Last Tuesday, the sun seemed to set extra slowly over the bow of the Tiara, a sparkling $35 million sailing yacht, prompting barefoot revelers (tread lightly on the teak!) to push their designer sunglasses up on their heads and consider a dip in the Jacuzzi. Maybe it felt like Cannes, but the view was the West Side Highway.
“There are a lot of rich guys who just want this boat, and they don’t want to wait four years for it,” the time it would take to build one, said Michael Hirtenstein, a telecom titan who shipped out aboard the yacht for a recent St-Tropez vacation. And, after all, guys with this much money—in yachting circles, it’s recommended that one not spend more than 10 percent of one’s net worth on one’s boat—are often old enough to be worried about sailing off into the sunset themselves. The Tiara’s nearly as expensive as a Gulfstream V jet, and its $200,000-a-week rental rate is comparable to the 175-foot yacht Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon chartered while shooting Ocean’s Twelve in Italy.
Hirtenstein was among the two dozen or so potential buyers that Corcoran broker Wendy Maitland had rounded up for the party, hosted by the owner, Israeli entrepreneur Jonathan Leitersdorf, who’s trying to unload his playboy holdings now that he’s married with child. Since she has the listing for his $20 million downtown triplex penthouse, he let her link the yacht (which is said to have cost him $30 million to design and have built in New Zealand) to Corcoran’s Website, though it’s the firm’s first seafaring listing. There are five cabins plus rooms for the ten-person crew. There’s a Chagall in the master bedroom, and uncracked bound editions of Kipling, Dickens, Goethe, Badminton Magazine, and Psychopathia Sexualis line the bookshelves. The furniture is Deco, including black lacquer tables adorned with crocodile skin (but no bar stools covered in whale foreskins, a feature of Aristotle Onassis’s Christina O).
However, with everyone from Larry Ellison to Giorgio Armani to Sean Combs taking to the seas lately, it’s not farfetched that someone would pony up the price. Party guest Jack Hidary, who recently sold his company Vista to McGraw-Hill, said he appreciated the décor, which he described as “timeless yet grand, but not Donald Trump grand.” He’s not going to buy it, though. In any case, negotiations couldn’t start until the boat hits international waters, since it’s not registered in this country.