The Real Deal New York

UES townhouse, once home to literary celebrities and a former mayor, on the market for $75K a month

Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra are said to have stayed in the UES home

June 29, 2012 03:00PM
By Katherine Clarke

Clockwise from left: Bennett Cerf, Phyllis Cerf, former Mayor Wagner and the library of the Upper East Side home

An Upper East Side townhouse once home to Bennett and Phyllis Cerf  — founder of Random House and an editor of Dr. Seuss books, respectively — has hit the rental market for $75,000 a month, according to data from Streeteasy.com.

The 20-foot-wide brownstone, at 132 West 62nd Street, between Park and Lexington avenues, came on the market on Wednesday. It was sold by the Cerf family in 2007 for $8.5 million and again by jewelry designer Suzanne Sheik in 2010 for $14 million. The identity of the current owner, an LLC named Lgm (NY), was not immediately clear. A call to the owner’s attorney, James Carolan of Withers Bergman, was not immediately returned.

The Cerfs hosted various political and cultural figures during their time on 62nd Street. The home’s bookshelves still hold literary treasures signed and annotated by authors such as William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, and Joan Didion, according to news reports. Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Hubert Humphrey are all said to have stayed in the home; an oil painting by Sinatra hangs in the office.

After Bennett Cerf died, Phyllis Cerf went on to marry Robert Wagner, who was a former New York City mayor. The couple remained in the home.

The 5,129-square-foot home, offered furnished, has six bedrooms, six bathrooms and five half-bathrooms, as well as a finished basement with wine storage. Built in 1871, and rising five stories, it is part of the Upper East Side Historic District. The top floor features an office and workspace and a personal fitness studio.

The house is listed with Audrey Adams of Trump Sales & Leasing. Kevin Sneddon, senior vice president and managing director at Trump, said the owner is affiliated with an exclusive chain of luxury results and travels frequently. He is currently using the property predominantly as a pied a terre, he said. Sneddon noted that Trump had already shown the property to Saudi royalty.

It is the fourth most expensive townhouse property currently on the rental market in Manhattan, according to Streeteasy.com. The most expensive is a 12,000-square-foot single-family mansion at 247 Central Park West, which is asking $110,000 and month and recently switched to a new broker. As of earlier this month, the building is listed with Vannessa Kaufman and Stan Ponte of Sotheby’s International Realty. It was previously listed by Matthew Lesser of Leslie J. Garfield & Co.

Adams was not immediately available for comment.

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