Home News The Wild History of the Real ‘Only Murders’ Building

The Wild History of the Real ‘Only Murders’ Building

by admin
0 comment

Hulu series fans “Only murderers in the building“Welcome to the second season of this week” knows the building in the center of the drama as Arconia. Here, Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez play three inhabitants who are unlikely to be amateur detectives on the podcast. However, the Renaissance-style apartments on the Upper West Side of Manhattan are actually called Bernolds and have been a hot topic for over a century.

From the beginning, Bernold was a newsmaker — an overcrowded building, home of exaggeration. Completed in 1909 and covering the entire West 86th Street and Broadway block, architects boasted that it was the largest apartment in the country and perhaps in the world. newspaper, Including this, Promoted the largest courtyard in Manhattan. The half-acre open space has a garden and lawn, decorated with richly stepped marble fountains.

They were amazed at the spacious rental apartment. Each of the 175 buildings is 50 feet deep and extends from the street to the courtyard and is decorated in “Louis XVI style”. The latest modern convenience. The refrigerator was equipped with an ice machine, so the ice machine never invaded Bernold, as written on a piece of paper. On the rooftop, each apartment had its own laundry, and for the convenience of the maid, there were low-tech luxury items such as bathtubs, ironing boards, and clotheslines.

The paper states that it will be a unique city with a population of over 1,500. Over the years, there have been notable residents. Lee Strasberg, the dictator of method acting, was often visited by shy disciple Marilyn Monroe. Walter Matthau, when he was an up-and-coming theater actor with a young family. Actor Zero Mostel who played Tevi in ​​Broadway’s original work “Fiddler on the Roof”. Nobel Prize-winning writer Isaac Bashevis singer loved jogging in the courtyard in a three-piece suit.

But by the 1970s, the city was in turmoil. The gorgeous limestone and terracotta structures collapsed, the roof leaked, and the pipes were cracked. The ceiling had collapsed. The stalactites reported by the New York Times in 1980 were formed in the basement. The fountain had been broken for years, and the garden was a fenced jungle, off limits to residents.

The owner of the building, Lillian Ceril, One of the worst landlords in the city: On all accounts, she had both litigation and resistance and refused to fix even the simplest problem, but abandoned her not only because she didn’t pay her tenant, but because she didn’t pay her membership fee. The Landlords Association was also energetic enough to sue. (Her tenant remembered that Mrs. Ceril did not allow the repair or replacement of broken appliances, so she bought her own refrigerator and sneaked it in with the help of caring building staff. .)

Belnord’s inhabitants, many of them, paid only a few hundred dollars a month for organized, rebellious, giant home-like apartments. In 1978, they started the longest rent strike in the city’s history.

During the 16 years that followed, the Battle of Bernold was so controversial that a judge in a housing court said that both sides valued each other before washing the case when the settlement he mediated collapsed. Declared that. “I’m confident that tenants and owners will kill the building in proceedings,” he said. City officials likened the situation to the siege of Beirut.

The battle ended in 1994, and developer Gary Barnett, who was 38 at the time, I bought a building With a group of investors for $ 15 million. (As part of her contract, Mrs. Ceril insisted on holding a 3,000-square-foot rental-managed apartment for herself — In 2004, after her death, she paid only $ 450 a month... Ten years later, Barnett and his company, Extell Development, One57The funnel-shaped blue glass skyscraper at 57 West, the city’s first skyscraper, provokes the wrath of conservationists, urban planners and citizens. But at that time he was a hero. Bernold was his first Manhattan property, and he spent $ 100 million to support it.

He made various transactions with individual tenants in an attempt to turn the location into a luxury rental building. Some apartments were rented for up to $ 45,000 a month. Burnett bought a home on the outskirts of New Jersey for Rabbi and his family, who were paying $ 275 for a 4,000-square-foot apartment. Then there was a penthouse resident who was anxious for the desert. He flew her to Las Vegas, chose her home with a pool, arranged for her purchase, and paid for her move. Other tenants chose to keep the rent low, but agreed to replace the vast 11-room apartment with a smaller one.

Mr. Burnett once joked that the fountain he had revived at a huge cost (a project involving disassembling and carting for repairs) was a fountain of youth.

“It was a loving job to restore the building,” he said recently. “But I didn’t really understand what I was working on. It was quite a photo.”

By 2015, Barnett had disappeared in a reported $ 575 million worthwhile deal.

Like everything else in Bernold, Mr. Burnett’s mortgage terms were problematic, and for some time after he stopped paying the loan, the city classified the property as “distressed.” (Calculations of building debt and its rental income were never fully added.) And a new group of investors raided — as various players dropped out due to bankruptcy, proceedings and other disasters. That cast kept changing — in place Luxury condominiumTransforms around 100 available apartments into showplaces with marble-covered Italian kitchens.

Robert AM Stern, the architect the company handled the conversion, described the process as “a very high-end Botox treatment.”

Some tenants bought their apartments at a significant discount, but the price of the refurbished unit ranged from about $ 3.6 million to over $ 11 million. After a solid start, condos are now selling vigorously and keeping pace with the city’s luxury markets, said veteran real estate and market appraiser Jonathan Miller.

And now, thanks to the Hulu series, Belnord is back in the limelight. John Hoffman, who created the show with Martin, was delighted and stunned to have acquired a place for his work, especially in the midst of a pandemic. The atmospheric apartments of Martin, Short and Gomes characters were built on the sound stage, but the story required a building like Bernold with a magnificent appointment and a panopticon in the courtyard.

“I was obsessed,” Hoffman said. “I knew I could make something as tall as that wonderful building. It’s a cliché to say that the building itself is a character, but I like to go a little beyond that cliché. What pulls us away from the apartment to meet people? How well do you know your neighbor? Connect only when you need it? We live in these spaces The way we get together sometimes is really interesting. “

One Friday night in early June, Latin teacher and long-time resident of Bernold, Debbie Marx, has been a classic seven unrefurbished in a winding corridor since his parents moved in 1959. Was guided to the visitors. Joseph Marx was an oboist and musicologist who had his own music publishing company. Her mother, Angelina, was Ballerina. Marx became pregnant with her first child in the late 1980s and returned to her childhood apartment when her mother lived alone.Marx’s dad Died in 1978In a sense, he was a victim of the Battle of Bernold and had a heart attack in court during a hearing with his fellow resident.

Marx remembered growing up in a building — playing handball in a courtyard forbidden by Mrs. Seril, slipping through a bar on the fence to an off-limits yard, and by then a shrub and tree riot had occurred. rice field. She had her own courtyard gang with Walter Matthau’s daughter Jennie and others, but their breach was mild: chopping her hat from the doorman and directing the service elevator. , Dropped a strange water bomb.

“It’s like a ruin,” Richard Stengel said of the building. “The deeper you dig, the more different cultures and history you get.”

The author, journalist, and former State Department employee, Stengel, has been a renter since moving to a vacant apartment for years after being burnt in a fire in 1992. (At MSNBC, Stengel is the contributor, and when he sees a bright red bookshelf behind him, he’s broadcasting from Bernold’s apartment.)

John Scanlon, A wise publicist who died in 2001, Was also a tenant in the 90’s. At that time, Scanlon was involved in another long-running real estate battle in New York City, the first Trump divorce. (He was a spokesman for Ivana Trump.)

Like Stengel, Scanlon is a member of Bernor’s demographics and can be called adjacent literature and publishing. He liked to make fun of Stengel, then editor of Time magazine, when he collided in the courtyard.

The early resident wave included Jewish European Emigré, unreconstructed socialists, and dozens of psychological analysts.

“When we moved, it felt like a Shtetl in Eastern Europe,” said real estate investor Peter Kruulwich, who arrived with his wife Estee Lauder’s former executive Deborah 35 years ago. Told. Bernold 18 is one of the many debris groups of building tenants he tried to negotiate with Mrs. Seril. “There were these wonderful aged left-handers who had been there for years — and fought Mrs. Ceril for years.”

In many cases, those tenants had the right to inherit children. Therefore, despite the influx of condo buyers, Bernold is a city with a more culturally diverse population than the rich monolithic class that inherited most of Manhattan.

As Krulewitch said, “it was a great adventure.”

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, Sign up here.. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate..

You may also like