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Archive for the ‘cribs’ Category

I was getting a ton of hits for Caroline Kennedy because of the Democratic Convention, so I was going to do a post on her. Well, one thing led to another:

Jackie O. loved New York City. She wanted to bring up her children there. From 1964 to 1994 she lived on the 15th floor of 1040 Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is on the north-east corner of Fifth Avenue and 85th Street, across the street from Central Park and a block up from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A year after her husband, President John F. Kennedy, was shot dead she moved to New York to 1040 with her two little children, John, 4, and Caroline, 7.

She moved there because it was close to her sister Lee Radziwill and because she wanted Caroline to go to school at Sacred Heart on 91st Street, one of the best girls’ schools in the city. She also knew that the Upper East Side would pretty much let her be. She went to mass at St Thomas More on 89th Street.

She bought the entire 15th floor in 1964 for $250,000 (200,000 crowns). In 1996, after she died, it was sold for $9.5 million (2 million crowns). In 2008 it sold for $19.5 million (1.5 million crowns). One of the later owners was the 33rd richest person in the world.

She filled the apartment with her books, her paintings and her art objects. She had a piano she could not play and a telescope which she used. She had no central air conditioning.

The place was friendly rather than grand. She wanted a private place for her family and friends to enjoy and feel at home in. It changed little over 30 years: “She was ageless and her style was ageless,” her designer said about the place.

Because so many of her things were sold off after her death, hundreds of people own things that were once there.

With only two floors above it, it has a wonderful view of Central Park: you can see the Reservoir, now named after her, and the 3,400-year-old Temple of Dendur, which she had helped to bring to the Met museum from Egypt. The 15th floor has a terrace where you can step outside and take in the view.

From 1996 to 2000 much of the 15th floor was rebuilt and the layout changed somewhat.

In 2006 the 15th floor had:

  • Facing Central Park:
    • master bedroom
    • library (with fireplace)
    • living room (with fireplace)
    • dining room (with fireplace)
    • terrace
  • four bedrooms in all
  • three terraces in all
  • two dressing rooms
  • a staff room
  • conservatory
  • five and a half bathrooms
  • a wine room
  • a gallery
  • a chef’s kitchen
  • a laundry room
  • a cloak room

The building went up in 1930, done in a neo-Classical style. It was designed by Rosario Candela, who did many luxury apartments in the city in the 1920s and 1930s. The roofline is pretty strange and sets it apart. The building has 17 floors and only 27 apartments.

The building has a doorman but no garage or health club.

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Monticello (1768- ) is the house of Thomas Jefferson, the third American president. It is in Virginia near Charlottesville on the top of a “little mountain” (what Monticello means in Italian). It is the house you see on the back of nickels (the American five-cent coin). What you do not see on the nickel is the wonderful view it has.

Jefferson and his friend Dabney Carr went to the top of the mountain as boys. They promised each other that they would be buried under an oak tree there (they were). Jefferson liked the place so much that he built his house there, amid the oaks.

Jefferson designed the house in 1768. From then till 1809 he, his white workers and black slaves worked on it. It seems he was always working on it. When Jefferson left for Europe in 1784 the house was more or less done, but his five years in Europe gave him new ideas. When he got back he tore down a lot of it and rebuilt it.

The house is Italian on the outside in the style of Palladio and English on the inside. The cooking was French.

Apart from the windows from Europe, the house is mostly built from materials from the mountain itself.

The estate had about 2000 hectares and 150 slaves, including Sally Hemings.

The dome, the rounded part of the roof, was not added till 1800. It is a lot more evident on the nickel than it is in real life when you are on the ground looking up at it. When you enter the house you have no idea that it is there. (I was there in 2006.)

When you walk in you come into a waiting area. Above the door is a clock that tells not only the hour and minute but also the day of the week. While you wait you can look at the bones of monstrous creatures that once lived there in a lost age.

His book room held thousands of books. Most of the books you see are copies of the books it once had. The originals were sold off long ago to help settle Jefferson’s debts. A few books, though, are left: the Don Quixote that he learned Spanish from, his Ariosto, Virgil, Plutarch and some others. He has a lot of law books and books in French.

Next to his library is his office and next to that his bed, which seems too short (as do others from that period).

There is an eight-sided room where James Madison and his wife often slept. The bed is set in the wall in the French style of the time.

The house is full of paintings, clocks, fireplaces and windows – but not many curtains! On the wall of his living room are paintings of his three heroes: Newton, Bacon and Locke.

The steps going up to the second floor are very narrow – to save space in the house. They let people see the second floor only two nights a week. You have to sign up on the Internet for it.

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