Luxury Listings NYC | ART ISSUE | July/August 2014
OUR ART ISSUE! Luxury Listings NYC is a tabloid-sized glossy magazine focusing on apartment and townhouse listings in Manhattan, plus dedicated real estate news that lets readers know what’s going on specifically in their neighborhood, in a way that mainstream media and shelter magazines don’t do. For all of Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods — the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown, Chelsea, Gramercy, Flatiron, West Village, Soho, Tribeca and the Financial District — the magazine provides a cheat sheet on the latest trends, priciest sales and rentals, celebrity moves and new buildings that keeps affluent readers up to date on what’s happening in their backyard.
JULY/AUGUST 2014 IN LIVING COLOR A-list artist Domingo Zapata paints and parties in his Gramercy Park triplex HOW TO BUILD THE PERFECT COLLECTION FOR YOUR PAD ART & SOUL NATURE NURTURES MODERN DESIGNS INSPIRED BY MOTHER EARTH HOT IN THE HAMPTONS EAST END HOME SALES SMASH RECORDS YES! MARV ALBERT’S PENTHOUSE— AND HIS PRICELESS SPORTS MEMORABILIA MANHATTAN’S MOST EXCLUSIVE PRIVATE POOLS A PUBLICATION OF STAY COOL 575 Madison avenue, nY, nY 10022. 212.891.7000 | ÂŠ 2014 douglas elliMan Real estate. equal Housing oppoRtunitY. sales | rentals | relocation | new developments | retail | mortgage | property ma anagement | title insurance How many ways can tHe largest network work Harder for you? A successful real estate transaction depends on your ability to assemble the right team. From buying and selling, to appraisals, mortgage financing and rentals, top experts on AskElliman.com offer timely answers to todayâ€™s questions about all things real estate. With the largest regional and global network, Douglas Elliman offers customized resource to guide you skillfully from beginning to end. Put the power of Elliman to work for you. VOLUME No. 02 ISSUE No. 04 Contents JULY/AUGUST 2014 PRIVATE POOLS P10 NYC’s Forget condo pools. The ultimate amenity is a truly private pool — like this one at 45 East 74th Street — that’s yours and yours alone. Premier Exclusive homes in Manhattan and the East End. Properties LISTINGS P66–89 MANHATTAN MARKET ROUNDUP Shhhh! More and more properties in the city are selling — without ever officially hitting the market. NEWS CORNER P26 THE BACK PAGE P90 LLNYC PARTY Scenes from our first-ever Summer Issue Soirée, fêteing our May/June cover star Jill Zarin. The contemporary art scene migrates uptown A Canadian town gets an Upper West Side of its own UPPER EAST SIDE P30 PAINT MISBEHAVIN’ Domingo Zapata creates colorful art — and throws killer parties — in his Gramercy Park home. P14 UPPER WEST SIDE P32 A new rooftop bar and gelateria channels Italian beaches SOHO P48 TRIBECA MIDTOWN The Greenwich Hotel’s new suite draws upon wabi-sabi P50 Families are loving life in the middle of Manhattan P38 P34 LES/EAST VILLAGE A new hotel provides an authentic NYC experience GRAMERCY Russ & Daughters Cafe and the nabe’s upscale dining scene P56 P52 CHELSEA The hope for high-end shops at the upcoming WTC mega-mall P8 Organic chemistry Nature-inspired products are must-haves for modern homes. P18 Art 101 Galleries and agencies can help newbie collectors get started. P22 Marvin’s gardens Sportscaster Marv Albert takes us inside his UWS penthouse with a stunning, landscaped terrace. FIDI Small businesses find new footholds in gentrifying nabe P40 GREENWICH VILLAGE P42 Rising home prices accelerate “brain drain” on the East End A dispute between year-round and seasonal businesses HAMPTONS P58 An architecture critic is unimpressed by the new Whitney sales of the past 12 months, including the most expensive home sale in the entire country. P24 Hamptons In a record-breaking year, we round up the Hamptons’ top ten priciest NORTH FORK P62 4 | Luxury Listings NYC | July/August 2014 EDITOR’S NOTE PUBLISHER Amir Korangy EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Stuart W. Elliott MANAGING EDITOR Lisa Keys ART DIRECTOR Gregory Cullen REPORTER Zachary Kussin CONTRIBUTORS Tom Acitelli, Christopher Cameron, James Gardner, Mark Maurer, Claire Moses, Adam Pincus, Julie Strickland EDITORIAL OPERATIONS MANAGER Linden Lim EDITORIAL INTERN Lucia De Stefani DIRECTOR OF MARKETING OPERATIONS Yoav Barilan ASSOCIATE SALES DIRECTOR Ross Fox ADVERTISING SALES Eran Evron, Nick Mascaro, Robert Stearns, Nicki Chadi, Sigalit Levi, Marcus Guest, Chris Cuomo FINANCE DIRECTOR Ken Cyrus DIGITAL TRAFFIC MANAGER Junaid Zahid DISTRIBUTION Mitchell’sNY ATTORNEY Barry J. Friedberg Trachtenberg Rodes & Friedberg T With both art and real estate insanely hot right now, we take you inside the home of a bad-boy painter and help you navigate what to hang on your own walls. Luxury Listings NYC is a registered trademark of Luxury Listings NYC LLC. Copyright 2014. Call 212-260-1332 or email news@LLNYC.com. Warning: It is illegal to photocopy or reproduce any part of Luxury Listings without express written consent. For reprints and duplication rights, call 212-260-1332. Principal office: 158 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001. Luxury Listings is published bimonthly. To subscribe or to stop receiving the magazine, email subs@LLNYC.com or call 1-855-703-9671. The magazine is free to residents of Manhattan. For those outside Manhattan receiving the magazine by mail, a yearly subscription costs $95. Paid subscribers can opt in to receive The Real Deal magazine and The Real Deal’s annual Data Book at no additional charge. Check or money orders for subscriptions can be mailed to 158 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001. here are a lot of parallels between the art market and the real estate market right now. Both are insanely hot (and possibly overheated), both are seeing record prices and both are increasingly attracting the wealth of onepercenters in the U.S. and around the globe. To wit: In May, an 18-acre beachfront spread on Further Lane in East Hampton sold for $147 million, setting a record not only for the Hamptons, but for the entire country (see page 24). And last fall, Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” became the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction, going for $142 million. Real estate has rebounded to a level seen before the bust, as have global art sales (totaling some $65 billion last year), with New York as the center of the world for contemporary art auctions. A central figure in that surging art world is Domingo Zapata. The Spanish-American “it” artist sells his six-figure canvases to the likes of George Soros, Pat Riley and Leonardo DiCaprio. And his salon-style dinner discussions have attracted patrons as varied as Salman Rushdie, Ron Burkle and Lindsay Lohan — the latter of whom Zapata denied romancing earlier this year. We peek inside Zapata’s eclectic home in a story starting on page 14. The 8,600-squarefoot triplex in a townhouse directly on Gramercy Park shows that the artist clearly has it covered on both the art and real estate front. The expansive space showcases a mix of the old and new, formal and fun — the Old World elegance of the drawing room is offset by paint-splattered floors and enormous vibrant canvases. It’s much like the badboy painter himself, who sports tattoos and high-top sneakers but also — he claims — has his butler iron his New York Times every day before reading it in the park. If our piece on Zapata has you inspired, and you’re looking for art to spruce up your own walls but don’t know where to start, we can help. On page 18, we survey local services that help New Yorkers outfit their apartments and grow into art collectors, whether you’re looking to spend $350 or $3,500 or $35,000. (To shop for art, think about heading to the Upper East Side, where new galleries are sprouting up, in part because the neighborhood is “so unhip, it’s hip” — see page 30.) We also take a look at cool décor and furnishings that are inspired by nature (charred logs that double as stools; jungle flora wallpaper created by rocker-cum-interior designer Lenny Kravitz) on page 8. And finally, we get a VIP pass inside the home of legendary sportscaster Marv Albert (yes!), and take a look at the priceless memorabilia that he’s collected in his decades on air covering basketball. Of course, there is plenty in here that’s not about art or collectibles. Notably, in time for 80 and 90 degree temperatures, we take a look at the poshest private pools in Manhattan — there are only a handful of apartments and townhouses that have their very own place to take a dip (see page 10). If I had my druthers, I’d plunk into the pool in the $50 million apartment atop the Sir Norman Foster-designed condo project rising just off the High Line in Chelsea. (It hasn’t been built yet, so I’ll have to wait.) Enjoy the issue and enjoy the summer. STUART W. ELLIOTT, Editor-in-Chief 6 | Luxury Listings NYC | July/August 2014 Grand Duplex Maisonette w Garden New white glv TH-style condo on E 79th. LR, FDR, EIK, MBR suite + 5BRs, 5 bths, 2 pwdr rms. $18.5M. Web #9796404. Inez Wade 212-452-4439 Maisonette Duplex 5th Avenue/76th Oppty to create your own space in a prwr co-op. Appx 3500 sf facing CP w pvt entr. $12.495M. Web #10054318. Phyllis Mack 212-452-4412 Exceptional Penthouse Living in West Chelsea 5BR, 5 bath duplex with 3 terraces in full service building on the High Line. $9.85M. Web #10277017. Jane Gardner 646-613-2656/Mary Ellen Cashman 917-710-2655 3BR, 3 Bth Condo at The Manhattan House LR, dining area/4th BR, chef’s kit, MBR w dressing area & mbth. W/D. 5-star FS bldg w spa. $4.55M. Web #10311838. Jaclyn Boulan 917-940-6685 Amazing Park Views & Terraces on CPW 2-3BRs, 3 baths, EIK, LR w WBFP, DR & 2 staff rms. FS prewar co-op. $8.995M. Web #9514920. Cathy Taub 212-452-4387/Rosette Arons 212-452-4360 565 WEA 3BR, 3 Bth w Hudson & City Vus Reduced. Hi flr prewar co-op. DR, crnr LR. W/D. Drmn, gym. $2.9M. Web #9785881. Cathy Taub 212-452-4387/Pamela D’Arc 212-452-4377 3BR, 2 Bath Steps from CPW at 72nd Renov combo of 2 units. LR/DR, terrace, chef’s EIK. FS co-op. $2.39M. Web #10147001. Valerie Artzt 212-585-4525/Lori Huler Glick 212-585-4536 3BR, 2 Bth PH Duplex Hi Above Chelsea 3251 sf incl 1000 sf terr. LR/DR, open chef’s kit, MBR suite. W/D. 24-hour drmn. Broker owner. $5.695M. Web #10244165. Steven Sumser 646-613-2741 Tribeca Dplx Condo w Terr, Hudson Vus 3BR, 2.5 bth, double-height ceils, chef’s kit, W/D. $4.325M. Web #10161803. Joan Merrill 212434-7082/Cornelia Van Amburg 646-613-2683 Chic West Chelsea 1BR, 2 Bath Loft 12 foot ceilings, Schiffini kitchen, home office. FS condo w amenities. $1.65M. Web #10271515. Shannon Helms Wisniewski 646-613-2604 5BR Brooklyn Heights Townhouse 5-story, grdn, 6 fplcs, Manhattan views. $8.25M. Web #9161468. Priscilla Bijur 212-452-4459/Linda Melnick 452-4425/Tim Desmond 452-4380 The Right Broker Makes All the Difference. Over the past 30 years, Stribling brokers have successfully represented the world’s most discerning clients, offering an exceptional level of service, integrity and sophistication coupled with an in-depth understanding of the ever-changing real estate market. Stribling professionals embrace a wide range of tastes and styles, ensuring that each client is matched with the broker who can best assist them in buying or selling their home. STRIBLING.COM · UPTOWN 212 570 2440 CHELSEA 212 243 4000 TRIBECA 212 941 8420 BROOKLYN 718 208 1900 · EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY A SAVILLS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATE DESIGN New home designs provide a totally organic experience “ F BY LISA KEYS CHARRED CHIC arm fresh” and “all natural” aren’t just buzzwords for the dinner table — they should be guiding principles for decorating an upscale, modern home. Today’s natureinspired furnishings and décor are hip, whigh-tech and light years away from the fuddy-duddy floral prints of yesteryear: Think a lampshade inspired by leaves — designed for LED bulbs and courtesy of a 3D printer — or a massive speaker that looks like a beautiful butterfly but delivers some serious bass. Whether you’re designing brand-new digs or you’re just looking to refresh your living space, read on for some savvy ways to transform your home into a force of nature. Straight outta Brooklyn but employing an ancient Japanese technique, Hono Stools from Uhuru Design are a perfect amalgam of minimalism and naturalism. Using a traditional method of preserving wood by charring it, these multipurpose pieces — part of a limited edition of 25 — are crafted from reclaimed cedar poles from the Pacific Northwest. From $1,250; www.uhurudesign.com BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE Size matters, according to Jonathan Weiss, CEO and founder of Oswalds Mill Audio — and looks count, too. For truly big sound that makes your heart flutter, invest in these beautiful, sculptural Monarch speakers, crafted from Pennsylvania hardwood. There’s a brain behind the beauty: The butterfly’s wings are baffles, engineered to extend the low frequency response — meaning you can expect concert-hall style sound from a museum-quality piece. From $7,200 a pair; www.oswaldsmillaudio.com A NEW LEAF Modern technology meets Mother Earth. With a shade made of nylon printed by a 3D printer, the CP3d Blowing Leaves Pendant #1 from CP Lighting is designed to diffuse the light cast from an LED bulb.The organic, leaf-like shade of the pendant lamp casts dappled light and shadows, “like direct sunlight through a canopy of trees.” From $320; www.cplighting.com TIME FLIES If you think traditional timepieces are for the birds, check out the unique Swallow Clock from Haoshi Design. Instead of ho-hum numbers, the kinetic clock features a dozen individually mounted swallows, made of resin, that marry “the aesthetics of movement and silence.” Pretty tweet. $170; www.haoshi.com.tw WILD STYLE Designed by Kravitz Design — yes, as in Lenny Kravitz — the Feroz wallpaper from Flavor Paper depicts jungle flora so bold and graphic that it “hides monkeys and jaguars peering out from their natural habitat.” The fierce pattern is available in a variety of colors or, like all Flavor Paper wall coverings, can be customized for a real tropical treat. Rawr! From $250 a roll; www.flavorpaper.com PARK IT National Park pillows from Pendleton Woolen Mills offer up a taste of a retro-fabulous, country-chic vibe. The cover is made of 100% organic cotton and the handembroidered design — which takes more than a week to sew — depicts iconic landmarks of four great Western parks: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Canyon. $158; www.pendleton-usa.com 8 | Luxury Listings NYC | July/August 2014 LUXURY YOU CAN AFFORD They are easy to use, 100% RF Wireless and one of the best investments you'll ever make. Our technical designers are waiting for you in our Chelsea showroom to show you how they work and help you choose the best fabric to match your lighting requirements and dĂŠcor. h o r izon W I N D O W T R E AT M E N T S To schedule a private consultation email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.759.4111 HORIZON WINDOW TREATMENTS 133 WEST 24TH STREET NEW YORK NY 10011 LUXE LIVING A look at the poshest private pools in Manhattan I BY TOM ACITELLI where something as simple as a breakfast alcove is considered real estate gold. Right now, there are about 10 townhouses and condos in the entire borough with pools; the number is difficult to pin down because of, well, the private nature of private pools. Here, we’ve highlighted some of the city’s swankiest private pools — some of which are ripe for the taking (or, at least, renting). And if none of these listings quite tickle your fancy, fear not: Manhattan is about to see a boom in private pools. The Soori High Line, a new 27-unit condo planned in West Chelsea along the ribbon of parkland, will feature 16 condos — each with its own pool. Interestingly, having a swimming hole of whatever size is not necessarily a huge plus for homes on the market. As one broker diplomatically put it, high-end buyers and renters would often rather have the space that a private pool takes up. Also, Manhattan has so few private pools, it’s hard to gauge what they add — or subtract — pricing-wise. “As far as the premium, it’s very hard to price because there are not many apartments around that are similar,” said Jon M. Cella of Town Residential, who closed a deal on a $37,500-a-month rental of a Flatiron triplex with a private pool. “There are no comparables out there. It’s a hard question to answer.” Interested in taking a virtual dip in the world of private pools? Read on for a glimpse at these “incomparable” homes. t’s the most refreshing of amenities in these stickiest months of the year: a swimming pool. With city dwellers eager to cool off and dip their toes into any kind of water as the mercury rises — hello, dumpster pools!— it’s no surprise a swimming pool tops the wish list of many a New Yorker. Today, there are nearly 100 condos and co-ops in Manhattan that offer swimming pools. That’s pretty sweet — if a little pedestrian. Why not up the ante with a truly private swimming pool, one that’s yours and yours alone? Luxury brokers talk of pools within condo units or townhouses as the ultimate “wow” factor in space-starved Manhattan, 45 East 74th Street Sale price: $26 million T he approximately 9,000-square-foot townhouse boasts two soaking spots: a hot tub with Bisazza Mosaico glass tiles on the roof and, in the lower level spa, a nearly 435-square-foot travertine saltwater pool that’s adorned with a skylight-illuminated waterwall. The five-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom townhouse dates to 1879, and was redone in the Italian Renaissance style by its sellers, a group of Italian investors. There are modern flourishes as well, including hand-crafted bronze and leather banisters, a marble façade (imported from Italy, naturally) and “honed millwork panels.” The kitchen is state-of-the-art and there’s a wine cellar as well as a portico at the entrance. The investors bought the townhouse in 2008 and listed it through Town Residential for $30 million; Chinese billionaire Zhang Xin bought it in late 2013. While the basement pool was definitely a draw, said Brett Miles (who, along with fellow Town broker Jason Karadus, sold the townhouse), some prospective buyers saw it as taking away from storage space. Still, the property had a lot going for it regardless. “It was definitely more of a plus than a negative,” Miles said. “[But] I almost wonder if we needed the pool.” 10 | Luxury Listings NYC | July/August 2014 214 Lafayette Street Current rent: $80,000 Credit: ©Donna Dotan Photography L ooking for some easy stress relief? This converted power substation — dating to the 19th century — has a 480-square-foot indoor pool right next to the home office. It’s added unmitigated “wow” factor to this five-story townhouse, which has hosted countless private parties, as well as video shoots for the likes of John Mayer and Beyoncé. A new tenant moved in for summer at the end of May, who agreed to pay the asking rent of $80,000 a month for the 13,000-square-foot spread on the Nolita-Little Italy border. The home will be available again Sept. 1. “The reaction is always incredible when they see the pool,” Steve Halpern, the broker with Urban Compass who has the listing, said in an email of visitors to the home. “The joke is always ‘too bad I didn’t bring my bathing suit.’” The three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom townhouse — which was bought by its current owners in 1996, who gradually transformed it into its current palatial state — also boasts a chef’s kitchen, an elevator, 20-foot ceilings in spots, as well as a 925-square-foot “Zen terrace,” as the listing puts it. More utilitarian is the laundry room — good for all those wet swimming trunks. 40 Mercer Street, PH7 Asking price: $13.995 million N o need to use the communal pool or Jacuzzi in this 40 Mercer Street condo in Soho: The approximately 380-square-foot side terrace of Penthouse 7 holds a more than 84-square-foot lap pool-slash-Jacuzzi. It’s located just off the kitchen and the study. The 3,006-square-foot, eight-room penthouse with three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms first hit the sales market in September 2012 for $16 million, having last traded in 2009 for $12 million. The seller then chopped the price to $14.5 million in November of that year — and then to its current asking price of $13.995 million in September 2013. Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes of Douglas Elliman now have the listing. The penthouse and its pool cap a condo complex developed by hotelier Andre Balazs and designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Glasscurtain walls adorn the 14-story building, and, not surprisingly, the interiors, including those of Penthouse 7, have lots of natural light as well as severe, modernist angles and layouts. Continued on pg 12 July/August 2014 | Luxury Listings NYC | 11 LUXE LIVING Continued from pg 11 T he 44-foot-long swimming pool on the lowest level of this approximately 9,300-square-foot triplex maisonette is surrounded by marble: The pool itself is made of marble, as is the deck area around it. This in-residence spa also boasts a sauna and a steam room. The rest of the Tribeca spread also has its share of Carrera marble, especially the foyer, living room and kitchen. Leonard Steinberg of Urban Compass, who has the listing, said the pool has drawn interest not just from swimmers, but from parents who see it as the perfect jumping off — or diving off — point for a kids’ party. Steinberg, who listed Unit 1C shortly before Memorial Day, also got to the yin-yang of all these private pools, whatever the sales and leasing histories of the properties that host them.“I do think that the most important thing is that it’s a wow-factor item and usable,” he said. “So it’s not just a gimmick.” 60 Collister Street, #1C Asking price: $18.95 million T 51 Walker Street, TH1 Sale price: $4.675 million his 50-foot-wide Tribeca townhouse boasts some serious swagger in its serious outdoor space: The 1,574-squarefoot terrace and garden has a 25-square-foot Jacuzzi, plus a pool that’s larger than 300 square feet. Alas, like some other pools on this list, the swimming hole at Townhouse 1 at 51 Walker was not necessarily a must-have, as evidenced by the tortuous sales saga of the approximately 3,200-square-foot spread: It churned through at least six listing brokers and deep-dived from an asking price of $8.695 million in 2008 to its September 2012 closing of $4.675 million. Perhaps that’s why the blog Curbed New York called 51 Walker’s key amenity “Tribeca’s saddest pool.” Just three months after the Eklund Gomes Team at Douglas Elliman got hold of it, however, the property traded. “Buyers are, in general, surprised and energized by the fact that there exists in the city private oases that they can purchase and at prices reasonable to the current market,” said Jorden Shea, an agent with the Eklund Gomes Team, by email. “Buyers will always clamor for the opportunity to own something uniquely exclusive to them, pools notwithstanding.” 522 West 29th Street Asking prices: TBA T his planned condo development, dubbed the Soori High Line because of its proximity to Chelsea’s super-hip elevated park, will more than double the number of private pools in Manhattan. Of the 27 luxury condos in the 11-story building, 16 will have heated outdoor swimming pools. While asking prices are not yet available, we now know the dimensions of the pools: lengths from 23 to 25 feet, widths from 7 to 9 feet, and each will be 4 feet deep. The condos’ floor- to-ceiling windows overlook the private outdoor pools (which sport some snazzy views themselves). All the units in the Soori, which is being designed and co-developed by Yale-trained architect Soo K. Chan, are slated to have ceilings soaring to at least 14 feet, as well as living-room fireplaces. Sales are expected to launch by the end of the year. 12 | Luxury Listings NYC | July/August 2014 551 West 21st Street, Penthouse Asking price: $50 million T he nearly 62-foot-long, 9.5-foot-wide lap pool has been up for grabs since early May, when it officially went on the market as part of the 6,200-square-foot, floor-through penthouse at 551W21, the new condo complex designed by British baron Norman Foster and developed by Scott Resnick. Itâ€™s part of a three-sided, 4,500-squarefoot outdoor space with dictatorial views of the Hudson River and Northern Jersey. There is plenty more besides the pool to draw awe, according to listing broker Erin Boisson Aries of Brown Harris Stevens. The pad has a separate service entrance; double-sided wood-burning fireplaces; a kitchen with heating and cooling drawers, as well as two Sub-Zero fridges and twin wine coolers; 12-foot ceilings and a 33-foot-long loggia off the living room. There are also the sweeping views from the outdoor space. CELEB CRIBS Bad-boy artist Domingo Zapata creates edgy work in a traditional Gramercy Park setting Zapata’s studio is on the home’s parlor level. Floorto-ceiling windows flood the room with light and overlook exclusive Gramercy Park. C BY ZACHARY KUSSIN colored paintings. Instead of tea, the butler offers milkshakes from Shake Shack, of which there were two shelves full in the refrigerator from a charity auction held here the night before. The juxtapositions of old and new, formal and fun, bright and subdued are not only on display throughout the 8,600-square-foot triplex, but also embody the artist himself. “It’s my head, it’s my mind,” said Zapata, 39, gesticulating with purple paint-stained hands, of these myriad contrasts. He’s wearing a crisp, black buttoned-down shirt that shows off his tattooed arms, one of which sports an oversized watch. “If you could make a hole in my brain and look at it, you would see this.” Not surprisingly, Zapata’s artwork, on display throughout the spacious digs, gives PHOTOGRAPHED BY STUDIO SCRIVO lose your eyes and envision the general scene in the hit TV series “Downton Abbey.” There’s a palatial estate that houses stunning works of art. There’s a butler and a kitchen full of treats. Outside, there’s green space. Now imagine how this would translate to 21st-century New York City with a hip resident, and the result is the Gramercy Park home of artist Domingo Zapata. Here, a friendly butler — who this day is dressed in a pink Polo shirt, indigo jeans and black dress shoes — leads a visitor through this triplex portion of a 19th-century townhouse, whose cream-toned interior boasts standing Medieval suits of armor and patterned Louis XIV wall paneling, as well as Zapata’s own large-scale and brightly the biggest glimpse into his antithetical mind. On one end of his second-floor dining room hang his renditions of the iconic Mona Lisa portrait: One is wearing a gold crown, another has an X for a mouth and another bears the oxidized headpiece of the Statue of Liberty. Across the room, standing by the windows that overlook the garden, are two mounted chaquetillas — traditional jackets worn by bullfighters in Zapata’s native Spain — that are covered in layers of colorful paint. The wall next to the home’s sweeping staircase exhibits a large-scale crucifixion of Jesus Christ, with pops of pink, yellow and gold, and a painted “Do you believe?” on its right-hand side. There’s yet another contrast present inside the space on this cloudy day: a palpable silence in a home that is best known 14 | Luxury Listings NYC | July/August 2014 “For me, life is a dream right now — a dream I hope I never wake up from.” —Domingo Zapata The ornate foyer. Zapata occupies the lower three floors of the house. Some works from the artist’s Polo series, flanked by suits of armor As a painter, Zapata aims “to make the world a little more beautiful.” for buzzing with company. Every week or two, the gregarious Zapata welcomes actors, writers, musicians and artists into his rental home for a salon-style dinner discussion on what’s happening in the arts. Such guests have included Salman Rushdie, Ron Burkle and Lindsay Lohan — the latter of whom Zapata denied romancing in early May. Zapata said the process of hosting these gatherings is “organic.” Though he has help with the pre-party cleaning and food preparations, he insists they’re generally spur-ofthe-moment, casual hangouts with intellectual types. “I always like to hang out with creative people,” Zapata said. “I always said I am a painter and what I like to do is make the world a little more beautiful, and let all these other people who know so much more about other things make it a better place.” Of course, not every gathering Zapata hosts is intimate — sometimes he throws big bashes, and sometimes he hosts fundraisers. Last fall, for example, the painter held a fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign; guests included “Million Dollar Listing New York” star Ryan Serhant and hotelier Vikram Chatwal. “He said I redefined the [phrase] ‘studio apartment,’” said Zapata of the mayor, who, having admitted to house envy, was punning on Zapata’s capacious live/work digs. Zapata’s work area is a spacious room on the second floor, the parlor level, which also contains the dining room. Visible from street level, Zapata’s studio looks out onto the exclusive Gramercy Park — for which Zapata has a key — and lets in good light through three floor-to-ceiling windows. “This is where the magic happens,” he said. A turn away from the windows gives way to a stunning view of the classic-looking room. In yet another unexpected contrast, ornate moldings hang over roughly 20 large and bold paintings made by Zapata, awaiting their finishing touches. A Steinway grand piano, which Zapata doesn’t play (the instrument was already in the partially furnished rental) stands next to a fireplace that’s topped by a large mirror sheathed in original moldings. One can only imagine Continued on pg 16 July/August 2014 | Luxury Listings NYC | 15 CELEB CRIBS Continued from pg 15 The studio is adorned with a grand piano, which Zapata doesn’t play. Nearly completed commissioned work dot the artist’s work space. that the European masters also worked in studios with such period details. There’s also a cushy, moss-colored velvet sofa off to the side, which comes in handy. “Sometimes I don’t leave my house for a week or two if I’m working,” Zapata said. “I stay here, I sleep on the couch and I work. I’m entranced. I just think of painting and colors and beautiful fantasies … it’s a great experience. It’s like being high for a week.” The ceiling is 14 feet above the papercovered, paint-splotched floor; look up and there’s a traditional plaster rosette with an equally-as-vintage chandelier, as well as a new paper mural that spans the ceiling and surrounds the fixture entirely. It’s Zapata’s favorite piece in the home. A modern interpretation of a scene from Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights,” it features peach-colored nudes interacting with green land and assorted wildlife. Zapata’s previous artistic setting wasn’t quite spacious enough to accommodate both work and life. Before moving into the Gramercy Park digs last July, he lived in the Bowery Hotel’s 2,300-square-foot penthouse, where everything was located on one floor, making space a concern. “I was living in my own painting,” he said of his prior digs. “It was a little bit intense.” So he sought out a larger home, this one with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, mainly to secure more space for his art and, of course, his young children: Domingo Jr., 6, and Paul, 5. They live upstate with their mother, but visit their dad regularly. “I like this area,” he said of Gramercy Park. “It makes me feel sometimes that I’m not in New York City. The one thing that I love most about New York is the energy — but at the same time it’s the one thing that I fear the most because it can be very intense and overwhelming.” At home, he finds escape. When he’s not in heavy creative mode, he takes his morning coffee and the New York Times, ironed crisp by his butler — “We think it’s funny,” said Zapata of how he and his butler feel of this presentation — across the street to the park to start his day. But even in the heat of busy work and frequent company, Zapata finds tranquility indoors. The dark woodpaneled library on the ground floor is his favorite space in the home. It provides peace and quiet under the soft glow of a small light fixture hanging from above. Other Old World details include a gramophone, displayed near the built-in bookcases, and an original fireplace. Fittingly, however, there are incongruous touches to this old-school space: Over the mantel hangs a photograph by Patrick McMullan of Andy Warhol (whom Zapata considers an inspiration); close by is a New York Rangers hockey stick. The triplex’s uppermost level is where the bedrooms are located. There, Zapata is apt to zone out and watch TV. (See, celebrity painters! They’re just like us!). “I love ‘Law and Order,’” he said of the crime drama, which he watches in his large bedroom on a wide television. “I’m addicted to it. When I’m not working, that’s what I’m doing.” A black-painted slogan, “life is a dream,” graces one of his bedroom’s walls — and in Zapata’s case, that’s a statement of fact. Zapata lived in the Bronx when he first moved to New York 15 years ago and didn’t have much money in his pocket. His artistic aspirations reigned, but he worked in corporate finance for five years, until his painting career blossomed after mounting a piece from his equestrian-themed Polo series at a show at the Chelsea home of Michael Borrico, a contractor and polo enthusiast. From there, his career took off: Today, Zapata’s work can sell for six figures, and his clients include the likes of George Soros, Pat Riley and Leonardo DiCaprio. “For me, life is a dream right now,” he said. “A dream that I hope I never wake up from.” 16 | Luxury Listings NYC | July/August 2014 learn the difference. know the difference. Home • Auto • Umbrella • Valuable Items • Flood • Condo/Co-Op/Renter Policies ALWEX INSURANCE At Alwex, we believe that the quality and longevity of our client relationships speaks volumes about our approach to the insurance business and the level of service we provide. We take the time to understand your specific goals, tailor a program to fit your needs, and vow to offer you the best possible coverage to preserve your investments for years to come. Call 888-