The late and great Joan Rivers was the queen of comedy. Fittingly, the comedian, actress, and television host resided, up until her death, in a gilded palace on Manhattan’s Upper East Side—a little piece of Versailles in NYC. When she passed away in 2014, the ornate penthouse, where she lived for 28 years, was sold for a reported $28 million, and earlier this year the home was re-listed for $38 million. Now, it’s been given a modern refresh suited to a more contemporary homebuyer.
The East 62nd street apartment is situated in one of New York's few remaining Gilded Age mansions, originally built for John R. Drexel, scion of a powerful banking family in Philadelphia. According to the listing, the 42-foot-wide mansion was designed by architect Horace Trumbauer, who was renowned at the time for creating sprawling residential manors. The building's neo-French classic style likely appealed to Rivers, who, over the course of her time living there, leaned heavily into the Gilded Age history, preserving many of the ornate architectural details, including a paneled library, formal dining room, and several wood burning fireplaces (which still function today).
“This is a palatial home rarely available in New York or elsewhere,” says listing agent Jenny Lenz. “It’s a one-of-a-kind property, and once it’s sold there won’t be another one like it for a while.” You can view the listing here.
Rivers spoke affectionately about her four bedroom, five bathroom home on several occasions—she famously appeared on Celebrity Ghost Stories in 2009 to discuss the “celestial spirit” in her apartment (don’t worry, it has since moved out)—and her penchant for grandeur is apparent in all the details. A private elevator opens up to a two-story gallery, which leads to a ballroom. The home is an entertainer’s paradise, with reception rooms that feature 23-foot-tall ceilings and parquet-de-Versailles flooring. South-facing terraces flood with sunlight during the day, while the master suite overlooks Central Park and the New York City skyline.
While the mansion’s storied past and meticulously-preserved details are what makes the listing so special, the photos speak for themselves. It’s the closest you’ll get to Versailles in Manhattan, and now it could be yours.
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