At the same time another member of our little club had a very well-fixed grandmother. She had an incredible apartment, in one of the co-ops you can’t buy your way into. After the member’s parents moved to the country, they moved in with the grandmother. We all wanted to move in and in some respect we did. Club member’s grandmother always had incredible gossip, food, cocktails and friends. She and her crowd loved having the “younger set” around, as she referred to us.
The club called the grandmother Vera, because she reminded everyone of Vera Charles in “Auntie Mame”. Over the years we learned far more about what was really going on in NYC at Vera’s, than the papers ever printed.
Not long after we settled into Vera’s social circle, the renovations on 71st street started and so did the fighting. Lots of demands, about not wanting public disclosure of details. Major disagreements with the planning commission and code officials. There were digging request (like the ones you hear about going on in London today). It was a constant uproar. The technology RK was putting in had never been seen before. It was causing serious issues with the neighbors, the city, historical committees and Con Ed. Lots of legal going back and forth. Every now and then, tidbits would make the papers but a lot the club got to hear at Vera’s, did not.
Overlapping with RK’s renovation on 71st, were two other major renovations across the street. They were at different stages of completion. These neighbors were spending at the same level as RK and were more high profile, they just did not have as much square footage. We will come back to them later.
One day two of the club members were on their way to Vera’s and decided to go down 71st street to check on the progress. It was in full swing. About the time they are in front admiring the place, this nice-looking guy in his 30’s, comes out. He had plans rolled up under his arm and before the Club Members knew it, he strikes up a conversation, starts talking about the home and its history.
That is when it came out that #9 was going to be the main residence, but #11 next door, was being redone for guest and staff. He then turned to the CMs and said; Would you like a tour?
The place was about 70% done but there was no question, it was going to be incredible. #11 was just as beautiful as #9. The homes were not being combined but completed as two separate residences.
Not long after, Retail King announced he was getting married. It was an unexpected turn of events. The club’s theory was shredded. We had wagered that 71st Street was going to be for RK’s mother and sister.
We had to shift our hypothesis to 71st Street being part of RK’s “family” plan, and he would keep the condo for his other life. No one ever saw #9 and #11 come out of RK’s portfolio. The interior being put in was clearly for fine entertaining, and elegant “home” living. It was going to be a perfect wedding gift from an older husband, to a very young, but refined wife.
Fast forward a few years, when it was reported in the late 90’s that Retail King purchased New Media King’s old apartment on 5th. NMK was moving to a larger apartment in the same building. While RK spent some major bank and time redoing NMK’s old apartment, we saw no movement at 71st .
That brings us to Creature. We have only seen him once in person, in the late 90’s. At a political cocktail party, held in a very wealthy donor’s apartment. 60 or so people were in attendance, with the C&C being the focal point.
In the group were Date, Club Member, +1. +1 asked if Date knew Creature at three o’clock, and Date said he did.
+1 looked at the Club Member and asked if they knew Creature? They did not. Club Member was told by +1 to remember Creature; he would tell them why later. If RK was there, club member did not see him. The rest of the room was what you would expect for such an event. A scene right out of “Bonfire of the Vanities”.
Afterwards, the three went to dinner. Once the drinks were in hand, Club Member asked what the fuss was about, regarding Creature. Creatures problems were explained in blunt terms. In this discussion neither RK or where Creature hung his hat, came up. However, the Royal’s friendship with Creature and Creature’s Heiress companion did. Neither of which were in attendance that night.
The first question Club Member asked; If what Date and +1 said was true, why would the Royal be friends with Creature, and why would Creature be allowed in the room with the C&C? The reply CM got was, REALLY?
As we moved toward the new millennial, the club’s interest changed. RK occasionally came up. The only shift the club saw was #11 coming on the market. It was not long aftrer NMK’s apartment came into RK’s portfolio.
Some time passed before Creature’s problems came to a head in PB. The Heiress friendship with Creature started making perfect sense, as Creature was exposed. Heiress had been at the center of British society in the late 80’s. Creature had financially rescued her, after the father’s demise. Heiress was also good friends with Royal. When the press started covering Creature’s NY home, it clicked. The club was like wait; That is RK’s house!
Let’s go back to the neighbors on East 71st Street;
The townhouse across the street on the even numbered side of 71st , one door in from Madison, #18. It belongs to a very famous beloved comedian/actor, who had a spectacular fall from grace. He sits in jail right now, for what else? Being a serial rapist.
The disgraced comedian/actor and his wife spent a fortune renovating. Like RK’s townhouse, it had the latest must have feature of the day, heated sidewalks. C/A was at one time trying to mortgage the house, to pay off his mounting legal bills.
There is also another interesting resident who lives on the even side of 71st , directly across from #9 & #11. The impressive home shares its west wall, with the back of the Frick, #14. It belongs to a billionaire businessman and his socialite wife. The husband is famous for the “jetset empire” he founded and later got pushed out of. While the home is not as large as #9, it is similar and has heated sidewalks, along with serious security. Some might know the billionaire couple more for their daughters’ high-profile marriages. It is the daughters, their spouses, and the coming of age grandchildren, that keep their name in the papers.
The youngest daughter married and divorced the son of a famous socialite/ clothing designer. The clothing designer’s second husband is a billionaire himself. There have been horrible whispers about Billionaire Second Husband for decades. The talk gives Creature a run for his money, in the evil department. The club has often wondered, if BSH uses his extraordinary SY as a substitute, for an island.
There are all sorts of common denominators between Creature and the Billionaire neighbor’s extended family. You just need to step back and look.
Retail King – Leslie Wexner
Abercrombie & Fitch
Movie Star – Richard Chamberlain
Vera Charles & friends – Private
New Media Mogul – Rupert Murdoch (he was new then)
Date – Private
+1 – Private
C&C – Bill Clinton
Creature – Jeffery Epstein
Royal BF – Prince Andrew
Heiress – Ghislaine Maxwell
Comedian/Actor at #18 – Bill Cosby
Billionaire Neighbor & Wife at #14 – Robert & Chantel Miller
Daughters – Pia Getty, Marie Chantel of “Greece”, Alexandra Von Furstenberg
Married/Divorced Husband of Youngest – Alexander Von Furstenberg
Socialite/Designer mother – Diane Von Furstenberg
Billionaire Second Husband – Barry Diller