suited men about town have gone and bought a big spread in Tivioli, a sleepy and rural hamlet in Northern Dutchess County in upstate New York. The 69.1 acre estate, called Teviot, hangs over the mighty Hudson river and had been on the market for $6,750,000. Several reports have surfaced (including this one first forwarded to Your Mama by Molly Motormouth) regarding the purchase and the local newspaper, the Daily Freeman, reports that records filed with the county indicate Mister Wenner and Mister Nye paid $5,800,000 for the picturesque getaway which had previously been owned by the family Livingston since the 180os.

In addition to tens of acres of lawn that roll gracefully down to the Hudson, the property includes a small pond, a swimming hole/pool, a complex of red barns and a small cottage. According to listing information for the property, the main house with its wide and inviting rocking porch was built in the "European Romantic style" in 1843 and includes four bedrooms. We weren't able to assess how many terlits are up in this place, but given that it's a grand old ladee of a house we're thinking the Wenner/Nyes would be lucky to get two in it's current condition. Our guess is that the house will soon see a slew of architects with german engineered eyeglasses and a team of nice gay decorators sprinkling fairy dust and turning this lovely and genteel but aged turnip into a flaw-less diamond.

Your Mama has spent considerable time in Upstate New York and in fact, before there was a Dr. Cooter, we had a big house on a big piece of land up near Woodstock. But despite the breathtaking beauty of that Catskills and the soo-blime elegance and power of the Hudson River, we hot-footed it back to the beach after one hunting season where we too often saw burly men carrying shot guns walking on the road and too many dead deer tied up in trees ready for skinning.

Property records would indicate that Mister Wenner and Mister Nye currently inhabit the West 74th Street townhouse that Mister Wenner purchased and renovated in the aftermath of his mostly amicable split with Jane, who appears to have continued on in the West 70th Street townhouse the couple shared before Mister Wenner confessed to his wife that he likes boys better than gurls. Reports from the time of the dee-vorce indicate that Mister Wenner was likely to hang on to the Sun Valley, Idaho retreat for himself and his new man lover.

Your Mama extends a sincere hope for patience and calm in a household with three small, and more than likely very loud children. We suspect that unless the two men hire an army of nannies, they will be tied up raising babies for years to come and are unlikely to be seen at many of the glitzy charity events that take up time and money in the Hamptons and define the fall social season in New York City for an entire strata of the upper class moneyed elite.


so_chic_darling said...

I have to agree with you on weekends upstate I have tried many times to enjoy the countryside with friends and every Sunday night the feeling of relief when I see the Manhattan skyline in the distance always calms my nerves.I can sum up the problem in one word,insects!

Anonymous said...

Good morning Mama, how perfectly wonderful. I love every exquisite detail. And bite my tongue, the wallpaper is absolutely working in that stair case. I'm inspired.

Everybody go vote!

so_chic_darling said...

Funny you should say that Aunt Mary,as you know we both hate wallpaper but this looks like it works with the house.Could it even be original?

Anonymous said...

Mama and Friends,

The facade of this house looks just like the one I left in Indiana. It was on 18 acres and 6 of the 18 fronted a 30 acre lake. I can tell you that it is absolute heaven to be out on that front porch in the summertime. I'm sure there are plenty of hardwood floors, built-ins and various nooks and crannies. These old farm houses tend to be more utilitarian inside than their town cousins, since they were placed on working farms. Back then, your money was spent on the barn and the silo's. It's probably a hand dug foundation with big stone walls in the basement. These houses will outlive all of us. I never got tired the view of my house as I was coming home.

BTW, I bought it for $125,000.oo and sold it for $175,000.00 seven years later. In rural Indiana that is a good return on investment!

Anonymous said...

Damn, I hope I look that good when I'm 62!

What a lovely spot, although I can see both men going a little crazy after a season or two of the "bucolic" Hudson Valley lifestyle with all those lil' chilruns running about.

I'm sure they'll do the house justice and preserve it's heritage with a modicum of restraint.

I'm glad I have my BGD, but if I had been on the "market" when Jann decided it was time, well . . .

Anonymous said...

My heart stopped for just a moment when I saw this house- I thought for a brief second it was a picture of the house on the family "farm" in upstate NY that was finally (after much thought and more than a few shed tears) sold in the early 90's.

No, they don't build 'em like that anymore, yes, the wallpaper is a perfect fit and yes, LUCKY to have two bathrooms. We finally decided to lose a bedroom to add more terlits and some CLOSET SPACE.

Beautiful home.

Anonymous said...

Mama I love to read you blog but don't go pissing me off about older men and having a baby.
Somebody pass me a mint julep Mama has up set my nerves.

I'm married to an older man.And although he is edging close to 50 and I'm on the young side of the
30's we still have kids on our "to do".So what if I must wheel him into graduation? That's my choice.
and that's their choice let them and their estrogen deprived self's deal with it.

Anonymous said...

When I die and (hopefully) go to heaven I'll be rocking on a porch swing on a porch just like that.
Major *sigh*. I'm so in love with that house.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:38,

I'm with you on this one.

Besides, there are so many practical jokes you can play on the aged that you wouldn't dare if they were your grandparents; but parents, well that's another story . . . fair game.


Anonymous said...

This is why I love the Hamptons!
It's never boring. Always a new story to tell or a old story to make new.

Anonymous said...

Do they need a nanny? Fashion up a fabulous little garret apartment for me in the barn, and I'm there in a heartbeat. What a lovely setting for this family to create new memories in.


Alessandra said...

Like this property and house. Am interested to see what Mr. Wenner does with it. It harkens back to my ancestral homestead on the Finger Lakes. Perhaps Mr. Wenner will become a vintner.

Anonymous said...

No the wallpaper has to go!

Anonymous said...

Hey Aunt Mary,

You're a wallpapering rebel-rouser--and you love it! LOL.

I lean toward stripping it and doing up a nice Ralph Lauren drybrush finish, topped off with beautiful glazing to protect against those little handprints going up and down the staircase. :)

Anonymous said...

Let the wallpaper stay. It's part and parcel of the charm of this lovely cottage.

I wonder if the couple will need a "tutor" for their children; one sympathetic to their relationship?


Anonymous said...

Little Buddy,
I am perfectly receptive to an en suite garret layout to facilitate our nanny / tutor space for respective C-B / BGD guests on our off day; we cook, you clean.

Seriously, I'm trying to dig up some historical interior pics. Anyone else having any luck?

Anonymous said...

Mama, Once again, you have said it perfectly. 62, in my mind, is too old to become a parent. How do I know? Because I'm one of those children. My parents were in their early 40's when I was born and both were dead by the time I hit 30. You can have more money than Croesus but it still will not make up for the fact of not being present and available in your childs life.
A friend who lives in Florida, while an extreme example, followed a perfect example...married at 13, 2 children before 18, divorced at 25, she's now in her early 50's on her third new career, happy with her long-term partner and is a grandmother to eleven. Have your children when you're young...even if you don't think you can afford it.


Anonymous said...

What is that triangular thing under the eave on the porch side of the house? Is that a window, a vent of some kind? It looks oddly out of place on the house. Please advise.

What a wonderful property! I love these Hudson River estates. Aunt Mary, just light up some citronella, pour a glass of red wine, take a deep breath, and imagine the traffic you're going to face getting back into Manhattan. Still want to go home?

Anonymous said...


Sorry you miss your parents; I was a "surprise" to mine in their late 30s.

But anything can happen - a week before my 3rd birthday, my mother was already gone; my dad lived on till my late 20s, but there's no telling what life will throw at you.

Children are a gift; I say have them anytime you can - you never know how long, or how short, a time you'll have with them, but cherish every minute, whether it's running along a beach with them or rolling down the sidewalk in a wheelchair . . .

Anonymous said...

WHAT?! I looked at this house a while ago with my realtor, I had no idea it was sold! I loved the house but I was a little gun shy since it needs a considerable amount of work, however, the pictures don't do the place justice. The house is absolutely gorgeous, 3 bathrooms are in the house. The land is incredible, as are the views. They got a great deal even with the amount of work it needs. The town is also really nice too. If you want anymore info, let me know..


Anonymous said...

My parents left too soon. I was born in their very early 20s but lost both too early. We deserved more time but were shorted by fate (healthy living defied). I'm with LGB. My friends cannot fathom concept of loosing 90-year-plus grandparents. It's all relative. There's never a good time to go.

Anonymous said...


Details, please! Walk us thru.

Anonymous said...


How come I get to clean? What, am I more meticulous? Sharey, sharey, nicey, nicey.

And we'll let BGD cook - he's a gourmand.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was fair and equitable. I'm not above cleaning. The details can be negotiated. Or, as I prefer to believe, our employers will see to both! ...Throw another log on the fire and let's read these little guys Steve Martin's new A-Y plus Z book while dads catch a flick in town.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Aunt Mary, I got addled. I was speaking to so_chic when I made my comment about bugs v. Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Did this house belong the THE Livingston's? In that case, are there no heirs who want that piece of land? Curious. Those old families don't sell unless there's no family left. Is this a historical site? Those out there into New York history dig up the goods. I'm GLUED to my teevee until the wee hours. I can't pull myself away except during commercials. I've been a political junkie since the Lincoln Douglas debates. Those were the days.

Anonymous said...

The house did turn once to non-family, sold by Livingston widow in late 40s or very early 50s, and stayed with that family until this sale. Source: one of the links in Mama's post. No diff. It's still a beauty.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Aunt Mary, the Lincoln/Douglas debates?

That must be some TV you got there!

Anonymous said...

Is this a Dutchess county record? $6m?

Anonymous said...


All it takes is really good weed and a nice tall cocktail and Aunt Mary's TV can pick up the signing of the Declaration of Independence...In color.

Anonymous said...

Aunt Mary,

I'm gonna be glued to my tee-vee too. Go Obama! We just have to have him!

LGB and Others,
Thank you for putting your side on the "too old to have kids debate". I must confess, I never thought of it that way. My mother died when I was 9 and my father when I was 35. They were 39 and 41 when they had me and I was an oops as well. I do dearly miss them, my father especially since I knew him better. Funny enough, we didn't really get along until my late 20's, I raised all kinds of 70's hell in my teens and he was still mad at me in my 20's.

As for the house, the baths were probably added on in the 40's, ours only had one and we added another. My house was built in 1880. We doubled our kitchen size and put in closet space too, since there wasn't much. We had to watch every penny we spent but I'm sure the two gentlemen will do a beautiful job.

Anonymous said...


I grew up "bi-coastal" as it were; North Shore of Long Island on weekends, South Shore during the week.

I was fortunate enough to have a lovely aunt & uncle who could see that my widowed father couldn't raise three kids on his own; they doubled the size of their house on a 50' x 100' lot and took us in.

So I really grew up with three parents, my aunt & uncle, and my father.

It was the hardest day of their life when my aunt & uncle had to ask my dad to leave because raising four children (us and one of their own) with three parents was a no-win situation.

Hence my stance on children; I consider myself chosen; not just dumped on this earth, and am all the better for it.

Hope this couple's children fair as well as I did. They're certainly starting out with a lot more love & money than most kids in this country will ever see.

Anonymous said...

Little Buddy,
That's beautiful. I'm choked. That's all I can get out right now.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with Mama in principle, I'm inclined to agree with LGB in practice.

And there's one area in which the children of older men actually have the advantage: Super-successful guys, esp if they're retired, often spend much more quality time with their second families than with their first. Plus, they've mellowed, learned from their mistakes, etc. I've seen it over and over and over again.

Anonymous said...

PCH, you are so right . . .

And LAPD, how would you know I'd see the signing in color, hmmm?