Board approved: River House

New series unveils residents of New York City’s most prestigious co-ops

TRD New York /
May.May 09, 2016 01:00 PM

Knock, knock. It’s LLNYC.

As part of a new series, which debuted last month on, we visited (virtually) several of Manhattan’s most prestigious and exclusive co-operative buildings to identify the boldface names living there.

Our multi-part series begins with a look at River House, a 26-story building at 435 East 52nd Street, which was named Manhattan’s most prestigious co-op by CityRealty.

Erected in 1931, the Art Deco tower attracted the cream of New York society with its unparalleled amenities, which included a pier where residents could dock their yachts. The pier later gave way to the construction of the FDR Drive. But other amenities have survived, including the cobblestone courtyard and the building’s private sports club, The River Club.

The building has a reputation for severely scrutinizing its applicants and the board famously rejected Gloria Vanderbilt in 1980. It also rejected Richard Nixon, Diane Keaton and Joan Crawford, to name a few. So who is good enough to get in?

River House’s residents currently include notables such as Henry Kissinger, Uma Thurman, Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and a descendent of one of the Dutch merchants who founded the Dutch West India Company.

Here is a look at some of the current residents who call this co-op home. For a more detailed look at this series, visit our website at 

Henry and Nancy Kissinger
Unit price: Undisclosed
Henry Kissinger, the German-born diplomat, author and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, served as national security advisor in the Nixon and Ford administrations. In 1982, he established Kissinger Associates, a political consultancy. He is married to his second wife, Nancy Sharon Maginnes, a philanthropist. She worked as a researcher for Nelson Rockefeller.

Alexander Navab and Mary Norman-Navab
Unit price: $4,900,000 (the couple own multiple units in the building)
Alexander Navab is a New York-based private equity executive and a philanthropist. As of 2016, he was a partner at private equity firm KKR (formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.). The couple divides their time between River House and a $12 million house in Southampton.

Manuel and Corina Ulivi Balbontín
Unit price: $11,650,000
Manuel Balbontín is a Chilean-born, New York-based asset manager who specializes in emerging markets. As of 2016, he served as president and senior investment strategist of Compass Group, an asset-management firm he founded in 1995. As of 2015, Compass Group had $31 billion in assets under management. Balbontín and his wife, Corina Ulivi Balbontín, have three children.

Wilbur and Hilary Geary Ross
Unit price: $8,500,000
Wilbur Ross Jr. is a billionaire who made his fortune investing in distressed assets. He reportedly struggled for nearly two decades to get into the building. Hilary Geary Ross is a writer for Quest magazine. She volunteers for the Central Park Conservancy and the Boys Club of New York. The couple divide their time between Manhattan and a home in Southampton.

Brook and Ferebee Taube
Unit price: $4,000,000
Brook Taube is a hedge fund manager and amateur violinist. He and his twin brother, Seth, took over Medley Capital from the late Richard Medley, an advisor to George Soros, and run it with a third partner, Andrew Fentress. Ferebee Taube, née Bishop, is a former public relations executive and the co-founder of online fashion and interior design site FEYT. The couple divide their time between River House and a house in Millbrook.

Charles III and Lisa Hughes
Unit price: $3,200,000
Charles B. Hughes III is a venture capitalist and private equity executive. He is the managing director and general counsel at Easton Capital Investment Group, a venture capital firm. Lisa Hughes is the publisher and chief revenue officer of The New Yorker and a former advertising director.

Uma Thurman
Unit price: $10,000,000
Actress Uma Thurman is known for her work in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and the “Kill Bill” movies. She purchased her 13-room apartment from romance novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford. The apartment has two wood-burning fireplaces, three maid’s rooms and an eat-in kitchen, plus a bar, library, sitting room, dining room and separate laundry room.

Catherine Blair
Unit price: undisclosed
Catherine Blair, née Gerlach and who goes by Deeda, is a philanthropist involved in cancer, AIDS and other medical research. The late William McCormick Blair Jr., an ambassador to Denmark and the Philippines, was her second husband. Her first marriage, to Charles Clarke Jelke, whose family made its fortune in margarine, ended in divorce.

Lorenzo Lorenzotti and Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti
Unit price: $8,888,888
Lorenzo Lorenzotti is a Wall Street executive and lawyer by training. Since 2011, he has served as managing director of Papamarkou Wellner. Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti is a reality show personality, the founder of two online fashion start-ups and a former financial analyst for Lazard Freres & Co.

Richard Eaton and Susan Henshaw Jones
Unit price: $3,325,000
Richard Eaton serves as senior judge on the United States Court of International Trade. Susan Henshaw Jones is a museum director and the founder of a nonprofit that promotes public art. The couple divide their time between River House and a home in Key West.

Harrison and Leslie Bains
Unit price: $6,357,000
Harrison Bains is an executive who worked at Chase Manhattan Bank, Bristol-Myers Squibb and RJR Nabisco. Leslie Bains is a private banking executive and wealth manager who has worked at Citibank, HSBC and Modern Bank, a boutique private bank. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jeffrey Leeds and Elizabeth Marshall
Unit price: $10,000,000
Jeffrey Leeds is the co-founder of private equity firm Leeds Equity Partners. He established the firm with Robert Bernstein in 1993. Leeds spent seven years working as an investment banker for Lazard Frères & Co. From 1985 to 1986, clerked for the Hon. William J. Brennan, Jr. of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Jeremy and Margaret Jacobs
Unit price: $10,350,000
Jeremy Jacobs is the owner of the Boston Bruins, the NHL ice hockey team; the chairman of the hotel, food and gambling conglomerate Delaware North; and a philanthropist. His net worth is estimated at $4 billion. The couple have six children.

Rosalind Walter
Unit price: $7,700,000
Rosalind Walter is a philanthropist and widow of Henry Walter, a flavor and fragrance tycoon. She was the airplane factory worker who inspired the song “Rosie the Riveter.” She is the daughter of Carleton H. Palmer, who ran E.R. Squibb & Sons, the predecessor of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Despite her family’s wealth, she worked the night shift making WWII fighter planes.

Kiliaen Van Rensselaer
Unit price: $3,200,000
Kiliaen Van Rensselaer is a television-programming executive, heir to a gourmet grocery store fortune and descendent of one of the Dutch merchants who founded the Dutch West India Company. Since 2015, Van Rensselaer has run his own Los Angeles-based studio, Insurrection Media.

Philip and Maya Bobbitt
Unit price: $7,000,000
Philip Bobbitt is a Texas-born law scholar, historian, university professor and the nephew of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Bobbitt teaches at Columbia Law School. His career includes serving the Clinton, Bush Sr. and Carter administrations. Maya Ondalikoğlu Bobbitt is an Istanbul-born attorney who specializes in advising financial institutions.

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and Lynn Forester
Unit price: Undisclosed
Lynn Forester, also known as Lady de Rothschild, is a political fundraiser, philanthropist, board member of about a dozen companies and a lawyer by training. Sir Evelyn de Rothschild is a scion of the Rothschild banking family.The couple divide their time between River House, a home on Martha’s Vineyard, and two homes in England.

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