Professor Alan Dershowitz

Finding a decent apartment in New York City can be a challenge. But compared to getting Claus von Bülow and O.J. Simpson off the hook — or, for that matter, shaping the brilliant minds of Harvard Law School students — it’s a walk in Central Park.

Alan Dershowitz — distinguished public intellectual, celebrated criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer, and Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard — just purchased an apartment in NYC. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Dershowitz, 74. Although he has lived for years in Cambridge, the home of HLS, he was born in the Big Apple.

Dershowitz was born in Brooklyn, but the prominent professor isn’t going back to the borough that GQ dubbed “the coolest city on the planet.” Instead, he’s moving to Manhattan. (C’mon, do you think Dersh put up with thousands of HLS brats over the years so he could wind up right back where he started?)

Which neighborhood is Dershowitz moving to? How fabulous is his apartment? How much did he pay for it? We have answers to all of these questions, plus comments from the good professor about his move….

We learned of Professor Dershowitz’s purchase from the New York Observer:

Alan Dershowitz may be from Williamsburg, but the famed legal mind steered clear of the hippest of hoods when it came time to buy a pied-a-terre in the city of his birth. Instead, Mr. Dershowitz headed straight for that stronghold of old money, purchasing a three bedroom, 2.5-bath co-op at 45 Sutton Place.

Professor Dershowitz: waving goodbye to Cambridge? (Image via Getty.)

Ah, Sutton Place. Some find it a bit out of the way, since it’s far from the subway, but the type of people who can afford to live in Sutton Place aren’t mass-transit riders. The neighborhood is known for quiet streets, magnificent views of the East River, a “villagelike feel,” and ultra-expensive real estate.

The Observer refers to Dershowitz’s new apartment as a pied-a-terre, but we’ve learned that he will spending more time in New York than one might expect. After noticing while researching this story that he has put his Cambridge house on the market — more on that later — we reached out to him to find out if he might be moving to New York on a full-time basis. Here’s what he told us:

I’m planning to become professor emeritus after 50 years (100 semesters) at Harvard. We will be spending more time in my home town of NYC, hence the purchase and sale. We will also be spending time on south beach in Florida and Martha’s Vineyard, where we have residences. I’m not retiring, merely shifting priorities and locations. I may still teach an occasional seminar at Harvard.

Mazel tov! After serving half a century at Harvard Law School, he’s entitled to release.

We asked Professor Dershowitz: Why not go back to Brooklyn, now that it’s so hot and hip? He responded:

When I was growing up, I saw the Brooklyn Bridge as a one-way exit. Now I go to Brooklyn all the time — BAM, Williamsburg smorgasbord, soon the Nets. But I’m too old to live there. Want to walk to opera, theater, etc.

You’re not that old, Professor! After all, you wrote to us on an iPhone.

(And his message contained no typographical errors, iPhone-induced or otherwise. I’ve noticed, as a general rule, that the more famous someone is, the sloppier and more typo-laden his emails are. But that rule doesn’t hold true in Professor Dershowitz’s case; he is still as meticulous as ever. You can take the boy out of the Supreme Court clerkship, but you can’t take the Supreme Court clerkship out of the boy. (After graduating from Yale Law School and clerking for Judge David Bazelon, the legendary D.C. Circuit judge, Dershowitz clerked for Justice Arthur Goldberg.))

Sorry, I got lost in reverie about the prestige of the D.C. Circuit. Let’s move on to the main event: details about and pictures of Professor Dershowitz’s new home (and his soon-to-be-former home, too)….


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