More High-Price Closings at New Condo Tower Next to MoMA

More High-Price Closings at New Condo Tower Next to MoMA


One of the latest of Midtown Manhattan’s snazzy new skyscrapers, 53 West 53, a sculptural tower adjoining the newly renovated Museum of Modern Art, opened its doors in February to several more residents.

The slim, 82-story condominium at 53 West 53rd Street, designed by the renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, had more than a dozen closings during the month, according to property records. The largest was a unit on the 59th floor selling for nearly $12.8 million.

But New York City’s biggest closing took place at an older building, a condo conversion across town. A penthouse at 610 Park Avenue sold for $32 million. Rounding out the month’s top deals: a 56th-floor aerie at 220 Central Park South sold for $28 million, and a four-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath penthouse at Madison Square Park Tower, at 45 East 22nd Street, for $24.8 million.

There were a few other noteworthy closings during the month, in an otherwise slow winter season for luxury sales. Brokers believe that uncertainty about the upcoming presidential election is partly to blame for the sluggishness.

Pamela Schein Murphy, the founder of the lifestyle website theselect7, sold an apartment at the Beresford, on Central Park West, that she shared with her husband, Marc Murphy, a celebrity chef and frequent judge on the TV series “Chopped.” It was the month’s biggest co-op sale.

The top townhouse purchase took place nearby, on West 74th Street. The sellers were Jonathan C. Gallen, the managing director of the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, and his wife, Amy Gallen.

Among the other notable transactions were two Park Avenue estate sales. One had been the home of Robert A. Bernhard, the last Lehman Brothers descendant to serve as a firm partner, and the other belonged to Eugene V. Thaw, a prominent art dealer and collector.

Closings at 53 West 53, the supertall, vitreous building between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas, began earlier this year, with prices starting at around $3 million for a one-bedroom. (At least 30 more units are under contract, according to a spokesman for the building.)

The nearly $12.8 million closing in February, unit No. 59B, was the largest recorded sale so far in the building, although well below the $16.1 million asking price. The buyer made the purchase through the limited liability company Vulcan 53W53.

The 3,230-square-foot apartment has three bedrooms, three full baths and a powder room, and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer panoramic views of some of the most beautiful real-life art the city has to offer: Central Park and the Hudson River.

The interiors of the building’s 145 apartments were designed by Thierry W. Despont, another prominent French-born architect, with finishes that include oak floors, Carrara marble and Verona limestone.

Residents have access to a host of amenities. Besides having some of the world’s greatest art next door — and in galleries at the building’s base, courtesy of MoMA — perks include a 65-foot lap pool, golf simulator, squash court and private theater. Oh, and there’s also perpetual benefactor membership to MoMA.

The month’s most expensive transaction, at 610 Park Avenue, formerly the Mayfair Regent Hotel, was for a sprawling duplex once owned by David Chu, the founder of the Nautica apparel brand, and his wife, Gina Chu. The limited liability company 610 Park acquired it from the couple in 2011 for $23.7 million, and sold it to another entity, 16EF Apartment LLC.

The apartment has five bedrooms, five and a half baths and around 7,700 square feet, along with a roof terrace, according to StreetEasy.

The 15-story limestone-and-brick building at 65th Street, also once home to the famed Le Cirque restaurant, was designed by the noted architect James E. R. Carpenter in 1925. It was converted into condos in the late ’90s by the Trump Organization and Colony Capital.

The sale at 220 Central Park South, another supertall Midtown skyscraper, was No. 56B, encompassing half the floor. The buyer’s identity was shielded by the limited liability company Parkview Holdings.

The apartment contains three bedrooms and three and a half baths, and is 3,222 square feet (about the same size as the one at 53W53 that sold for $12.8 million). It’s also just three floors above the collection of apartments bought last year by the hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin for a record $240 million.

Nearly all the units in the 70-story building, clad in limestone and designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, have now been spoken for.

The Murphys’ apartment at the Beresford, the landmark co-op tower at 211 Central Park West, between 81st and 82nd Streets, sold for $20.5 million. The buyer was the Phoenix Trust, with Adam Schwartz listed as the trustee.

The apartment offers striking park and cityscape views and features three bedrooms and five and a half baths, as well as a laundry room and windowed eat-in kitchen with a butler’s pantry.

In a 2018 interview with Architectural Digest, the couple, longtime TriBeCa residents, discussed how they had reconfigured the apartment after buying it in 2011 for $16.5 million. While they maintained and restored prewar finishes, like the moldings, they also converted a study into a full bedroom and knocked down walls separating the kitchen from the dining and living rooms.

The result was a more downtown sensibility — not to mention a better environment for Mr. Murphy, who once owned several Manhattan restaurants with his wife, to show off his culinary skills.

A house at 22 West 74th Street, near Central Park West, was sold by the Gallens for $18.2 million to a limited liability company, EBBM Partners.

The limestone-and-brick neo-Georgian mansion — 25 feet wide and six stories high — has been around since the turn of the last century. Its fully renovated and restored interior measures 10,500 square feet and features six bedrooms, seven full baths, four powder rooms, four entertaining rooms and staff quarters. There are also five wood-burning fireplaces and five skylights, according to the listing with the Corcoran Group.

The home has 765 square feet of outdoor space that includes a south-facing garden and a large terrace off a fourth-floor bedroom.

And, yes, there’s an elevator to get to all of it.

The estate of Mr. Bernhard, the investment banker who died last July at the age of 91, sold his 14th-floor apartment at 800 Park Avenue, a 15-story brick-and-limestone co-op building between East 74th and 75th Streets in the Lenox Hill neighborhood. The closing price was $8.7 million.

The four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath residence encompasses the entire floor, at around 4,000 square feet, and features a paneled library with a wood-burning fireplace, staff quarters and a windowed laundry room. The buyers were John Drouet Fennebresque II and Christie Schiff Fennebresque.

Mr. Bernhard was the great-grandson of Mayer Lehman, one of the three founders of Lehman Brothers. He joined the financial services company in the early 1950s and eventually rose to general partner. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in 2008, an early casualty of the global credit crisis.

A few short blocks away, Mr. Thaw’s estate sold his ground-floor duplex at 730 Park Avenue, at 71st Street, for $4 million to Andrew and Nathalie Scharf.

The co-op unit, once brimming with museum-quality artwork and collectibles, has five bedrooms and five and a half baths. It includes a formal marble entrance gallery, a library and a staff room, according to the listing with Sotheby’s International Real Estate.

Mr. Thaw, who died in 2018 at the age of 90, was an art gallery owner and philanthropist considered one of the world’s greatest collectors of European old master drawings. Over the years, he and his wife, Clare, donated numerous works to various museums, including the Frick Collection, the National Gallery and MoMA.

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