20 Mar 2010

Bill Buckley’s New York Apartment Lowered in Price

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The rich are different from you and me”, says Nick Carraway in Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, prompting Hemingway to retort: “Yes. They have more money.”

But even the rich are not immune from the impact of the current recession and the real estate market collapse.

The New York Times reports that the price of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s splendiferous Manhattan pied-a-terre has been slashed by slightly more than half.

THE worldly and the clever gathered at the dinner parties that William F. Buckley Jr. and his wife, Pat, gave in their Park Avenue maisonette. Yet even though the chairs in the formal dining room are still covered in chartreuse leopard print, it has been quite a while since anyone but a broker or a prospective buyer has spent much time there.

Mrs. Buckley, a socialite and mainstay of the charity circuit, died in 2007, and Mr. Buckley, the writer and godfather of modern conservatism, followed 10 months later in early 2008. Their 10-room duplex came on the market at $24.5 million in May 2008, but there were no takers; in early 2009, as the real estate market was choking, the estate decided to take down the for-sale sign.

Now, more than a year later, the apartment at 778 Park Avenue has been relisted at $12 million, less than half the original asking price. And it is not the only listing in the building to have had to, ahem, adjust its price. The late Brooke Astor’s 15th-floor duplex, with 14 rooms and 6 terraces, started at $46 million in May 2008 and is now being offered for $24.9 million.

Ms. Del Nunzio is quick to point out that the apartment has “the most extraordinary suite of entertaining rooms that you could find,” with a private entrance on East 73rd Street and an 18-foot-long marble entry hall that opens onto a 27-foot-long gallery, leading to a living room, a library and a dining room.

“This is the place,” Ms. Del Nunzio continued, “where all those conversations and dinners with statesmen and political figures, not to mention film and television stars, with a quiet family dinner thrown in here and there, happened. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a piece of New York’s intellectual history.”

The listing, with additional photos.

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