SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine
Joan Rivers

joan1Rivers was known around the world for her tart tongue, but there was one place she did not allow funny business: her condo board at 1 East 62nd Street in New York.

Brooklyn born, Joan Rivers loved her gilded apartment—she described the decor as Louis XIV meets Fred and Ginger. She bought the property, originally built in 1903, in 1988 and carried out an exhaustive renovation, determined to ensure many of its original period details were retained. Joan Rivers’ apartment is without a doubt the hottest celebrity real estate in New York.

The 5 100sq triplex penthouse is held up by pillars, floor to ceiling windows and is dripping with chandeliers, marble statues , fresh cut flowers and antiques. It features four bedrooms, five fireplaces, and opulent things like gilded antique boisserie paneling and columns. She spent her days surrounded by floor to ceiling windows and gold plated walls. Yes you read that right - gold walls. The limestone mansion was built in 1910 for society figure John R Drexel and his socialite wife.

One enters from a residence exclusive elevator landing, which opens into one of the grandest rooms in Manhattan. In the foyer, gold pillars mark the entrance to a lavish living room filled with Georgian-style furniture, gilded mirrors and a piano, while the dining room is covered in plush velvet and pink accents. The master bedroom features a lacy four-poster bed and antique details, while a luxurious bathroom includes a sunken bathtub and lightbulb-lined mirrors reminiscent of Old Hollywood dressing rooms.

The home’s centerpiece is a ballroom and adjoining music room with 23’ ceilings, gilded antique boisserie paneling and columns and two fireplaces -capacious spaces that allow for entertaining on a grand scale. Adjacent to the music room is a dining room that allows for more intimate gatherings -- its three French doors opening to the south-facing terrace, allowing for al fresco dining. The beautifully appointed wood-paneled library has a fireplace and faces south and west with views of Central Park, the Manhattan Skyline. 2 bedroom, two bath guest quarters has its own large living room with a fireplace and an eat-in kitchen.

The second floor, with a mezzanine that overlooks the music room and ballroom, leads to the master suite, which has French doors opening to its own south-facing terrace with views of Central Park. Staff quarters can be accessed from this floor, which has a separate staircase leading to the kitchen.

joan2The comedienne described the New York apartment as somewhere ‘Marie Antoinette would have lived’ And as expected of this comedy gem, every inch of her stunning home is covered with index cards with jokes spanning her entire career. Rivers was a celebrated hostess who loved to throw lavish parties and dinners at the apartment, which has 23ft high ceilings. Her guests reportedly included Nancy Reagan, Steve Forbes and Martha Stewart. Ms Rivers’ Thansksgiving Day parties were especially famous.

After her death, the condo was transferred to her daughter Melissa, who has now put it back on the market for $28 million.

Fact File
• Rivers was born on June 8, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York.
• Her full name was Joan Alexandra Molinsk.
• She was raised in Brooklyn, New York, and her family later moved to Larchmont, in Westchester County, New York.
• Joan attended Connecticut College between 1950 and 1952 and graduated from Barnard College in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and anthropology.
• She had a series of odd jobs which included working as a tour guide at Rockefeller Center, a writer/proofreader at an advertising agency and as a fashion consultant at Bond Clothing Stores.
• Her agent Tony Rivers advised her to change her name, so she chose Joan Rivers as her stage name.
• Rivers worked as a fashion coordinator for Bond Clothing Store and as a publicist for Lord and Taylor.
• Joan Rivers received her Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989.


Latest Digital Issue

















Digital Back Issues

Buy Digital back issues for $1