Today’s New York Times has the plot of a new Woody Allen movie in a real-estate column: Her Imperial Highness Zeynep Osman, an Afghan princess and second wife to the man who would’ve ruled the Ottoman empire had it still existed in 1994 but instead settled for a Manhattan walk-up, is waging a war against the absentee landlord attempting to evict her from a rent-controlled apartment on Lexington Avenue near 74th Street. Although a lease was last signed in 1977, the 69-year-old princess contends that the eviction notice was technically served to her deceased husband and his first wife. These are the sort of small mistakes that cause an entire empire to crumble.
Her Imperial Highness is paying just $390 a month for the two-bedroom Upper East Side place, but it is falling apart, with 201 violations, including a leaky ceiling, recorded by the city. The landlord, who just wants Princess Zeynep out, says she’s just trying to wring him dry: “She explained that she was interested in moving back to her homeland, which I think is in the Ukraine, and for a ‘significant’ amount would be willing to go,” he told the Times, demonstrating that he’s about as good at history and geography as he is at building upkeep. Meanwhile, she should probably be wary of acquiring too much wealth too fast. We know how that ends.