50 West 86th Street
Tom Cruise has been on the news and in the papers these past few days for being fired by Paramount pictures for jumping on Oprah's couch and talking about Scientology. Since this is a real estate blog I won't comment on that. However I will comment about the building that both Tom and I Lived in circa 1981.
My first Manhattan apartment was a studio with a sleeping loft complete with brick wall and huge windows. It was on the parlor floor of a limestone mansion built in the early 1900's. In the photo it's the apartment with the 2 large rounded windows to the right of the front door. The blinds I bought are still in the windows.
When I moved in we didn't have a live-in super. The landlord and his wife lived in New Jersey but owned this building as a hobby/investment. An unknown struggling actor in acting school lived upstairs in a 300 square foot studio. The rent at the time for his apartment was $300. He worked out a deal with the landlord to help pay his rent. He took the garbage out to the street and vacumed the halls. The next year he got his big break in the movie Taps and the rest is history.
After Tom moved out the landlord made renovations. Tom had a rent stabalized apartment. Mine was also. I paid $700 month. When a rent stabalized tenant vacates if the landlord makes renovations they can then raise rent to market rate.
He connected Tom's third floor studio with the second floor 1 Bedroom adding a sleeping loft/storage and making the rest of the third floor a floor thru. Years later the landlord would tell me "Just got another Christmas card from Mrs Cruise Tom's mother thanking me for helping him with the rent.
The landlord then built a triplex penthouse and wouldn't you know it another actor moved in only now the penthouse apartment with new marble bath was getting a market rent. This time it was Robert Downey Jr. He was starring on Saturday Night Live at the time. Then his girlfriend at the time, Sarah Jessica Parker moved in with him. About a year later they broke up and I remember helping Sarah load stuff into her mother's car one night. All I can say is they were all really nice, very polite cordial people.
The building had a real history. It was originally built as the townhouse for The Gimbel familiy from the famous department store. In the 1940's it was supposedly a brothel where gambling took place. As you can see in the photo there are two entrances. The apartment below mine had a separate entrance with an iron gate. That apartment has a swiming pool in the middle of the living room. It must have been Mr. Gimbel's gym. The building later became a boarding school and finally apartments.
It has 5 floors and 10 apartments. A walk up with mahogany stairs. A chiropracter now rents the pool apartment and mine is rented as a live/work professional office. I will always think of 50 West 86th Street as the good luck building.