May 16th 2014
The Wall Street Journal
Once an exercise facility for the city’s cops, now the space is a roughly 6,600-square-foot duplex penthouse with four bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms
With its 25-foot-high vaulted ceilings, Alvin and Joan Einbender’s Lower Manhattan apartment looks more like a gymnasium than a New York City co-op.
That is because the space, in the former New York City Police Headquarters, was once an exercise facility for the city’s cops. Now it is a roughly 6,600-square-foot duplex penthouse with four bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms, and it will list with Bonnie Chajet and Deborah Lupard of Warburg Realty for $31.495 million.
The ornate, century-old Beaux-Arts-style building was converted to co-ops in the 1980s, but the former gym was still largely untouched when the Einbenders bought in the late-1990s. They hired the late architect Charles Gwathmey to convert the space into an apartment, which has an 80-by-40-foot great room illuminated by three massive rectangular skylights. The master suite, with an office, sauna and his-and-hers bathrooms and closets, is topped by a library.
It took more than four years for Mr. Gwathmey to design and build the penthouse. He built display cases for the Einbenders’ collection of pre-Columbian art, and designed nearly all of the furniture, from built-in drawers to a 27-foot-long curved sofa that follows the circular lines of the domed ceiling. The furniture is available for sale with the apartment.
This isn’t the first time the home has been on the market. They first listed it in 2008 for $30 million, a decision prompted by the financial crisis, said Mr. Einbender, 85, who was Bear Stearns chief operating officer before retiring from the company in 1992. “There was a lot of despair and gloom,” he said of the time, during which an ailing Bear Stearns was acquired by J.P. Morgan Chase, “so we looked for liquidity wherever we could find it.” The apartment failed to sell after several price cuts, and was taken off the market in 2011.
Mr. Einbender said he now views the apartment’s failure to sell as “fortunate.” Now that the stock market has improved, he said, the couple no longer need to sell it. However, they do want to downsize and spend more time at their country home in Pound Ridge, N.Y.