There are 2,043 billionaires in the world as of 2017, according to tracker of the wealthy Forbes, and 82 of those 10-digit folks have homes in New York City. While that may not sound like a sizable amount, considering the exorbitant price of real estate in these parts, it’s actually enough to garner New York the distinction of being home to the most billionaires in the world.
That got us thinking: Where are these people of unconscionable wealth posting up? The world’s 10th richest individual, New York’s very own former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, certainly didn’t deign to move from his townhouse on East 79th Street to Gracie Mansion during his tenure. (On the other hand, certified non-billionaire Mayor De Blasio, who is living in Gracie Mansion, is currently looking to rent part of his Brooklyn townhouse for less than $2,000 per month—but we digress.)
From townhouse fortresses to megamansions, sprawling condos to penthouses among the clouds, we’ve charted where a few handfuls of New York billionaires are known to hang their hats (and their invaluable art collections, etc.).
Hedge fund manager Steven Cohen owns not one, but two properties of note in New York City. The first, a duplex at former billionaire magnet One Beacon Court, has been on and off the market since 2013, when Cohen first listed the Gwathmey Siegel-designed apartment for $115 million. A series of tragically gratifying price chops has ensued, bringing its most recent asking price down to $67.5 million. (For those counting, that’s a reduction of nearly $50 million.)
Cohen’s second property of note, pictured above, is still on the drawing board. Plans for a Perry Street megamansion, comprising a connected four-story and six-story building, for the hedge funder and his family were approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in February. Ah, just the kind of place to hang Cohen’s unique art collection, including works by Picasso, Munch, Koons, and the like.
Walmart heiress Alice Walton was declared the 17th wealthiest person in the world by Forbes in 2017, but her Park Avenue condo seems modest when viewed alongside those of her fellow New York City billionaires (as you’ll see). Walton shelled out $25 million for the duplex in the Zeckendorf-developed 515 Park Avenue in 2014. The 6,286-square-foot home has some 52 windows with expansive vistas, a grand staircase, and came along with a one-bedroom guest apartment with views onto 60th Street, which could alternately be used as two staff suites.
The original Billionaire Building, One 57, is home to its fair share of very wealthy people, among them Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian, but no billionaire is more noteworthy here then Bill Ackman. The hedge funder, along with “a couple very good friends,” purchased the building’s Winter Garden penthouse for $91.5 million in 2012. The sale of the 10,000-square-foot condo closed in April 2015, just four months after another of the building’s penthouses closed for a whopping $100.5 million, making it the city’s priciest condo on record. (Alas, it sold to an anonymous LLC.)
Ackman has expressed that he didn’t purchase the $91.5 million penthouse to live in—why would he do a thing like that?—but rather to flip, because according to Ackman, that’s how billionaires have fun.
Russian business magnate Roman Abramovich got the thumbs up from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to combine his townhouses at 1, 13, and 15 East 75th Street into one ginormous 18,000-square-foot home in June 2016. The new design for the three townhouses was drawn up by starchitecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, naturally, and will include a 30-foot backyard and an indoor swimming pool.
While the megamansion’s exterior will maintain the look of three separate of townhouses, its rear facade will be reconstructed as a glass and bronze curtain wall. One other fun fact: Every full bathroom in the megamansion, of which there will be seven, will have a bidet.
Chinh E. Chu
What does one do in an 18,000-square-foot apartment? It’s a question for Blackstone financial whiz Chinh E. Chu, who is believed to have purchased this one-and-a-half-floor spread in Trump World Tower back in 2007 for $34.3 million. The jumbo-sized penthouse got a complete overhaul from architecture firm ODA sometime in the seven years following the purchase, which brought it some pretty over-the-top amenities, including a 30-foot waterfall and reflecting pool, an art gallery and sculpture garden, a teahouse, a recording studio, and a 2,000-bottle wine cellar. A full photo (and video) tour, this way.
For News Corp titan Rupert Murdoch, one penthouse just wasn’t enough: In 2014, the Wall Street Journal proprietor shelled out $57.25 million for floors 58 to 60 within luxury tower One Madison. Just one year later Murdoch put the 6,850-square-foot penthouse on the market for $72 million and headed for a more fiscally modest $25 million townhouse in the West Village.
The townhouse at 278 West 11th Street served as a bed-and-breakfast before being converted into a single-family residence with herringbone hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, several fireplaces, a huge roof terrace, and a lovely landscaped garden. Perhaps the downsize was too great for Murdoch. He sold the townhouse for $27.5 million in July 2016. Murdoch still owns, and is still trying to ditch, the One Madison pad.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission gave telecom executive Dexter Goei the go-ahead to merge his two properties at on West 11th Street into one massive single-family home just this month. Goei purchased the two townhouses in 2016 for a mere $31 million and cooked up plans to convert the properties into one 11,000-square-foot abode designed by architecture firm Arcologica.
The renovation is slated to cost $1.3 million—no big for a billionaire—and will include restoring the facade, replacing front doors, and attaching shutters to 17 of the 21 front windows, as well as gutting the interiors and building it back up into a family home.
Businessman Len Blavatnik’s financial rebound was swift after he shelled out $3.3 billion in 2011 to acquire Warner Music: In 2015, Blavatnik dropped $77.5 million on a 14-room duplex at 834 Fifth Avenue, making it the city’s most expensive sold co-op. Being the truly extravagant rich guy he is, Blavatnik also owns a handful of other Upper East Side properties, including the city's widest mansion, on East 63rd Street (price tag: $31.25 million); a palatial apartment at 998 Fifth Avenue ($27 million), and Edgar Bronfman's East 64th Street townhouse ($51 million). (That's doesn't include a brief flirtation with the Mark's $60 million penthouse.)
In 2010, Mexican mogul Carlos Slim purchased the landmarked Benjamin N. Duke house across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for $44 million, but it wasn’t long before Slim re-listed the glorious mansion for $80 million. In January 2016, the home was removed from the market without explanation and hasn’t appeared again since.
Beyond the bright red facade are details that include a sweeping staircase, hand-carved wood paneling, intricate plastering, and terraces overlooking the Met.
Juan Beckmann Vidal
Slightly wealthier than upstairs neighbor 432 Park developer Harry Macklowe, Juan Beckmann Vidal became the newest known buyer at the city’s tallest residential tower in February, when a lawsuit lobbed by the Jose Cuervo chairman against Macklowe claimed that a “catastrophic water flood” from Macklowe’s penthouse damaged his palatial apartment. Vidal shelled out for a $46.25 million 432 Park Avenue apartment in 2013, but the sale has yet to close. Vidal is now looking for an out from the sale, and is formally requesting his $11.56 million security deposit back.
Trump cabinet member Wilbur Ross may be a billionaire, but he’s holed up in some considerably more modest digs than his peers. The former banker and current U.S. secretary of commerce listed his lavish Billionaire’s Row penthouse back in 2015 for $21 million, but soon after his appointment in February, the 171 West 57th Street penthouse reappeared early this month asking $16.5 million. Among the apartment’s opulent features are five wood-burning fireplaces and a dining room that can comfortably seat 30.
The former mayor of New York City resides in a Beaux Arts townhouse at 19 East 79th Street and, keeping in step with the growing megamansion trend, has slowly been acquiring the apartments within the adjacent building at 17 East 79th Street. As of now, Bloomberg owns five of the six apartments in the neighboring townhouse, and is thisclose to creating a megamansion of his very own and joining the ranks of his fellow billionaires.
Rumor has it that Napster founder and inaugural Facebook president Sean Parker plans on creating a West Village megamansion of his very own. Parker purchased the townhouse at 36 West 10th Street in August 2016 for $22 million. The interesting part? He already owned the neighboring townhouses at 38 and 40 West 10th Street, which props up the suspicion that Parker is plotting his own Frankenmansion.
If he is indeed thinking of creating a huge home, he’d need to get the okay from the Landmarks Preservation Commission first, as the townhouses are in the Greenwich Village Historic District. (But as the experiences of his fellow billionaires in front of the LPC have proven, it can be done.)