From left: 200 West 79th Street and 128 East 74th Street
The name “Café Lalo” has been well-known to dessert-lovers — and hopeless romantics — since the cozy restaurant appeared in the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail.”
The Upper West Side café, known for its cakes, pies and frothy coffee drinks, provided an idyllic setting for Meg Ryan’s character to await her mystery Internet love interest, and has since drawn legions of fans retracing her steps.
Apparently, that’s translated into big bucks for Café Lalo owner Haim Lalo, an Israeli-expat who opened the cafe in 1998. Lalo recently purchased a unit at the city’s most expensive apartment building, 15 Central Park West, and he’s now selling the duplex co-op he’s owned for years at the Gloucester on 79th Street. The unit is listed for $1.89 million with Greg Kammerer, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group.
Kammerer said Lalo’s 1,500-square-foot penthouse is one of the most desirable units in the Gloucester, located at 200 West 79th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. Because the apartment is on the southeast corner, it has “a fabulous view” of the Manhattan skyline, Kammerer said. The penthouse also has an 18-foot double-height ceiling in the living room, along with a 150-square-foot terrace.
One of the other corner penthouses in the building is owned by actress Mira Sorvino, according to city documents, which show that she paid $1.58 million for it in 2007.
Lalo declined to comment through Kammerer, who wouldn’t say why the café owner chose this moment to put the Gloucester apartment on the market. But Café Lalo fans needn’t worry that the sale means trouble for the restaurant, which is as successful as ever, Kammerer said; Lalo is merely “trading up.”
The bedroom at 200 West 79th Street
According to city documents, Lalo paid $4.02 million two years ago for a two-bedroom apartment at 15 Central Park West, according to a deed filed with the city. Since then, he’s put the apartment on the market twice, once in 2009 for $7.74 million, and again in 2010 for $7.7 million, according to Streeteasy.com, but it’s never changed hands.
High-end rentals are hotter than ever.
Last week, Brown Harris Stevens’ Paula Del Nunzio listed a townhouse at 128 East 74th Street for rent at $63,000 per month. The unit is one of the priciest rentals in the city, behind an 80th Street townhouse (also listed by Del Nunzio) which is on the market for $210,000 per month, and the $140,000-a-month “Cole Porter” apartment at the Waldorf Towers. Another new high-end rental is the 20 East 64th Street townhouse belonging to Irish real estate mogul Derek Quinlan, which is available for somewhere around $90,000 per month.
The six-story townhouse at 128 East 74th Street is owned by insurance executive Robert Lusardi, according to city records. Lusardi was CEO of White Mountains Financial Services until 2010, when he was reportedly tapped by Primus Guaranty as a senior advisor to help it rebuild its credit-default swaps business.
A hallway inside 128 East 74th Street
Del Nunzio did not respond to requests for comment about the listing, and a person who answered the phone at the Lusardi home said he was travelling.
The 18.75-foot-wide townhouse features a marble entry hall, an elevator and a finished basement with a “wine room” and pantry. There’s an ipe-wood roof deck, and a south-facing garden surrounded by an ivy-covered brick wall. For fashionistas, a custom-built dressing room off the master bedroom runs the full width of the house.