As we have previously
bitterly lamented observed, sometimes it seems like all the blessings of life are reserved for Supreme Court clerks. And they include not just $250,000 signing bonuses and top-shelf legal jobs, but luxury real estate, too.
This latest Lawyerly Lairs post looks at the expanding digs of Joel I. Klein (Powell) and his wife, Nicole K. Seligman (OT 1984/Marshall). From the New York Observer:
New York is a city of poshly-housed public servants.
The mayor owns two mansions in the East 70’s; the governor goes rent-free in a terraced Fifth Avenue apartment (it’s owned by his dad); development chief Robert Lieber has a new $7.25 million condo at Trump International; and even Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is in the Beresford.
Now Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has bonus space on Park Avenue. He and his wife Nicole Seligman, a Sony executive vice president (and an ex-lawyer for both Oliver North and Bill Clinton) have paid $1.7 million for their second apartment at 95-year-old 565 Park Avenue.
Yes, that’s right — their second apartment in this venerable building. The couple already own the unit directly above their new acquisition. Hello, duplex!
(C’mon, get real: Did you really expect Klein and Seligman to slum it in a sub-$2 million apartment? As people have observed countless times in these pages, $2 million doesn’t buy you much in NYC.)
More details after the jump.
The Observer article continues:
“When you walk in the lobby,” a longtime resident [of 565 Park Avenue] once told The New York Times, “it smells like old money.” The bouquet won’t be new to Mr. Klein: City records show he bought a seven-room apartment in 2002 one floor up from his new one; that old apartment had been listed for $3.5 million.
Interesting. We’re surprised that 565 Park isn’t on Tom Wolfe’s iconic list of “Good Buildings” — the most elite and exclusive co-ops in Manhattan.
So what might the Klein/Seligman residence look like in the end?
If he combines the two co-ops into a duplex, the man who oversees 1.1 million schoolchildren will have himself a nice sprawl. According to listings, the apartments add up to 12 rooms: two fireplaces; two dining rooms, one “formal” and the other “intimate,” with its own archway; a wood-paneled library and a study; one stone kitchen; and one stainless steel kitchen.
The couple’s new master bedroom has unobstructed views over the 104-year-old Colony Club across the street on Park Avenue, a building the AIA Guide to New York City calls a “prissy neo-Georgian town palace.” (Don’t tease Mr. Klein’s wife about the prissy neighborhood: Lt. Col. North once said, “Nobody messes with Nicole Seligman.”)
Indeed. Before joining Sony, Nicole Seligman was a star litigatrix at the take-no-prisoners shop of Williams & Connolly. [FN1]
Her husband grew up in the outer boroughs, but when he took office in 2002, Mr. Klein turned down the keys to a $2.4 million Brooklyn Heights brownstone the city had bought for schools chancellors. Maybe it lacked that moneyed odor?
Perhaps. But if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, don’t be surprised if Joel Klein and Nicole Seligman leave the moneyed precincts of Park Avenue for the less lucrative, but no less powerful, streets of Washington.
Klein served as head of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division in the first Clinton Administration, and Seligman defended President Clinton during his impeachment trial. If they want plum posts in Clinton II, expect them to get them.
Unlike a number of other prominent Democratic lawyers who served in the Clinton Administration — e.g., Jeh Johnson of Paul Weiss, Greg Craig of Williams & Connolly — Klein and Seligman aren’t betraying the Clintons by supporting primary rivals. As reflected in HuffPo’s Fundrace database, Nicole Seligman has already given the maximum to La Hillary: $2,300 for the primary, and $2,300 for the general election. Smart move, Nicole!
[FN1] Bonus fact: Nicole Seligman’s sister, Stephanie Seligman, is a diminutive but fearsome corporate partner at Wachtell Lipton. We shared a secretary, but we didn’t interact with her much because she
scared the crap out of us was fairly intimidating.
Do any of you recall the scene in Clueless in which Cher’s bad-ass litigator father descends the stairs, and the housekeeper Lucy flees before him, shrieking? Our interaction (or lack thereof) with Stephanie Seligman was kinda like that.
The New Math? Schools Chief Klein and the Missus Add Up 12 Rooms on Park Avenue [New York Observer]
565 Park Avenue [The Upper East Side Book]