The Herbert N. Straus Mansion was the last and largest of just a handful of goliath mansions built during its era in the 1930's and it would become the capstone property of the wealthiest and most prominent block of all of New York City. The Mansion stands with provenance and commanding authority in a neighborhood steeped in New York's richest history. The handful of renowned lavish buildings that surround this Mansion include the old Cornelius Vanderbilt home, the Twombly House and across the street on Fifth Avenue, the former Frick Residence, current home of the Frick Art Collection. Its gargantuan size and opulence is perhaps only outdone by its unique location on the Upper East Side's most desired block flanked by Central Park on Fifth Avenue and St. James' Church on Madison Avenue. The property is uniquely positioned as the perpetual and unobtrusive perspective overlooking the Frick Museum to Central Park can never be blocked by new construction, a rarity in the ever-growing New York City landscape. Upon purchase of the property in 1928 by Herbert N. Straus, heir to Isidor and Ida Straus, co-owners of renowned retailers R. H. Macy & Co., the mansion was commissioned to be built in 1930. Mr. Straus specifically chose "Society Architect" Horace Trumbauer, known for his particular adept proficiency in designing palaces for the rich. Mr. Trumbauer's reputation for creating lavish residential manors for the wealthy allowed the accomplished architect to build the largest and most luxurious residences of the times. The Herbert N. Straus Mansion remains among Trumbauer's most well-known works and contributed to his praise as one of the most "prominent American architect of the Gilded Age." Built as New York City's largest and most luxurious French Neo-Classical Mansion on a 50 foot wide by 102.2 foot deep lot, 7 stories and in excess of 28,000 square feet, some of the property's luxuries include 15-foot-tall oak entry doors, imported French-limestone meticulously decorated with carvings, sculpture figures and ornamental iron works. Mr. Straus even transported antiques and fixtures along with "entire 18th-century rooms" from Europe. The mansion would eventually be acquired in 1944 by the Roman Catholic Archbishopric of New York to become an extension of the St. Claire Hospital, with up to 50 beds, for nearly twenty years. In 1962, the mansion was sold to the Birch Wathen School, a college preparatory day school from kindergarten to grade 12. In 1989, with the help of architect Thierry Despont and interior designer John Stefanidis, the property was reconverted into the ultimate private residence. Most recently, additional interior design services were provided by Alberto Pinto. This Mansion presents a once in a life-time opportunity to own the largest single-family home in New York City. This historic landmark could easily present itself as a palatial consulate, embassy, foundation, or a museum to once again house some of the world's greatest works of art.
$88,000,000 28,000 sqft
9 E 71st St, New York, NY 10021
Real Estate Broker Information:
The Herbert N. Straus House is a large town house at 9 East 71st Street, just east of Fifth Avenue, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. The exterior was designed by Horace Trumbauer and completed in 1932. A roof extension was added in 1977. The size of the house was believed to be 21,000 square feet (2,000 m2) in the late 1980s, and by 2003 had been enlarged to 51,000 square feet (4,700 m2), spread over nine floors. A 15-foot high (4.6 m) oak door and large arched windows are distinctive features of the limestone exterior. A heated sidewalk is located in front of the house.
Vicky Ward in 2003 described the house as "the crown jewel of the city's residential town houses...it sits on—or, rather, commands—the block of 71st Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. Almost ludicrously out of proportion with its four- and five-story neighbors, it seems more like an institution than a house" and that it was believed to be the largest private residence in Manhattan. The house's 2008 property tax bill was the fourth highest for a single residence in New York City.
Herbert Straus, the sixth of seven children born to Isidor and Ida Straus (co-owners of retailers R. H. Macy & Co.), never lived in the house, and work on the house was canceled shortly before Straus's death in 1933. Straus's heirs never completed work on the house due to the high cost of property taxes.It was unfinished in 1944 when it was donated by the sons of Herbert Straus to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York for a hospital.
The Birch Wathen School occupied the house from 1962 until 1989, when it was purchased for $13.2 million by the billionaire businessman Leslie Wexner. It was featured in the December 1995 edition of Architectural Digest. The interior of the house was designed under Wexner by John Stefanidis, and remodelled by the architect Thierry Despont
Photo By Jim Henderson:
Historic Photos from: Museum of City of New York Collection: https://collections.mcny.org/CS.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=24UAYWDDUD84B&SMLS=1&RW=1280&RH=910&fbclid=IwAR2xrs3MsGF6ZgsT4wHYqryqMXAVCE5cTvsZt-48uMJv12ckoy3XrtirfHA