Why is Rupert Murdoch putting the exquisite 19th-century West Village townhouse he bought a year ago back on the market? The answer to such mysteries is usually explicable: the new lady in his life, his bride Jerry Hall.
In April of 2015, the media Midas was living alone in a quadraplex penthouse, 58 stories up, overlooking Madison Square park, and reeling from a divorce from his third wife, Wendi Deng. It was awful lonely up there, so Murdoch decided to come down to earth. He bought a Greek Revival townhouse at 278 West 11th street, paying $25 million, and restored and renovated it to a T.
Then, as you know, last summer he met the longtime consort of a certain Rolling Stone; they had a whirlwind romance, fell in love and married in March. Suddenly, the lovely townhouse with its large, south-facing garden was no longer suitable for his abode.
Why? Funny story, and ironic. During the renovation, very very large windows, what the copywriters call “oversized windows”, were installed in all the rear rooms, with no curtains or drapes. The blazing sunlight poured in, and so did the eyes of the neighbors, as there are eight or ten small buildings that face a common garden and have direct views into the Murdoch property.
That wasn’t a problem for the 85-year-old Aussie—the neighbors weren’t spending their time staring at him–but once the world-famous Miss Jerry arrived, the giant fishbowl became a tempting target for paparazzi. The man who made his billions running newspapers and TV networks that invaded the privacy of celebrities was now a sitting duck for invasion of his own privacy. And the worst offender, The Daily Mail, is not owned by Mr. Murdoch.
Not to mention, the fetching Jerry Hall, after all those decades bathing au naturel on the secluded beaches of Mustique, developed an affinity of padding around the house without her knickers—in other words, buck naked. This won’t work at all: “Somebody get Dolly Lenz on the phone!” (Naturally, Miss Lenz has the listing; she’s asking $28.9 million).
So now perhaps the Murdochs will take up residence back at One Madison Avenue; as far as we can tell, no one ever met his asking price of $72 million, and it hasn’t been sold. The lovebirds can continue their honeymoon staring down at the twinkling lights of Manhattan.
But they may not, even there, be free from prying eyes. As Orbmagazine reported a year ago, these sliver skyscrapers are now being surveilled by drones with cameras, which can broadcast live on the Internet. So Jerry and Rupert, if you see some funny lights hovering in the dark just outside your window, “Smile–you’re on Candid Camera.”