Before he built his famous castle in San Simeon, CA, newspaper tycoon and art collector William Randolph Hearst occupied a lavish New York City penthouse overlooking the Hudson River. He started out leasing the top three floors at the Clarendon at 137 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10024, then went on to buy the whole building in 1913 for $950,000.
The home was foreclosed in 1939 by the Mutual Life Insurance Company, according to The New York Times, and gutted in 1940. The remaining portion of that home that remains in one piece — a grand quintuplex penthouse with a mansard roof and it’s now on the market for price-staggering $38 million.
“This penthouse represents the ultimate fusion of art and architecture,” said listing agent Paula Del Nunzio. The entire design, she said, was inspired by the giant tapestries and suits of armor that made up the Hearst art collection.
The home’s scale, scope and natural light are all designed to display a magnificent art collection, she said. “Great art collections need great architecture to display them in,” she said.
The seller is art collector and businessman Benedict Silverman, who over his lifetime assembled a famous collection of German and Austrian paintings and drawings from the early 20th century. The listing describes a “chateau in the sky” — with 7,000 square feet inside, and another 7,000 square feet outside, all on three levels with multiple galleries, a gymnasium and media room, and rooms with names that suggest their opulent history: the Greek Room, the English Room, the Julius Caesar Room.
Even without its historical significance, the Hearst penthouse leaves out no extravagant feature: Soaring ceilings 30 feet high and open views of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge characterize the home’s interior. The grand living room features a fireplace and south-facing terrace that connects to a chef’s kitchen. The listing describes the master bedroom suite as “palatial” with a full bath and dressing room.