Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Joan Collins Re-Lists Manhattan Pied-a-Terre

SELLER: Joan Collins
LOCATON: New York City, NY
PRICE: $2,200,000
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today, dontchyall know, is the 79th birthday of still-globe-trotting actress, author and Showbiz icon Joan Collins. In honor of her birthday—and belatedly for her 2010 award-winning, star turn in the short film FETISH—Your Mama thought we'd take a quick look see at the New York City pied-a-terre she recently put back on the market with an asking price of $2,200,000.

Miz Collins—often carefully painted up like a geisha or like no body's bizness, depending on one's point of view of these things—has been successfully shakin' her classically-trained money maker on stages, screens and tee-vees since the early 1950s. Although quite capable of nuanced character portrayal Miz Collins is arguably and may forever be most famous for her long-running boob-toob role as the filthy rich, Nat Sherman-smoking, one-dimensional villainess Alexis Colby on the iconically campy tee-vee program Dynasty.

The wildly successful night time soap story ran throughout the 1980s when women of a certain upper class and status dripped with diamonds at all times of day, wore shoulder padded and waist-nipping power suits that gave them imposing silhouettes, and lacquered their bubbled hair into armor-like helmets capable of deflecting even the sharpest of underhanded compliments from the other lunching ladies. Her character Alexis Colby—and to a certain extent she herself in real life (as well as her less-couth sister Jackie)—exemplified this sartorial trend that took on and whole-heartedly embraced a very artificial-looking notion of what constitutes chic-ness and glamor for jet-setting socialites.

Anyhoo, this is not, celebrity real estate aficionados may recall, the first time at the New York City real estate rodeo for Miz Collins who was born and bred in England but has been a citizen of the world with four far-flung residences. In May 2011 The Daily Mail quoted an article in Hello! magazine in which Miz Collins is quoted saying, "Many people have said to us, 'how on earth can you afford to keep four homes?' And the fact is, in this day and age, we can't." Now children. Use your noggins and don't jump to ugly conclusions about Miz Collins financial affairs. Just because Diva told Hello! she can no longer afford to keep four multi-million dollar private residences around the world doesn't mean she can't well afford to keep three. Okay?

The high-gloss septuagenarian—who emphatically claimed in mid-2010 in she hadn't fallen down vanity's slippery slope of Botox or plastic surgery—has had her Midtown Manhattan pied-a-terre on the market on and off for both lease and sale at a variety of different prices since 2008 when it first popped up for rent at $15,000 per month. The price was quickly lowered to $12,000 and 5 or six weeks later dropped again to $10,000.

In March 2011 her three-unit, three-exposure, combo co-operative at The Dorchester—a mid-rise, white-brick, post-war wart of a building just two blocks from Tiffany's flag ship shop on Fifth Avenue—was put up for sale at $2,895,000. Alas, no takers even though the price was repeatedly chipped away at until February 2012 when it was $2,200,000 and taken off the market.

In late 2011 Miz Collins and her real estates team went a little creative with their real estate efforts and offered her already combined crib as a package with the almost 2,000 square foot apartment next door, a two-unit combo owned by someone else. The opening asking price for the whole kit-'n'-kaboodle was $4,775,000, a number that fell to $3,950,000 before it dropped off the market in late March 2012.

That's all a long way around to mid-April (2012) when Miz Collins re-listed her unwanted Manhattan roost with a familiar asking price of $2,200,000. Listing information (and the floor plan included with it, below) shows the approximately 2,200 square foot apartment has separate but adjoining living and dining rooms with over-sized windows; a puny, windowless kitchen stuck in the middle of the apartment; two, well-separated bedrooms plus a den convertible to a third; and 3 compact bathrooms, only one of which has an actual window.

Current listing information, which identifies Miz Collins as the owner, describes the apartment as "a soignée sanctuary high above the city's frenetic din." First of all, it's on the 8th floor and anyone who has ever lived in New York City knows you're hardly above the city's "din" on the 8th floor and in Midtown the 8th floor is unlikely to provide much in the way of a city view. Secondly, it's just not soignée, at least not as shown in listing photographs. Sure, the dining room is spacious and some of Miz Collin's things have a downtown-ish and once-again trendily au courant 1980s sleekness but the apartment itself is a fairly-ordinary and painfully featureless post-war snoozer with a slightly gawky layout—check out the confusing O-shaped entry hall—at least three different wood floor patterns and a lot of mirrored surfaces that unfortunately only reflect the numerous featureless features of the apartment.

The "formal" living room—shown furnished in listing photographs with a spare and vexing collection of comestibles that, along with other eye-crossing choices, include a zebra-stripe sofa and foot stool—connects through an extra-wide opening to the "formal" dining room where one entire, long wall is mirrored from the baseboard to almost the ceiling.

The NY Daily News ran additional photos of the Miz Collins's apartment that show a black lacquer and mirrored pedestal with a too cliché orchid on top standing against the wall in the corridor just outside the clean-looking but decidedly-dated, all-white galley kitchen fitted with—you got it—a mirrored back splash.

Behind the dining room a long, narrow den—convertible to a bedroom—doesn't appear in listing photos to have a single mirror but does have tomato red paint on the walls, white paint on the ceiling and a complete wall of built-in bookshelves with entertainment center.

In the master bedroom, Miz Collins (and her nice-gay or lady decorator) swapped the mirror motif for a sea of matching toile-like fabric used to create custom bed dressings, wall coverings and curtain swaggery. The lacquered white dressing table (with tilting mirror), side tables and credenza-thing are, quite simply, unspeakable.

The window-free master bathroom was, not surprisingly, given a glitzy, Art Deco decorative over-note with fully-mirrored cabinetry and walls mirrored from about the waist up that run just about all the way around the tiny room. This is a fun house-y space that could far-too-easily turn into a house of infinitely-reflected horrors with a single naked person brushing his teeth or trimming her nose hairs. Think about that next time you consider installing wrap-around mirrors in your bathroom.

Listing information shows Miz Collin's New York apartment carries monthly common charges of $2,915 that add to the pet-friendly building's community pot that pays for the white-glove services that include full-time doormen, concierge, package-room people and laundry facilities. Although we can't confirm Your Mama imagines the housekeeping services provided by the building cost extra.

Miz Collins and her much (much) younger theater producer fifth husband Percy Gibson maintain three other residences including a 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom, high-floor condo at the star-studded Sierra Towers building in Los Angeles purchased in December 2007 for $2,700,000.

Mister and Missus Collins-Gibson also keep a secluded villa high in the mountains of La Croix-Valmer, not so far from the impossibly haute (and kinda vulgar) yachting stop of St. Tropez in the south of France, as well as a sizable flat in London's uppity Belgravia area. A kindly gent we'll call Tom Collins—no relation to Miz Collins—helpfully pointed us in to multi-page article from 2010 in—surprise!—Hello! magazine chock full of photos of the centrally-located London apartment she's owned 20 (or so years). Your Mama might label the day-core as an elegant example of nouveau landed gentry meets Tinseltown and she herself described it as, "cosy," and "traditional English, but with a touch of 18th-century French." Y'all can call it what you will.

listing photos and floor plan: Core


Anonymous said...

Oh wow, that place is hideous.

Viva! said...

Mama, I love ya but it's JC's 79th birthday, girlfriend's already had 365 days as a 78 year old.

The Manhattan apartment needs to be gutted and so the $2.2 million price tag is much more in line with reality than $2.9 million ever was.

I love the neighborhood, close to everything and the building's service is supposedly top notch if it's good enough for Joan Collins. It's an opportunity to make a great pad, but it's going to take vision.

I love Joan, I hope she successfully parts with it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the day room in an old folks home. Oh wait, I suppose it is. She was perfect as Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter, however, in "Dynasty." So over the top and so good.

Anonymous said...

A surprisingly mediocre apartment -- it looks like it would belong to a relatively "middle class" couple (Manhattan standards of middle class here), one of whom has decorating delusions. Unless a fan buys it, she's not going to break 2M. My guess would be 1.5 tops. It's on a low floor and needs a complete update (kitchen, baths and those ugly parquet floors).

Anonymous said...

I love her too but I can never get beyond my sister's report of Joan presenting at the Clio Awards. As she passed out the trophy, her bat wing slid out of her sleeve and a collective audience gasp was heard by all in attendance. The Brits often eschew plastic surgery but surely they must be familiar with Duck tape.

Shopgirl said...

Positively disappointing. I thought anything she owned/lived in would be sooooo much more luxurious.

n said...

horrible...just horrible.
I am at a loss for words, and that's not a common occurance. looks like she decorated in 1980, and never did a thing since.

however, the photos of the London home look much better.

Viva! said...

@Shopgirl...I know, it's jarring.

Her other homes in London, the South of France and Los Angeles are what we would expect of seems Joan really bought and used this place as a crash pad and hardly lived in NYC. She's owned it for 10 years, hopefully she'll make some money off of it.

Anonymous said...

hate the floors and the's soooo 80' that a throne in some sort of budget throne room???? wow

Cecilia00 said...

That shoebox of a galley kitchen needs to be completely gutted and replaced with a modern, open one that it more in line with the spaciousness of the apartment. And it's horriblly decorated.

Other than that, I see potential. It's a good size, great square footage.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mama and Children,

I have just rewatched "Land of the Pharaohs," a 1955 mocumentary of the building of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, starring Ms. Joan Collins as the evil Princess Nellifer. As a result, I have forgiven this magnificently talented actress for her 1980s decorative faux pas..

Rabbi Hedda LaTess

StPaulSnowman said...

Rabbi..........Please post a video of you watching old movies. I can imagine the mint ice tea being sucked through a striped bendy straw in one hand as your heavily jewelried other hand navigates through the boring bits to Joan doing the evil thing. Your posts make this goy want to go to schule.

Anonymous said...

Confidential to Tzaddik Snowman, above:

With your absolutely accurate visual imagination, who needs a video? And LGBTQ-friendly shule can indeed be welcoming, fun, and uplifting for all.


candi speling said...

Mama I'm still wondering whatever happened to Alexis' South China Sea oil leases :) Remember Dynasty night in the dorms, when everyone in the common areas would yell at the TV?

OH, to be young and cute again. Hoping you and the Dr. Cooter have a lovely Memorial Weekend. xoxo Candi

Carla Ridge said...

This is the current day version of the other Joan's (Crawford) apartment that appeared in Architectural Digest in 1978. I mean, it's almost an 'homage' to a sort of 'preserved glory' -- right out of Central Casting...or Embalming.

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Anonymous said...

Is the wrong time to sell an apartment but if someone has money they can always make an offer.
as for ms collins what can i say the most important thing is what she thinks herself of herself when she looks in the mirror first thing in the morning.
when i saw her one woman show in london in october 2011 in leicester square, i wished i knew who dressed her, the trousers were so tight that accenuated her tummy,the trousers should have been looser on her.

Unknown said...

I am at a loss for words, and that's not a common occurance. looks like she decorated and never did a thing since. london flats for rent