Art-World Heavyweight Guy Wildenstein Backs Out of Plaza, Too

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Christina and Guy Wildenstein, with Arne Glimcher (center).
Christina and Guy Wildenstein, with Arne Glimcher (center). Photo: Patrick McMullan

The negative publicity generated by Russian financier Andrei Vavilov and his lawsuit against the Plaza has had its (let's be honest) intended effect. When the lawsuit against developer El-Ad — which alleged that Vavilov's apartment was not as luxurious or spacious as promised — was filed, there were already up to a couple of condo owners in the building who were trying to flip their purchases and get the heck out of there. Now, all the press scrutiny has caused another high-profile client to check out of the storied hotel. Guy Wildenstein, the powerful art dealer who owns the Wildenstein chain of galleries, had put down $49.2 million for five apartments in the building, including the famed "Frank Lloyd Wright" suite on the fourth floor, which features three marble fireplaces and "soaring windows overlooking Fifth Avenue and Central Park." (The architect lived there during five very productive years in New York.) Wildenstein had hoped to create a 12,000-square-foot duplex for his family and had paid $2 million extra to install the proper air conditioning to house fragile items from his fabulous art collection. But the Times reported yesterday that Wildenstein has already sold one of the five apartments, and the rest are on the market for a combined $56.5 million.

His broker said that the family had envisioned a private wing for themselves where they could live quietly, and were immediately turned off by the "fishbowl atmosphere" at the Plaza. We can understand that — everybody wants privacy, and in this city if you're lucky enough to be able to afford it, more power to you. But it raises the question: Why buy a home in one of New York's most splashy tourist attractions in the first place? It would be like trying to go on a cozy, quiet date at Tavern on the Green, or a lonely, romantic stroll through Times Square — sure, you can argue that the places are lovely and exciting, but you certainly don't go there to avoid the public eye.

(Too) Storied Hotel? [NYT]
Earlier: Russian Financier Andrei Vavilov Sues Plaza Over Tiny Windows, Ugly Air Conditioners
Buyers Flipping Out Over Plaza Conditions