Space of the Week: Paradise at the Osborne

There is not another building in New York like the Osborne, designed by James Ware in 1883 and located on West 57th Street. And there was nothing like the glamour of artist Gray Foy, who died on November 23, and his partner, the late magazine editor and writer Leo Lerman, who lived there in a magical duplex since 1967. Foy’s spouse until his death, Joel Kaye, still lives in the apartment. The lobby, with its mix of marble floors and gilded ceilings, provides the perfect, imposing welcome”harking back to the time of horse-drawn carriages and top hats. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The living room, entrance shown here, and library are painted lavender in memory of Leo. All the original moldings, parquet floors, and architectural details are intact. The double doors once opened onto two separate rooms that had already been altered to make one great room when Leo and Gray moved in. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The great room was the setting for many a fun evening. Think candlelit evenings with everyone from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, John and Caroline Kennedy, Steve Martin, Marlene Dietrich, Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, Cary Grant, and the dashing Robert Osborne in attendance. Photo: Wendy Goodman

It is a feast for the eyes everywhere you look. The living room has two fireplaces and here, a table topped by a bell jar protecting a cornucopia of fruit made with wax and silk leaves. Photo: Wendy Goodman

A portrait of Leo by Hedda Sterne done in 1947 presides over the library. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The metal and glass dragonfly was a gift to Gray from Joel, who gave it to him when Leo’s posthumous book, The Grand Surprise: the Journals of Leo Lerman, edited by Stephen Pascal, came out in 2007. “The Grand Surprise is named for a rare butterfly,” Joel says. “So I bought it and hung it to tell the story.” Joel made Gray’s life possible in this apartment since Leo’s death, keeping the dinner parties thriving until the very end. Photo: Wendy Goodman

A collection of coral that Gray loved is housed in a twig-adorned bookshelf by the dining-room entrance. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Joel is a great cook who would dress the table with any one of the 30 different settings of linens, silver, and crystal collected over 60 years. Joel and Gray would trawl flea markets most weekends with their closest friends, Lloyd Williams and Richard Lee. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The eat-in kitchen with a full pantry has treasures galore, but the pièce de résistance is the bulletin board covered with photos and notes from family and friends. Photo: Wendy Goodman

A shell-encrusted table holds a shell sculpture and directs your attention to the carved, wooden umbrella hanging in the entrance hall. Photo: Wendy Goodman

The collection of Leo and Gray’s walking sticks are at the ready by the front door. Joel will be putting the apartment on the market soon, and the treasures within will be auctioned off”to new owners who will, one hopes, cherish their company as much as Leo, Gray, and Joel did, along with all of their lucky friends. Photo: Wendy Goodman

Space of the Week: Paradise at the Osborne