Celebrity Homes

Hello Again: Neil Diamond’s former Upper East Side neighbours offer a sweet real estate deal

Two apartments in the H. Bramhall Gilbert mansion, below Neil Diamond’s penthouse, have been listed for sale.

Located in the famed Upper East Side of Manhattan, at 17 E. 63rd St, the H. Bramhall Gilbert mansion was built in 1901 by William W. and Thomas M. Hall, developers known for constructing extravagant mansions on the Upper East Side.

The Beaux-Arts beauty is now divided into multiple units, with the Beautiful Noise singer occupying the penthouse, according to the New York Post.

Unit No. 2, located on the parlor floor, is a two-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom apartment listed for US$4.25 million. Meanwhile, Unit No. 3/4 is a three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom duplex priced at a higher US$16.99 million.

The facade of the H. Bramhall Gilbert mansion.

According to the agents representing the units, interest in the properties has already been high, with some potential buyers looking to combine the two into a triplex residence.

The building has changed hands many times since it was first built, with its first owners being H. Bramhall Gilbert and his wife, Lila Brokaw.

The Brokaw family was affluent and rubbed elbows with some of the wealthiest people of their time, including the Vanderbilts and Guggenheims.

William Brokaw, Lila’s brother, was thought to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s inspiration for Jay Gatsby.

After the Gilberts sold the house in 1906, it went through several owners, with some converting the building into a top-floor apartment with offices below it.

In 1951, baseball legend Jackie Robinson held his press conference in the building to announce his plans to build affordable housing in Brooklyn.

The kitchen in Unit 2. Photo: Allyson Lubow

The building was converted back into apartments in the 1980s, with Unit No. 2 most recently owned by Shirley Maytag King until her death last year.

The apartment has retained many of its original features, including a 15-foot ceiling in the drawing room with picture-frame mouldings and hand-painted plasterwork.

Unit No. 3/4 boasts several unique features, including a hot tub located in the library and a 53sq m primary bedroom.

The apartment also has five original wood-burning fireplaces, a spiral staircase with a gold-plated ceiling, and three Juliet balconies outside the unit.

A dining room in the duplex. Photo: Allyson Lubow

Outside, the elaborate limestone facade is carved with garlands of fruit and flowers, and it sports a cartouche-style keystone over the entryway and a stone cornice along the roof.

According to the brokers representing the properties, the grand scale and proportion of the home feels very royal and lavish, with old-world charm in abundance.

A living area in the duplex. Photo: Allyson Lubow

Though the kitchen in Unit No. 2 could use an update, the brokers noted that it could easily be expanded as few of the apartment’s walls are load-bearing.

Overall, the H. Bramhall Gilbert mansion offers buyers a chance to own a piece of history and live in luxury in one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in Manhattan.

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