Monday, October 15, 2007

It's the Palazzo Chupi for Bono

SELLER: Julian Schnabel
LOCATION: West 11th Street, New York, NY
PRICE: Who knows?
SIZE: A big duplex

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Bono, the globe trotting do-gooder lead singer of U2, currently owns a 3,500 square foot duplex in the south tower of the venerable San Remo apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhatan that he bought in August of 2003 from Apple CEO Steve Jobs for a reported $14,500,000. Many celebrities have or do call the San Remo home, including but not limited to Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Donna Karan, and Demi Moore.

However, Bono has recently been battling another celebrity neighbor, Billy Squier, over the plumes of smoke from Mister Squier's fireplace that somehow infiltrates Bono's penthouse. According to the website Curbed (sourced from The Villager), the aging rocker has tired of this dispute and will soon be decamping for a downtown duplex penthouse at "Palazzo Chupi," the quixotic and controversial West Village building (pictured above) built by 1980s art world bad boy and filmmaker Julian Schnabel.

Since it's inception, the vaguely Venetian and quasi Florentine style building has raised the considerable ire of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (G.V.S.H.P), who at first argued that the 14 story building (3 original floors, 11 added on top) should never have been built due to neighborhood building height restrictions. Since the scaffolding and netting was removed in June 2007, many neighbors and a gentleman named Mister Berman, who heads up the G.V.S.H.P., are outraged and apoplectic over the vibrant color. Mister Schnabel thinks it's Pompeii red, other say it's hot pink. Which ever color it is, Your Mama thinks it is striking and quite fetching. Why must all new York buildings be either all glass or some boring variation of brick/brown color?

The building itself, however, is rather grisly, a disfigured concoction of balconies, balustrades and bizarrely arched windows. Clearly "Palazzo Chupi" will not win any architectural awards. Even still, Your Mama confesses, we sort of like the place. After too many years of hideously generic buildings going up all over lower Manhattan, and too many modern glass towers being built by big name architects, we find it refreshing to see a building with a strong point of view and a quirky and odd sense of itself. Is it pretty? No. Is it pleasing to the eye? Not really. But like Mister Schnabel, it's loud, intense and a little out of control, and we admire that the bombastic artist went out on a limb and built a building that is brash, thought provoking and has people taking all up and down the nearby Westside Highway.

If in fact the reports and rumors are true, Bono is only the second buyer in the building, besides of course Mister Schnabel who will occupy a vast apartment and utilize considerable square footage as studio space. It was only on the Second of October that Mister Max Abelson, a real estate gossip and journalist at the New York Observer, reported that financier William J.B. Brady recently became the first to close on a condo at the "Palazzo Chupi," having paid $15,500,000 for "Unit 1."

Lest the children think they can simply ring up any old real estate agent to get a glimpse of the apartments, let Your Mama educate you. If you want to buy one of the two remaining units at the "Palazzo Chupi," you must somehow get your interest in the building transmitted to the capricious Mister Schnabel, who has not listed the units with a broker. Apparently Mister Schnabel is negotiating all the deals himself, probably while wearing his pajamas.

What Your Mama really wants to know is not the hows and whys of Mister Schnabel's much talked about "Palazzo Chupi," but rather, why it is that Mister Bono is never seen without a pair of those ridiculous tinted glasses on his face? Anyone?

Sources: Toni Dalton for The Villager (photo)

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