By: David A. Smith
Blogs must be entertaining or they are nothing, and few things can be more entertaining than mocking a self-important bloviator playing the do-you-know-who-i-am card, and who better to play the card than the original, the ur-copycat from whom all other copycats copy, Ms. Louise Ciccone:
I’m so original …
… I steal only from the originals
For all that she poses as a rebel, Madonna is merely a hugely successful kayfabe character created by Ms. Ciccone for the single purpose of creating a monetizable brand, which she has done to the tune of a speculated net worth of $560 million. Some modest portion of this she splashes about via multiple houses in convenient trendy venues about the world, in one of which she’s run into an immovable object, as reported as juicily as possible by the ur-copycat Daily Mail (July 23, 2016; brown font)
Board members of Madonna’s swanky Upper West Side co-op are appealing to a judge to make the superstar play by the rules after she filed a suit against the building back in April.
The Material Girl sued Harperley Hall on West 64th Street and Central Park West –
In wasting time before writing researching this, I discovered that the apartment in question is Ms. Ciccone’s second in the building. She first bought into the building in 1985, when she was married to Sean Penn –
Hey, honey, let’s buy a co-op on Central Park
– and bought this additional new apartment in 2007, after suing the board to gain the right to do so.
Ever since her arrival in the building, Ms. Ciccone and the co-op board have been in disputes, all of which culminated in her selling the larger flat (CurbedNY, May 29, 2013; dark green font).
God, Madonna, you look unrecognizable
Well God, Sean, you look like hell
The residents of the Upper West Side’s Harperley Hall probably woke up happy this morning: their neighbor Madonna has finally sold her combo co-op in the building. The buyer, the Wall Street Journal reports, is hedge fund manager Deepak Narula, who paid “considerably less” than the apartment’s most recent $19.995 million asking price. (And that was a discount from the original $23.5 million listing price.)
Even in my personal life, I don’t overpay
A hedge fund manager sounds like the type to appeal to the co-op board at Harperley Hall, which has been feuding with Madonna ever since she sought to expand the original apartment she and Sean Penn had purchased in the building. Though the co-op board eventually granted permission for the renovation, neighbors kept on expressing their displeasure. The apartment is, frankly, surprisingly boring considering all the drama. No wonder the material girl has moved on to the world of epic townhouses.
Indeed, even in her new mansion on East 81st Street, Ms. Ciccone has been adopting the posture of a celebrity entitled to have her caprices indulged, contracts and laws be damned:
The 57-year-old owns a sprawling triple-wide town house on East 81st Street that is valued at $32.5 million and has also been causing her problems.
But I need to park my metal overlords on the street!
Earlier this year, Madonna angered neighbors by hogging prime parking space outside her Upper East Side townhouse – arranging to install fake ‘No parking’ signs to scare other motorists away.
This sort of thing doesn’t work in NYC any better than it does on the PCH
Seeking to intimidate people away from access to public property is a common means the rich use to convert it surreptitiously to private use – but Ms. Ciccone’s East 81st Street neighbors were unimpressed:
Madonna had been issued a letter of defacement and was given 30 days to respond if she wanted to avoid a $250 fine.
1. Why does Ms. Ciccone want to be exempted from a co-op rule?
At Harpeley Hall, Ms. Ciccone wanted her staff or family (son Rocco?) to be able to use the apartment as their pied-a-terre when in New York City,
Yes but this is before the face peel
The aging [Love how the Daily Mail twists the vinegared knife – Ed.] popstar has four children, two teenagers Rocco and Lourdes as well as two adopted 10-year-olds David Banda and Mercy James.
Unfortunately for her, the co-op prohibits such an arrangement:
Rules of the building required her to be ‘in residence’ at the house when any members of staff or family are living there.
That wouldn’t stop Ms. Ciccone, especially given that she clearly has no love for her neighbors:
One has to love the self-importance of that, reminiscent of Judy Tenuta:
“Hi, pigs. Soon you will all be my personal love slaves.”
It continued: ‘As such, plaintiff owns many residences around the world and travels extensively worldwide.’
2. Why does the co-op have the rule?
While the newspaper reports didn’t say why the co-op board sought to enforce its prohibition against overnight accommodations when the owner is not present, but it’s not hard to make informed speculations.
Start with some plain facts (via StreetEasy: this is a world-class co-operative with a fantastic location, and century-old pedigree:
A location that’s hard to beat
Located on the corner of West 64th and Central Park West this premier distinguished Pre-war –
A common designation in Manhattan, denoting pre-1945, and inferentially of better construction.
– building was designed by Henry W. Wilkinson in 1907. This 12-story building consisting of approximately 85 units –
Now roughly 90, though the number of apartments fluctuates because owners often try to buy the adjacent apartment on turnover so they can then combine two or three into one larger suite. To give you some idea, StreetEasy helpfully links to 31 floorplans available, as well as providing links to 25 renovation documents and permits:
– is recognized for its beautiful central courtyard that features a manned gate house greeting residents and visitors. The apartments range in size from studios to classic 8 room homes. Each apartment has lavish details in its design, some of which include high ceilings, wood burning fireplaces, Juliet balconies, and French doors. Many of the apartments offer sweeping Central Park views as well as magnificent skyline vistas. The building stands out for its side street entrance [On 64th street, not Central Park West – Ed.] with sidewalk landscaping. The amenities include a full time doorman, common roof garden, gym, bike and storage room, and laundry.
With an average price over $3,100 per square foot (I’m surprised it’s not higher), the resident population considers itself exclusive, spatially separated by money, and of course it is to be expected that if one has plenty of money, then one ought to be reasonably adult – but not if one is a global superstar with a reputation to maintain, though that didn’t always happen (New York Post, September 8, 2011):
Madonna has to face the music for allegedly being a bad neighbor.
A Manhattan judge is letting go to trial a lawsuit charging that the Material Girl was expressing herself too loudly in her Central Park West apartment.
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Karen George complained that Madonna in her downstairs apartment was driving her upstairs neighbor out of her gourd.
The singer would play music and dance around so loudly that the apartment above would shake.
One has to read closely to discover that the rule against overnight guests is of recent vintage, dating from 2014, and one might therefore deduce that it was adopted in direct response
He said the case should also be dismissed on the grounds that Madonna waited too long to sue – she filed the suit two years after the building-wide rule was enacted.
And while she says she wasn’t aware of the new rule until November 2015, this still means that she waited more than four months to file the suit, said Sweeney.
Add to the foregoing that Ms. Ciccone has another, much larger home on the east side of Manhattan, and no longer uses the Harperley flat as her primary residence in Manhattan, and it’s all but certain the neighbors feared she would be using it – probably was using it – to warehouse her children, their friends, her entourage, or goodness knows whom else.
[The superstar argument] didn’t impress the board however and the building’s lawyer, Patrick Sweeney has appealed to a Manhattan judge to throw out the suit.
Sweeney wrote that Madonna cannot ‘credibly claim she was treated any differently from every other shareholder’, in court papers.
3. Who wins the legal dispute?
That’s easy: the co-op does. Even in a condominium, the trust deed will specify some behaviors that are out of bounds, but in a co-op, whatever the co-op board votes, goes.
It’s instructive that Ms. Ciccone’s previous confrontation show a clear pattern: direct flouting of the rules, followed by legal bullying, then followed by abrupt concession when challenged.
Two days before the [parking space] deadline, she removed all the signage and her driveway was given a fresh lick of gray paint.
Am I fantasizing too much to hope that when the judge dismisses Ms. Ciccone’s suit, the decision is only five words long?
Bitch, they’re the co-op board.