Category Archive 'William F. Buckley Jr.'

25 Nov 2012

Roger Kimball Affectionately Remembers Bill Buckley

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Roger Kimball took the occasion of William F. Buckley Jr.’s posthumous 87th birthday to remember a friend he describes, in conscious emulation of that particular friend’s fondness for sesquipedelian expression, as “an affirmative, not an apophatic, character.”

Emerson, who wasn’t wrong about everything, devoted a book to Representative Men, men who epitomized some essential quality: Shakespeare; or, the Poet; Napoleon; or, the Man of the World; Goethe; or, the Writer. Bill was, in Emerson’s sense, a Representative Man. One cannot quite imagine Emerson getting his mind around a character like William F. Buckley Jr. But if one can conjure up a less gaseous redaction of Emerson, one may suppose him writing an essay called Buckley; or, the Conservative. …

Being conservative may commit one to certain political positions or moral dogmas. But it also, and perhaps more importantly, disposes one to a certain attitude toward life. The 19th-century English writer Walter Bagehot touched upon one essential aspect of the conservative disposition when, in an essay on Scott, he observed that “the essence of Toryism is enjoyment.” Whatever else it was, Bill’s life was an affidavit of enjoyment: a record of, an homage to, a life greatly, and gratefully, enjoyed. What delight he took in–well, in everything. Playing the piano or harpsichord, savoring a glass of vinho verde, dissecting the latest news from Washington, inspecting with wonder the capabilities of email and internet service on a Blackberry handheld.

Read the whole thing.

Though it’s sad that Buckley is gone, we can console ourselves with the thought that he, at least, was spared seeing Barack Obama re-elected.

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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