Friday, January 4, 2013

Still quiet in New York

Deli flowers. 10:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, January 4, 2013. Sunny and mild and cold in New York.

It’s still quiet in New York after a week of Saturdays and Sundays. There are things going on, no doubt. I just don’t know about them, and that’s fine with me. A lot of New Yorkers go away at this time of the year (if they can afford it — presumably). They go out West to Aspen and Vail, Sun Valley and Utah. For Sun they go South to Miami or Palm Beach, and a million other places.

Over this past weekend the place to be if you are a Boldfacer or a Starf**ker (and you can’t have one without the other) was/is, St. Barth’s. And if you have a yacht, all the better. Although the Prime Minister of Qatar and the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich have the two biggest (in St. Barth’s). But waaay biggest, deeming all the other boys pikers. The Russky’s is the biggest – 536 feet to the Qatari’s 436 feet. Abramovich’s was built for him with a reported price tag around a billion (that’s dollars). This makes all the other million dollar tubs look like rowboats. Or pipsqueaks. You can imagine what it must be like for all those boys with the biggest egos.
Abramovich's Eclipse next to the Qatari’s Al Mirqab.
Mr. Abramovich is also famous for his New Year’s Eve party. This year Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas performed and the party cost a reported cool $8 million. But what’s money when you own the trees it grows on?

The name of the game is celebrity and although there’s no doubt a lot of fun to be had, or the possibility, the elbows they’re rubbing are never strictly for the fun of it. Networking has many levels, and St. Barth’s over the holiday weekend is just that at the highest level in the media and entertainment business. Now that may just sound like a lotta BS, but so’s a lotta networking anywhere anytime, and without the climate.
St. Barth from the air, today.
St. Barth Airport Terminal and Pass Control in 1983.
They were everywhere you look. For example: Puff Daddy/P.Diddy, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum, Ellen Degeneres and Portia, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber, Eddie Murphy, Jon Bon Jovi, Will Arnett, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rupert and Wendi Murdoch, Ron Perelman, Steve Wynn, Jimmy Buffett, Brett Ratner; the aforementioned Mr. Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova, Guy Oseary, Michelle Alves, Kings of Leon, Brian Grazer, Calvin Klein, Russell Simmons, Kimora Lee Simmons, Peter Brant and  Stephanie Seymour, Rachel ZoeLA Reid, Rick Rubin, Jack Dorsey, Sandy Gallin, Lorraine Bracco, Patrick Demarchelier, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jeff Gordon and Ingrid Vandebosche, Richard Meier, Vito Schnabel, Lola Schnabel, Karlie Kloss, Lily Cole, Brian Atwood, Tamara Mellon, Michael Ovitz, Larry Gagosian, Andre Harrell, Aby Rosen and Samantha Boardman, Andrew Saffir, Daniel Benedict, Lawrence Bender, Ghislaine Maxwell, Jean Pigozzi, Olivia Palermo, Johannes Huebl, Nicholas Berggruen, and thousands more just like ‘em. Well, sort of ...

And St. Barth’s is a great place to go, no matter who you are, especially when it’s cold up north. A lot of New Yorkers take places down there as soon as the glitterati vacate, and stay although January and February.
Ron Perelman's is no rowboat either, the C2.
Canoodling in St. Barts: Russell Simmons with girlfriend Hana Nitsche; Peter and Stephanie Brant; Roman Abramovich and Daria Zhukova.
P. Diddy banana boating on St. Barts.
Larry Gagosian, Charles Saatchi and Leo Castelli, St. Barthelemy, 1991 (Photo: Jean Pigozzi).
Also down among the sheltering palms, in ole Palm Beach, the hotels and oceanside mansions were filled with guests for the big weekend. And the Coconuts convened for their annual traditional dance. This year’s party was affected by the death last Thursday of Bob Leidy, a prominent Old Palm Beacher who died last Thursday at 75.

Bob Leidy.
Leidy, a long time supporter of the annual “meeting” had been chairman, honorary chairman and chairman emeritus. A hail-fellow-well-met kind of guy, he was paid tribute on Monday night when the Coconuts eschewed their traditional white dinner jacket (with a red carnation) for black. In memory.

Mr. Leidy had been married to (and later divorced from) Liza Pulitzer, Lilly and Peter Pulitzer’s daughter, with whom he had two sons, Christopher abd Bobby. He had known Liza all her life, as her mother Lilly had known Bob Leidy all his life. Palm Beach was very much a small town in that way.

Out of the natural selection of longevity and the meanderings of socio-economics, Leidy was a reigning member of Palm Beach’s Old Guard – the crew who were in residence back in the 50s and 60s when PB was more of a village, in a nadir of sorts after its long heyday that ended with the Second World War. Many of its year round residents were grandchildren and great-grandchildren of its earlier denizens. And although they socialized with and were often related to the winter residents, they were the core of the community.
Liza Pulitzer's 50th birthday (June 2006) with Bobby and Christopher Leidy and their father (her former husband), Bob Leidy.
In the go-go 60s, for example, it had lost its allure for the newer tycoons, (you could have bought some of the biggest houses for a song), and the Old Guard, many of whom were living on old trusts funds and even less, could have cared less.

It was a small town back then, but still a party town and rarely driven by the ambitious personality that inhabits it today. Everyone knew each other, and all the newcomers wanted to know the locals because they still controlled the clubs – and were good neighbors. Bob Leidy, who grew in Westchester County and lived in Palm Beach for most of his adult life, was one of those guys. He was a friend to many, old and new, as well as the young and the old. So a bridge has now been lost to the future, and to the past. He will be missed with fondness and reverie by his fellow Palm Beachers.
Coconuts 2012. (1st row): Michael McCarty, Percy Steinhart, Will Matthews, John Mashek, Peter Summers, Blair Meyer, Troy Maschmeyer, Dan Hanley, David Ober, Chris Meigher, David Koch, Laddy Merck. (2nd Row): Piper Quinn, Harold Paull, Richard Cowell, Wilbur Ross, Rodney Dillard, Alex Fanjul, Willie Surtees, Girard Brownlow, Jon Ylivasker.
The last week of the Old Year was also a bonanza for realtors and buyers and sellers, setting records everywhere. Augustus Mayhew reports for the NYSD ...

Last Thursday and Friday were two of the most industrious days in recent Palm Beach real estate history as the courthouse recorded 14 island deeds banking more than $200 million.

Three adjacent South Ocean Boulevard oceanfront estates at 30-40-50 Blossom Way on Billionaire's Row accounted for $130 million in private sales of properties not known to have been on the market. 

At Figulus, Mary Bolton settled for $35.7M from Black Calabash Family Holdings LLC for her oceanfront house + $14.3M for the guest house lot located on the west side of Blossom Way extending to the lakefront.

The 40 Blossom Way Trust that paid $29M in April 2011, flipped 40 Blossom for $41.6M to a buyer whose name is still unrecorded.

Next door, Walter and Mary McPhail at 50 Blossom walked away with $37.95M from PBH LLC, linked by public records to MH Holdings, Chicago-based LLCs that are owners of three apartments at The Setai on South Beach, including the record-breaking $21.5 million penthouse sold last December by South Ocean Ventures, a company associated with Netscape billionaire and Palm Beacher Jim Clark

Several months ago, an affiliated LLC of the same Chicago-based company bought Blaine Trump's apartment, Unit 3606, at The Setai for $3 million. According to Internet sources, the buyer's LLC is linked to of the Citadel Group asset management company, 131 South Dearborn Avenue, Chicago, where uber-billionaire Kenneth Griffin is founder and CEO.

Fred and Catherine Adler let go of their 1520 South Ocean Boulevard estate designed by Marion Sims Wyeth for $18 M.  John Rosenwald at 390 North Lake Way closed at $9.165M. Mai V. Harrison's South County Road house sold for $8.467M to Bellacino Holdings LLC.

On Monday the court clerk recorded buyers’
names for the $130 million sale at 20-30-40-50 Blossom Way plus added another $25 million in last-day-of-the-year closings extending from Seminole Beach Road to Manalapan. 

Palm Beach’s quintessential agent Lawrence Moens was not commenting on any aspect of the sales on Billionaire’s Row, according to The Palm Beach Daily News. Among certain High Frequency Traders, Palm Beach MLS stands for Moens Listing Service.  Moens has been on one side or both sides for more than $200 million in recent deals that appear to have been off-market properties and not widely-known to be available to all Palm Beach real estate brokers. Whether a pocket listing or a dinner-table handshake, Moens’ modus operandi is unrivaled especially when price doesn’t matter. 

For example, if Chicagoan Ken Griffin is indeed involved in the Blossom Estates sales, his Citadel Investment Group was reportedly valued at $56 billion.  Thus, whether a $130 million oceanfront estate in Palm Beach located between billionaire and former Miamian Jeff Greene’s La Billucia and Jim Clarke’s Il Palmetto, or an $80 million Jasper Johns painting, $130 million doesn’t seem too much to pay just because it is more than anyone could ever imagine. After all, it is Palm Beach.  A graduate of nearby Boca Raton High School, Griffin was said to be, according to clouds of cigar smoke and native tom-toms, looking at island properties.

The $50 million buyer for Mary Bolton’s 20-30 Blossom Way properties was recorded as Black Calabash Family Holdings LLC with the address of Boca Raton resident and teacher David Robbe.  The buyer of 40-50 Blossom Way was not as indeterminate as Bolton’s, listed as PBH LLC, a Delaware-registered company based in Unit 3606 at The Setai, 101 20th Street, Miami Beach. A Chicago-based Dearborn Avenue company c/o Citadel Investment Group,  acting as MH LLC, had recently paid $3 million to Blaine Trump for Unit 3606, just a few doors away from HRH Princess Firyal of Jordan’s pad.  Previously, the same Chicago company bought Palm Beacher Jim Clarke’s penthouse at The Setai for $21.5 million, a record price.  After bridge plays and golf games, speculation on just who does/does not live on Palm Beach remains one of the resort’s significant pursuits, especially with the ongoing gush of uber-stealth LLCs.  I somehow missed whatever happened to Thalia and Tommy Mottola after they sold their North End property a few months ago.  They hadn’t been in Palm Beach for what seemed very long before they sold.  Perhaps, they have moved on to something bigger and better.

Nonetheless, among the last-minute Palm Beach shoppers was the omnipresent Lawrence Moens himself, who picked up a vacant lakefront lot at 1470 North Lake Way for $7 million.  Moens also scored a December 31 mortgage for $6.9 million mortgage from Sabadell United.  St. George Investments LLC, a Louisiana-based company bought the lot from a land trust associated with the late convicted murderer Fred Keller  in 2009 for $3.675 million.  An LLC associated with developer-investor Robert Fessler owns the adjacent vacant property at 1480 North Lake Way, bought in 2011 for $6.1 million.

Manalapan oceanfront finds 8th buyer since 1999

MGM Design LLC,  Ralph J. Gesualdo, principal of Milwaukee, has sold Manalapan’s most coveted oceanfront estate at 1370 South Ocean Boulevard for $15.63 million to Blue Water EJ LLC, 5311 Shore Drive,  New Port Richey, Florida, The address is associated with Bill Molter, president of the Riviera Pool Company, according to Internet sources.  After selling for $27.5 million, twice at $22 million, $19 million, $15 million in 1999, MGM Design paid $12 million for it in 2010.

Seminole Beach lands $17.48 million

John R. and Sheryl Purcell have sold their three-acre oceanfront estate at 12525 Seminole Beach Road just south of the Seminole Golf Club for $17.48 million to the East Seminole Revocable Land Trust with Boca Raton lawyer Stuart T. Kapp as Trustee.  The East Seminole Trust had purchased the adjacent oceanfront property to the south in September 2012 for more than $21 million.

Out among the boots and saddles

Wellingtonians are sleeping soundly now that International Polo Club founder-owner John Goodman was cleared of intentionally smashing his ankle GPS device.  He was released from county jail in time to spend the holidays at his 80-acre estancia where he will continue his $7 million house arrest under 24/7 surveillance by the PBC Sheriff’s Department while awaiting the outcome of his appeal.  Readers should know that under oath the former Houstonian testified he plays tennis every day, makes telephone calls, and has 90-minute dance lessons, having endured a rigorous salsa lesson the day of the incident.  Giving a further sense of security, Marc and Lori Kasowitz are in residence at Equestrian Club Estates. Regarded as one of NYCs top litigators, named “the toughest lawyer on Wall Street” by CNBC, Kasowitz paid  $2.3 million for the W. S. Farish Jr. and Kelley R. Farish house at 3689 Jappeloup Lane, just across the street from equestrienne Jessica Springsteen’s parents, the singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen and Patty Scialfa. In August 2006, the Farrishes paid $4.8 million.

Contact DPC here.