The island of Manhattan in New York City is known for having some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, where celebrities and millionaires rub shoulders while visiting the Big Apple. Hotels like the St. Regis, the Plaza and the Waldorf Astoria are also historic landmarks, and have hosted the most spectacular gala events since the beginning of the 20th century.
But one of Manhattan’s hospitality jewels is the Hotel Pierre, located at 61st Street and Fifth Avenue, with some of the most stunning views of Central Park. The tower houses the hotel and 75 apartments, whose residents enjoy all the luxury and comfort of hotel living: room service, pet care, housekeeping twice a day, and much more. This comes at a high price. In the case of the penthouse, maintenance costs reach $512,640 per year. Tory Burch and Mohamed Al Fayed are among the building’s residents.
Martin Zweig, a Wall Street banker and author of Winning on Wall Street, bought the Hotel Pierre´s penthouse in 1999 for a record sum of $21,5 million. After Zweig’s death in February of this year, rumors about the sale of the triplex apartment have surfaced in local newspapers and real estate circles.
Following the demise in 1987 of media mogul Sir Warwick Fairfax, his widow, Lady Mary Fairfax (the previous owner) redecorated the penthouse. However, Martin and Barbara Zweig decided to change the property’s décor in a style that resembled a kind of pop museum, filled with memorabilia from The Beatles and Marilyn Monroe.
The latest speculation puts the price of the famous penthouse, which rises 150 meters above Central Park, at more than $100 million dollars. Last month the rumors and speculations came true: the penthouse has been put up for sale. The asking price: $125 million. In a New York minute, it became the most expensive family-owned property for sale in New York City, surpassing the $100 million price of the City Spire penthouse, and the $115 million of the Bloomberg Tower duplex, owned by the billionaire Steve Cohen.
But this is not the first time the apartment hits the market without success. In 2006 the asking price was $70 million, at the time a record for New York. Zweig had decided to sell it because his wife, Barbara, was living in Miami, and would only spend one or two months in New York every year. However, the astronomical price, and the fact that the Co-op required full payment in cash prevented the sale. It was withdrawn from the market in 2008.
In the 1930s, when the 42-story building was still unfinished, the penthouse was a restaurant where several galas and exclusive events took place. The attic located above the exclusive Pierrot Supper Club would later become a glamorous breakfast and party room.
Even though the price has attracted much attention worldwide, the interior is still subject of curiosity, since the owners seldom opened it for strangers. One occasion we can remember was in 1993, when Lady Fairfax opened the triplex for a charity event. The apartment has an area of more than 13,660 square feet. But undoubtedly its greatest value is its views: 360-degree panoramas of the island of Manhattan. While the views have obviously changed throughout the years, they continue to be the absolutely spectacular.
The floor plan is rather peculiar, and the sizes of the rooms are quite modest, considering the square footage of the property. The living and dining rooms are the exception; at 3,500 square feet one has the sensation of dining in the middle of Grand Central Station. The triplex has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, four rooms for domestic workers, five fireplaces, four terraces (two of them in the master bedroom), a magnificent marble staircase and a private elevator. Despite the obvious opulence, given its age, the penthouse might need some reforms.
But the greatest value of this penthouse is not the size or the views. This property has unique historical value and an incomparable beauty that can´t be copied or imitated. ■