Recommended light reading – it’s summertime!

Your guide has a whole bunch of feeds to news sources, blog writers, and a few less savory subscriptions for some enjoyment.  While catching up on my lighter reading today, I stumbled across an amazing post written by The Real Estalker – Your Mama.

I love reading about the real estate of the rich and famous – and treated the reading like cotton candy:  fine in limited doses, and not much to report on. 

imageBut in a surprisingly in-depth article on the very best of the very best upper-crust co-op’s, the author (Your Mama) details the nearly fifty year history of the residents who live in 820 Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side.

Your Mama’s research through the interweb indicates that the solemn and sedate Starrett and Van Fleck designed apartment house was erected in 1916 and when built included ten full floor 18-room co-operative apartments plus two maisonette style units. Each of the full floor units spans approximately 7,500 square feet and was originally designed with 5 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, 9 windows overlooking Central Park, 6 fireplaces, a private elevator landing opening to a 44-foot long entrance gallery, and 7 staff rooms. That’s right children, seven cell-like staff rooms for all the silver polishers, rug fluffers, food cookers and booty wipers required to run a residence of this magnitude back in the day when obscenely wealthy folks regularly lived up in the same crib as their hired help.

Because there are so few apartments in the building and because the Richie Riches who move in rarely move out, seldom does one of the splendiferous spreads at 820 become available for purchase. So when the New York Observer’s real estate gossip Max Abelson recently reported in his Manhattan Transfers column that home building baron Ara Hovnnian and his abstract artist wifey Rachel Lee Hovnanian are rumored to have quietly floated their fourth floor apartment at 820 on the market with a blistering asking price of $36,000,000, all us other real estate gossips sat up and took notice. Well, at least Your Mama did. Like a dog with a bone, we started digging and searching for information about the rumored to be for sale Hovnanian residence as well as whatever 411 we could root out about the identities of the other insanely wealthy residents who occupy what is considered by those who care about such things to be one of the five best (and most expensive) buildings in all of New York City.

The post goes on for several pages and includes links to reference materials, magazine articles, old real estate listings, photographs, socialite news-clippings and more.  Truly amazing.

In case you are curious about the machinations of the other notoriously finnicky co-op boards, a commenter left this link to a New York Post article on whose who in control of these buildings.

These two articles offer a spectacular insight into who has old money in the new world.  The level of details uncovered, and shared, is truly spellbinding.

Your guide will endeavor to offer a pale facsimile of this regarding some of Chicago’s more famous real estate locales.  But don’t hold your breath for something quite as juicy.  Chicago is such a new city that we simply don’t have the history, and as Chicago is not hemmed in on all four sides, some of our captains of industry have escaped to more leafy retreats in the suburbs.