In the run-up year for the 2012 presidential election, it’s fitting, perhaps, that the apartment of former Vice President and New York state Gov. Nelson Rockefeller is on New York City’s Upper East Side real estate market.

The 810 Fifth Ave. co-op, listed for $27.5 million and called The Nelson Rockefeller Residence, occupies a nice chunk of the building’s 12th floor.

“Originally belonging to former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, this apartment with its remarkable history is part of Manhattan’s real estate lore,” writes Kirk Henckels, executive vice president of Stribling, which has the listing for the Nelson Rockefeller Residence.

“When Vice President Rockefeller was married to his first wife, Mary, they owned the top three floors of 810 Fifth Avenue. After they divorced, the Vice President kept the bottom floor for himself and gave the top two floors to his ex-wife, Mary. He then purchased an apartment on an adjacent floor in the building next door, 812 Fifth Avenue, and broke through to his apartment at 810 Fifth Avenue, thereby joining the two buildings.”

But the Rockefeller residence is more than a room with a view. It’s even more than a few rooms with magnificent westward views of Central Park.

Richard Nixon shored up the 1960 Republican presidential nomination by agreeing to policy agenda set by Nelson Rockefeller.

Rockefeller’s former apartment is the place where, on July 22, 1960, aspiring Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon was summoned for dinner and a private meeting. Nixon wanted a clear path to the White House, and Rockefeller, leader of the liberal wing of the Republican Party, knew how to use his clout.

This was no small tête-à-tête. Nixon succumbed to a GOP policy agenda executed by the Rockefeller, stamping this meeting as a key example of the post-New Deal moderation of the Republican Party.

History calls Rockefeller’s apartment the place where “The Treaty of Fifth Avenue” was agreed upon.

Half-century later, that apartment is up for sale and the Republican Party continues to hash out divisions between conservatives like presidential hopefuls Gov. Rick Perry, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and moderates like former Gov. Mitt Romney.

Real estate prices have gone up, but in some ways, it’s just like it’s 1960 all over again.



About the Author

Laura Vecsey is a former sports columnist, news reporter and politics writer and has worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Baltimore Sun, Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union and Harrisburg Patriot-News. She was also a regional editor with She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.

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