Nantucket mansion slashes price from $59M to $35M

Nantucket's most expensive home

Nantucket’s most expensive home

WEEKENDEDITION The owners of the most expensive estate on Nantucket are having a tough time selling. After several price-cuts, the property is now being offered for $35 million, down significantly from its initial asking price of $59 million.

The estate, called Swain’s Neck, is now being sold as a 56-acre lot. It had included 70 acres when it first hit the market back in May 2012.

Swain’s Neck is being sold by the estate of the late Russell Dale Phelon, who made his fortune in the engine electronics business. It is listed with Great Point Properties.

In addition to a 7,800-square-foot mansion, the estate has two moorings and two gated horse pastures.

Welcome to the most expensive estate on Nantucket.


It’s totally secluded on a private peninsula.


The late owner purchased the home in 1997 for $7.15 million.


The living room has very high ceilings.



A look the celebrity power of Bank Street

From left: Sid Viscous, Bank Street, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and a poster for "Auntie

From left: Sid Viscous, Bank Street, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and a poster for “Auntie Mame”

WEEKENDEDITIONBank Street, a small six-block street in Greenwich Village, has the unique distinction of playing host to an odd assortment of notables, including Sid Vicious, congresswoman Bella Abzug, the real-life Auntie Mame, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. 

“Bank Street is the quintessential Jane Jacobs Greenwich Village block, the quintessential urban street,” said Roberta Brandes Gratz, the author of “The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.” “When Jane wrote, she used her nearby block, Hudson, as a window into the rhythm of an urban street, a street representing multiple income levels, professions and generations. This sort of street made it easy to be friendly with your neighbors.”

But while many New York City streets have rich histories, the celebrity power that accumulated over the years on Bank Street has made it notable.

Most famously, Sex Pistols bassist Sid Viscous overdosed on heroin in his girlfriend’s apartment on Bank Street.

“I want people to understand what it was like to grow up here,” said Donna Florio, a neighborhood historian and life-long resident of Bank Street. “The street took me in, opened doors and taught me about life. It’s really the story of New York, the story of America. You talk to your neighbors, and you realize that everyone has something to say. That helps you connect.”

Florio recalls spilling a watering can from her window in the late 1970s on John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

“Yoko scowled,” Florio said. “But John just smiled, shook the water off his hair and said, ‘No worries.’ ” [NYT] Christopher Cameron

Developer’s Soho penthouse sees $14.5M deal

20 Greene Street in Soho and Cameron and Tyler Winkveloss

20 Greene Street in Soho and Cameron and Tyler Winkveloss

WEEKENDEDITION Real estate developer Justin Ehrlich has sold his Soho penthouse for $14.5 million with the help of Douglas Elliman’s Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes. But it’s the potential buyers that are of interest. 

According to city records spotted by the New York Observer, the buyers are Casterlirock Holdings LLC, which give a business address in Delaware shared by Cameron and Tyler Winkveloss‘ Bitcoin fund Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust.

It’s possible that the Winklevoss twins – famously portrayed in the 2012 film The Social Network and known for suing Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg for $140 million – picked up the 4,300-square-foot pad following their recent decision to list the fund on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The triplex apartment, located at 20 Greene Street, features 360-degree views and a wrap-around terrace. [NYO | Curbed]Christopher Cameron

Manhattan bedbug violations halved since 2010

A bedbug exterminator advertisement in Manhattan

A bedbug exterminator advertisement in Manhattan

WEEKENDEDITION Perhaps one of the greatest – and least visible – boons to life in New York City and to its housing market could be the elimination of bedbugs. And according to a new report, the city is well on its way toward that goal. 

City records show that Manhattan is close to cutting its bedbug population by more than half, according to the New York Post.

Department of Housing Preservation and Development records show that there have been 381 violations issued for bedbug infestations in Manhattan rental buildings since October 2013, compared to 846 violations in 2010 – the height o the bedbug epidemic.

“As opposed to just a few years ago, people are now considerably more vigilant, and there is more and better information available to the general public regarding how to prevent and deal with infestations,” HPD spokesperson Eric Bederman told the Post.

In Manhattan, 775 violations were issued in 2011, and 675 violations were handed out in 2012. That number dropped again in 2013 with 520 violations.

Citywide, 2,268 bedbug violations have been issued since October 2013, compared to 4,808 in 2010. [NYP]Christopher Cameron

TRO halts Prospect Lefferts Gardens development

626 Flatbush Avenue

626 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens

WEEKENDEDITION A temporary restraining order has stopped work at a 23-story residential tower in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

Justice Peter Moulton ordered that developers Hudson Companies and Lettire Construction stop laying the foundation of the residential building, located at 626 Flatbush Avenue, until he makes a decision regarding a lawsuit filed by residents and community groups.

Opponents of the tower have argued that it violates state environmental laws, by taking advantage of more than $72 million in public funds without receiving a proper environmental impact study.

“Our clients are pleased that the judge has recognized the potential this tower has to cause irreparable harm to the surrounding community,” Rachel Hannaford, senior staff attorney at Legal Services NYC’s Brooklyn program, which represents the petitioners said in press release. “We understand a TRO of this nature is rare and that its effect will be immediate and powerful.” – Christopher Cameron

Talk about context: look at these literary listings

The homes of Ray Bradbury, Rudyard Kipling,  Thomas Mann and Ernest Hemingway

The homes of Ray Bradbury, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Mann and Ernest Hemingway

WEEKENDEDITION Are you an avid reader with cash to spare? Than why not pick up the former home of your favorite author. From Ray Bradbury to Elizabeth Bishop, these literary homes are currently on the market. 


The home of Ray Bradbury

The Cheviot Hills home of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, most remembered for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, is currently asking $1.495 million.


The home of Beverly Cleary

For just $362,000, you can own the childhood home of one of America’s best loved children’s authors. The home of Beverly Cleary has hit the market in northeast Portland.


The home of Norman Mailer

Felling counter-culture? Get sloshed in the Provincetown, Massachusetts home of Norman Mailer for $3.9 million.


The home of Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway moved around a lot over the years, but why not settle down in one of the author’s Oak Park, Illinois homes for just $799,000.


The home of Rudyard Kipling

“It stood in a sort of little island behind flint walls which we then thought high enough, and almost beneath some big ilex trees. It was small, none too well built, but cheap, and so suited us,” the Victorian author Rudyard Kipling once wrote of his East Sussex home, known as the Elms. If it suits you, the ask is roughly $2.4 million.


The home of Thomas Mann

This 10,000-square-foot El Fureidis estate in Montecito, California made a splash when it hit the market recently. And no wonder since it is the setting for the 1983 film Scarface. But the mansion also has literary prestige as the home of German author Thomas Mann. It’s currently on the market for $35 million.


The home of Elizabeth Bishop

Finally, the Great Village, Nova Scotia home of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop has hit the market asking $135,000. [Flavorwire] Christopher Cameron

NYPL reading room closed after ceiling crumbles

The New York Public Library’s Rose Main Reading Room

The New York Public Library’s Rose Main Reading Room

WEEKENDEDITION Book lovers are losing the New York Public Library’s iconic Rose Main Reading Room for about two weeks. The NYPL is shuttering the room after a large piece of plaster fell from the ceiling Wednesday night.

The library’s landmark Fifth Avenue building has 52-foot-tall ceilings, richly decorated with wood paneling and painted clouds. Not the library is have the main room and the adjoining Bill Blass Public Catalog Room thoroughly inspected, library spokesperson Ken Weine told the Wall Street Journal. He added that the piece of fallen plaster was roughly a foot wide.

The rest of the Stephen A. Schwarzman building remains open, and additional spaces in the building are being opened to accommodate patrons.

Recently the library scrapped renovation plans for the building that would have gutted the historic book stacks. However, that renovation would not have altered the Rose room. [WSJ]Christopher Cameron

10,000-sf private residence rising in Williamsburg


119-123 Kent Avenue

WEEKENDEDITION Someone with an appetite for space has set his or her sights on Brooklyn. A new building coming to Williamsburg will feature a nearly 10,000-square-foot single-family residence.

The rather generic looking development is located at 119-123 Kent Avenue — on the corner of Kent and North 7th — and is designed by Michael Muroff Architect, according to New York Magazine.

Plans call for the seven-story building to be divided into 3,000 square feet of commercial space and a massive 9,771-square-foot residence, featuring an underground garage and an infinity pool. So far little else is known about the project, but pricing is sure to be astronomical. [NYM]Christopher Cameron

Inside designer Alexis Bittar’s NYC home

Alexis Bittar

Alexis Bittar

WEEKENDEDITION Alexis Bittar is known for his glitzy Lucite and Swarovski jewelry lines. But Bittar’s New York City apartment is far more subdued, focusing on carefully selected antiques.

Today, Alexis Bittar is the CEO and Creative Designer of the eponymous jewelry company, but as a child in Brooklyn, Bittar attended antique auctions with his parents, sparking an interest in collecting. According to Elledecor and Curbed, his Brooklyn Heights home is filled with wooden antique furniture, textiles that range from a tribal throw to Persian rugs, and an eclectic assortment of art.


Describing one Victorian artwork for Elledecor, Bittar said: “It’s a bizarre piece. Her husband just died and she was like ‘wait let me sit for this portrait right now.’ What’s incredible about that painting, for me, is that she has see-through sleeves and she’s mourning.”

And despite the seeming disparity between his modern jewelry designs and his antique-centric home, Bittar notes that: “I love the use of juxtaposed color. You can see in my jewelry color palette that I mirror sensibilities in some of the paintings that I have. For example, I’ll use a dash of red as an accent instead of a majority.”

ED-ALEXIS-BITTAR-HOME-4-lgn-thumb[Elledecor | Curbed]Christopher Cameron