His East Side Story: Leonard Bernstein’s New York Apartment Listed At $29.5 Million

A terrace in New York
The Upper East Side co-op, listed for $29.5 million, was owned by Bernstein and his wife from the early 1960s until they sold in 1974.

Music aficionados would be hard-pressed to find a more historically relevant spot for living the high life in New York City than the apartment once occupied by renowned composer, conductor and pianist Leonard Bernstein.

Set within less than two miles of both Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, the two-story trophy property is perched atop a prewar limestone-and-brick building on the Upper East Side. The 21-story Art Deco cooperative, built in 1929, features white-glove service in keeping with its old-world glamour.

The living room

The Park Avenue address provided a base from which the “West Side Story” composer and his wife Felicia could host social events and raise their three children.

The maestro was in residence during part of his long association with the New York Philharmonic, first as music director and then as laureate conductor. The Park Avenue address provided a base from which the “West Side Story” composer and his wife Felicia could host social events and raise their three children.

Also known for his philanthropic works and social activism, Bernstein made headlines in a 1970 issue of New York magazine when he hosted an event at the home in support of the Black Panther movement. Guests including composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, singer Harry Belafonte and “Today Show” host Barbara Walters mingled with Panthers’ wives.

A den with built-ins

Walls of built-ins fill the den, which has a fireplace.

Journalist Tom Wolfe’s florid description of the evening gave rise to the phrase “radical chic,” used to skewer wealthy leftists who gave fancy parties for pet causes. Needless to say, the Bernsteins were not happy with the essay.

The 6,300-square-foot duplex had plenty of space for two pianos during the famous affair and to hold Bernstein’s Emmys, which would eventually number 11. There’s an additional 700 square feet of outdoor wraparound terrace that takes in panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan and Central Park.

The kitchen

Artistic wallpaper creates visual interest in the kitchen.

The residence is accessed through a private elevator lobby, which opens to a 34-foot tall gallery. Soaring ceilings, the original wood-burning fireplaces and wide-plank mahogany floors are among architectural details.

An over-sized formal living room, a library, a large formal dining room and a roomy kitchen, with a separate pantry/breakfast room and wine storage, occupy the top floor. The light-filled solarium with a bluestone-tiled floor, an addition since Bernstein’s time, provides a sunny spot for informal dining.

The solarium

The solarium, which takes in sweeping views, is lined with bluestone tile.

A staircase leads to the lower level bedrooms, a home office and a laundry room. The main bedroom has its own fireplace and bathroom for six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and a powder room.

Building amenities include doormen, an elevator attendant, a live-in super, maintenance and service staff, a fitness center and squash and basketball courts.

Cityscape views are on full display from the garden terrace.

Apartment PHA at 895 Park Ave, New York City, is listed for $29.5 million by Bonnie ChajetAllison Chiaramonte and Tania Isacoff Friedland of Warburg Realty, a founding member of Forbes Global Properties. World-class dining and shopping are close at hand.

The Bernsteins lived in the co-op from the early 1960s until they sold in 1974.

Author

During four decades of covering luxury and celebrity housing, I’ve looked into people’s homes, lives and property records through many lenses. I was the Los Angeles Times Real Estate section editor for eight years, the Hot Property columnist for six and did stints as a newspaper reporter, copy editor and page designer. My work for The Times Business, Home and Real Estate sections has garnered in-house and national awards for blogging, editing and feature writing.

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