Milstein real estate heirs host seance in their Dakota apartment

Larry and Toby Milstein (credit: Siobhan Harrington)
Larry and Toby Milstein (credit: Siobhan Harrington)

What do you do when you’re young, rich and your parents own Leonard Bernstein’s former apartment in the Dakota? Have a seance with your well-connected friends in an attempt to summon the late “West Side Story” composer’s spirit, naturally.

Larry Milstein, 22, and his sister Toby, 24, hosted the seance from their park-facing apartment in the building famed for its appearance in “Rosemary’s Baby.” They are the children of Cheryl and Philip Milstein — part of the NYC real estate family whose collective wealth Forbes estimated at $3.1 billion in 2015. They payed $20.5 million for their apartment in 2008, shortly after a major schism in the family.

“It was one of the more legendary family squabbles in the history of New York City real estate,” the Real Deal’s Amir Korangy told the Times. “There was a $5 billion family fortune at stake, and it tore the family in two.”

Their wealth has allowed the Milsteins to become major philanthropists — and to entertain in style.

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“This is an apartment within a building that is so steeped in history that it’s impossible not to acknowledge the past,” Larry Milstein told the New York Times.

Their guests included Princess Noor Pahlavi, a daughter of Iran’s exiled crown prince, Reza Pahlavi, and granddaughter of the late shah; Sarah Pierce; Julia Pissarro, a great-granddaughter of the Impressionist painter; Eli Rivkin, Larry Milstein’s boyfriend and a Yale classmate, who is the son of a former ambassador to France; Maddy Bohrer, an artist; and Ben Piper and Paul Peglar, who are musicians.

“As young adults celebrating the arts, what better way to pay respect to the presence of the history here than singing a few notes from their favorite songs?” Larry Milstein told the Times. “It’s a modern séance that’s rooted in the music of The Individuals That Inhabited This Place. You can feel the vibrations of them, and that means they’re there.”

In the end, their was no literal apparition at the event, which the Times described as “more Beyoncé than séance-y.” Although attendees reported sensing Bernstein’s spirit in the room. [NYT] Christopher Cameron