Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Surreal Estate

I don't generally concern myself much with real estate. I like where I live, admire other people's beautiful homes, and snicker at their follies. And I frankly don't have all that much interest in owning anything I can't wear.

But this is too good to ignore: across the park from me, on East 90th Street, Mitchell Blutt, a physician enriched by years on Wall Street, has bought the two landmarked brownstones next to his, and is planning to combine them into one 17,000-square-foot residence (which is not making preservationists happy, but then again not much does).

It's hard for me to get my head around that much space in Manhattan. The biggest apartment I've ever lived in was my family's longtime prewar "classic six" on West End Avenue, which maybe totaled 1200 square feet and felt enormous - I once had 25 people there for a sit-down dinner.

What does one do with more than ten times that much room? A ballroom? (Dr. Blutt's wife is a former ballerina.) A screening room? (He's produced movies.) A salon for debates? (He likes Democrats.) A gym?

The main house at Hearst Castle is 60,645 square feet. It has 38 bedrooms and 41 baths. I was awestruck when I saw it. But I couldn't really imagine living there either, and it's rare that my imagination fails me.

But a visit to the holy temple of footwear, the Manolo Blahnik store? I can envision my size 40s in every pair.

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