Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Behold the $90,000,000 Woolworth Mansion


SELLER: Estate of Lucille Roberts
LOCATION: New York, NY
PRICE: $90,000,000
SIZE: 18,000 (ish) square feet

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This morning while Your Mama swilled coffee in a perfectly futile attempt to shake last night's booze intake from our brain we tap danced around the internets where we came across a wee cache of photographs of the monumental New York City townhouse mansion that recently came up for sale amid much fanfare and publicity with an asking price of $90,000,000.

And, children, the photographs are mag-nih-fih-cent. Like candy for the eyes.

In 1911 five-and-dime store bazillionaire Frank Winfield Woolworth commissioned high-society architect C.P.H. Gilbert to design a 35-foot wide Neo-French Renaissance style pile for Helena Woolworth McCann, one of his three lucky lucky lucky daughters. Mister Woolworth's other two daughter's–Edna and Jessie–were also gifted slightly smaller but still tremendous 25-foot wide townhouse mansions, one one either side of their sister Helena's humongaloid house. They too were designed by C.P.H. Gilbert.

The titanic townhouse is now owned by the estate of fitness tycoon Lucille Roberts who went to meet her Great Trainer in the Sky in 2003 at the too-young age of 59. She died from lung cancer, even though she reportedly never smoked a day in her life. The fine folks at Streeteasy show that the townhouse was last sold–presumably this is the transaction related to the exercise queen–for $6,000,000 in September of 1995.

A person would have to be a boll weevil to mistake this townhouse for the home of anyone but a wildly wealthy person to whom size matters when it comes to real estate. None the less, the meticulously articulated, somber and slightly sinister limestone fa├žade belies nothing of the explosion of joyous jewel toned day-core on the inside. The approximately 18,000 square foot townhouse opens into a vast entrance hall with massive carved stone fireplace, three coat closets and a powder pooper. If the term 'architectural grandiosity' were to appear in the dictionary, it would show a picture of this room as a perfect example and Your Mama could happily spend an entire afternoon looking at and writhing around on the mosaic tile floor in there. It is just beyond, bunny-hunnies, be-yond.

One floor up on the palatial parlor floor the heavily gilded ceilings soar to fourteen feet. The ballroom-sized stair landing on the parlor floor separates the opulent living room that stretches the full 35-foot width of the townhouse and the baronial dining room large enough to feed fifty people at a sit-down dinner.

Listing information for the magnificent mansion shows it contains 7 floors–all accessible by an elevator, 8 fireplaces, at least 5 principal bedrooms and at least 7 full and 2 half bathrooms plus a two-bedroom staff on the top floor with an additional two bathrooms and a full kitchen. The full-floor master suite on the fourth floor, no doubt larger than Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's entire home, includes a behemoth bedrooms, not one but two sitting rooms, two dressing rooms and two bathrooms.

If anyone might want to test drive this puppy before plunking down ninety million bucks it's available for lease at–get yerself a nerve pill, darlins–$210,000 per month. Lord have mercy children, fewer than 2% of the people in this great U-nited States of America earn $210,000 in a whole damn year so how many folks can there really be who can cough up nearly a quarter million clams every month in rent?

As an architectural aside: At one time, Helena Woolworth McCann (and her attorney husband Charles E.F. McCann also owned the Sunken Orchard estate in Oyster Bay Cove that included a sprawling 29-room Georgian-style mansion with 11 bedrooms, at least 9 bathrooms–plus a powder room or two) and substantial staff quarters with 10 surprisingly large bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. And that, kiddaroos, does not include the three staff apartments attached to the detached 6-car garage or the 5-room caretakers apartment. More juicy information on the property can be found on the always fascinating and informative Old Long Island website.

listing photos: Brown Harris Stevens

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