Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Writer Michael Cunningham Lists Union Square Loft

SELLER: Michael Cunningham
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $1,595,000
SIZE: 1,300 square feet, 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Once again we have our unofficial (and unpaid) aide de camp Hot Chocolate to thank for turning up the airy, art- and book-filled New York City co-operative apartment of Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and screenwriter Michael Cunningham, now on the market with an asking price of $1,595,000.

Mister Cunningham, an accomplished scribe who currently teaches writers how to write at Yale, is perhaps best known for his 1999 book The Hours, later made into an Oscar-winning movie with Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. More recently Mister Cunningham published more novels—Specimen Days in 2005 and By Nightfall in 2010—and in 2007 he co-wrote the screenplay for Evening, a film adaptation of a late 1990s novel of the same name by Susan Minot that featured a slew of famous lady actors including Toni Collette, Meryl Street, Glenn Close, Claire Danes, Vanessa Redgrave and the late Natasha Richardson.

Property records Your Mama peeked at and poked around proved a wee bit incomplete so we don't know exactly when Mister Cunningham—along with his long-time domestic partner, a psychoanalyst and author—purchased the updated and upgraded apartment near New York's bustling Union Square or how much they paid. There is some evidence in the property records they've owned the airy, top-floor aerie since at least 2004.

Current listing information reveals the light-flooded urban residence measures approximately 1,300 square and the floor plan included with marketing materials (above) shows it's currently configured as a pretty damn deluxe one bedroom spread with two bathrooms. One bathroom was all done up and did over as a wet-room with heated concrete floors, honed tile on the walls, a postage stamp-sized sink and a narrow, tower of bookshelves conveniently nested into the wall next to the terlit. The other bathroom, larger and with two gigantic windows, does curious double duty as a library with a soaking tub set into a bamboo and marble plinth and walls lined with built-in book cases. Your Mama can certainly understand why people keep reading material in their poopers and we've definitely heard "library" used as a silly euphemism for the crapper, but Mister Cunningham's bookshelf lined bathroom takes the expression to a whole other level that we've never considered.

Anyhoo, a compact foyer steps up to a lofty, L-shaped kitchen/lining/dining space lined with black ink-stained hardwood floors, glass pocket doors, and half a dozen over-sized, sound-proofed and pane-free windows on two walls that allow for long eastern and southern views over the water towers and roof tops down to the new World Trade Center. The furnishings are decided eclectic and literary salon-friendly with a luscious seal grey silk area rug and variety of mis-matched sofa and chairs accented with animal prints and (what appears to be by may not actually be) an actual animal skin.

The floors switch to polished concrete in the galley-style, center island kitchen expensively finished with stainless steel and bamboo cabinetry, stainless steel counter tops and a full complement of apartment-sized, commercial-style stainless steel appliances that includes a glass fronted Sub-Zero fridge/freezer that probably costs more than a fully loaded Kia and makes Your Mama swoon with appliance envy. An adjoining walk-in pantry is large enough to accommodate a side-by-side washer/dryer set up, a true luxury in a downtown Manhattan apartment.

The various components that comprise the master bedroom spoke off an unusually spacious entry vestibule/dressing room and include two closets (one a walk-in), the two aforementioned bathrooms, and a long, skinny bedroom with three gigantic windows including one that faces north and frames unimpeded, head on views of the Empire State Building.

Current listing information shows the modern-minded co-operative apartment has 12.5-foot ceilings and is equipped with a central climate control, security and sound systems. The boutique-sized building offers a newly renovated lobby and a roof deck. Maintenance and common charges are listed at a not inconsiderable $1,929 per month.

Property records indicate Mister Cunningham and his psychoanalyst man-mate also own at least two tiny (and possibly combined) one bedroom and one bathroom bay front condominiums in (super gay and drop dead gorgeous) Provincetown, MA bought in the early Aughts for $240,000 apiece.

listing photos and floor plan: Corcoran


Anonymous said...

Love the bath/library idea! Great use of space and probably to get guys to lose their clothes quicker on home tours! Seems like a nice place for the $$

Anonymous said...

This apartment looks like it's located on Sixth Avenue and maybe W 15 or W 16 Street. Quite a few blocks away from Union Square.

Just sayin'.

FonHom said...

Gotta disagree about loving the bath/library. Mold. Mold. Mold. On top of that, mold. BTW I don't see a towel rack near the tub. Do you just fling damp towels over the upholstered chair with the tatty looking cloths? Blecch.

And the toilet bookcase, NO. I like a diverting choice of disposable reading material when visiting the Crapper™. Bookcase looks good but do you really want to pick up one of those tomes? With your fingers? Do ya?

My housekeeping runs from indifferent to scandalous so this is saying a lot.

I really like the cozy bedroom. Perfect for sleeping, which is what you do in a bedroom. No room for bathing, entertaining or the home office. Perfect. Zzzzz.

i_amweasel said...

Really? I think it's terrible. Diane Keaton's foyer/library is a much more elegant solution.

Lilithcat said...

I'd kill for the bathroom/library and for that laundry room!

Mr. Cunningham clearly has his priorities straight (you should forgive the expression).

Carla In California said...

I don't disagree with the idea of having reading materials in the bathroom, but to avoid mold and possible unsanitary airborne germs.... crack open one of those big windows or turn on the fan. No one is going to climb up the side of the building like Spiderman just to sit on your toilet. It's safe.

With such limited space, there's only so much one can do. ;)

Love the rest of the place along with those spectacular views. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Humidity is bad for books so I marvel at the idea of putting them in a bathroom. Doubly so since at Yale (where you say he works) the Beinecke Rare Book and MS Library has year round humidity/temperature control of 70 degree heat and 50 percent humidity. It is amazing in that if you enter in the winter the place seems like the tropics and if you go into it in the summer it seems like being in the mountains.

l'il gay boy said...

Obviously, Mama, some of my brothers & sisters aren't all that familiar with the more "intime" aspects of our lives (note nary a question about what one could possibly do in a "wet" room)


In our house the towels never even reach the floor, but rather go right into the wash -- and although steam might pose a problem for books, it's not unusual for most over-heated NYC apartments to have their bathroom windows (when they have them) opened most of the year, at least a crack.

I must admit I never saw the appeal of reading in the bathroom before -- but I do now. I'm with Lilithcat on this one.

Timofey Pavlovich said...

Some of you are idiots. Horrors! There will be mold on the books in the bathroom! Do you have any imagination at all? The shower is in the other bathroom, but in any case, for people who actually read and breathe and devour books, the bathtub in the library is both lovely and sexy. If you've never read in the tub, I don't want to know you ...Rare books are for the Beinecke or the office. this apartment is A+

Rugby E. Root said...

He must have a workspace somewhere else, as there are not enough books there for it to be the home of a writer.

Anonymous said...

This is 16th St and Sixth Ave -- I live around the corner, so recognize the view. What a fabulous apartment -- I love the bathtub in the library!!

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