50 Riverside Drive

Last month, we brought you a Davis Polk fairy tale. Two talented lawyers met at the elite law firm, fell in love, and got married. They lived happily after, in their $6 million apartment (until they sold the apartment to a celebrated Chinese artist).

Now it’s time for the Sullivan & Cromwell version. For some lawyers who work there, S&C sends them into therapy; for others, it sends them into the arms of a beloved.

This couple met at Sullivan & Cromwell, got together, and bought an apartment at 50 Riverside Drive, a beautiful prewar co-op on the Upper West Side. They renovated the place — doing a lovely job, I might add — and then sold it for more than $3 million….

The sale, for the full asking price of $3.195 million, made the pages of the New York Observer, mainly due to the prominent purchasers:

David Berson is on quite the winning streak. Earlier this month, the former ESPN exec was promoted to president of CBS Sports, roughly two years after joining the network. And now he’s closed on a classic six at 50 Riverside Drive with wife Kathryn (a.k.a. Katie) Lacey, ESPN’s former SVP of marketing (the couple’s illicit relationship prompted both their departures from ESPN).

In the pages of Deadspin, Berson and Lacey are the big deal. But around these parts, we’re more interested in the sellers of this high-floor apartment across from Riverside Park:

The listing, held by Douglas Elliman’s Ann Cutbill Lenane and Deirdre DeRisi, spent less than a week on the market. Not surprising as the co-op had been been completely renovated by sellers Robin Fessel and Tamara Bigalow with through-wall air conditioning, a washer/dryer and new bathrooms. Other improvements and amenities, though nice, would appear to have less widespread appeal: an expanded entry foyer, two Miele dishwashers and two wall ovens (perfect for starting your own catering business?). Still, given the way that the real estate market has been going lately, we think that Mr. Berson and Ms. Lacey probably got lucky in yet another regard: they didn’t pay over ask.

Robin ‘Rick’ Fessel

The Observer doesn’t provide information about what Fessel and Bigalow do, but that’s what Google is for. Robin Fessel, better known as Rick Fessel, is a litigation partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, where he handles employment, intellectual property, securities, and antitrust cases. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1989.

Tamara Bigalow is deputy general counsel at McKinsey & Company, which is the S&C (or perhaps the Cravath) of management consulting firms. She worked at S&C as an associate from 1990 to 1994, which is presumably where she met Fessel. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1990.

So that’s what we know about Fessel and Bigalow. Now let’s have a look at their former home, which exudes the elegance one would expect from S&C and McKinsey types….


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