Andy Warhol’s Upper East Side Studio Hits the Market For $10 Million

Photo via Cushman & Wakefield

During the early ’60s, Andy Warhol was working primarily as a commercial artist, having just begun to assert himself as a fine artist and local provocateur. In January 1963, he moved into an Upper East Side studio, his first private space, which was then an affordable fire house, available for only $150 per month. More than half a century later and following years of gentrification, Warhol’s historic site, 159 East 87th Street, is on the market for a steep $9,975,000 and “offers a developer a blank canvass [sic] to create boutique condominiums, a mixed-use rental or a luxury townhouse.” 

Six months before the iconic pop artist moved into his UES space, he’d established a polarizing name with his newly debuted Campbell Soup Can paintings. “In 1963, [Warhol] was only just becoming known as a fine artist, so it’s no wonder he didn’t invest in a fancier studio,” said Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik to Artnet NewsThe building was “a wreck, with leaks in the roof and holes in the floors, but it was better than trying to make serious paintings in the wood-paneled living-room of his Victorian townhouse, as he’d done for the previous couple of years.” Despite the shifty environment, Warhol still managed to create several pieces from his revered Death and Disaster series, as well as portraits of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.


Brillo Box (Soap Pads), 1964 (Photo via MoMA)

Warhol’s lease ended the following May, more than half a year before he moved into his legendary Silver Factory and unveiled his 1964 sculpture exhibition, Brillo Boxes—work philosopher Arthur Danto labeled the end of art. “What Warhol taught was that there is no way of telling the difference [between art and non-art] merely by looking,” Danto said. “The eye, so prized an aesthetic organ when it was felt that the difference between art and non-art was visible, was philosophically of no use whatever when the differences proved instead to be invisible.”

The two-story building, located between Lexington and Third Avenue, is currently being used for art storage and marketed by Cushman & Wakefield as a “boutique development site”—a far cry from its humble Warholian roots and testament to NYC’s ever-evolving real estate landscape.

The Month’s Final Burger Friday: The World’s Most Expensive Burger

In honor of the holiday that is National Burger Month, I’ve devoted every Friday of the month to the world’s love for the juicy, dripping beast that is The Burger. And let me tell you: it’s been a wild ride. From NYC’s weirdest burgers, best mini burgersbiggest burgersand finest three-day-weekend burgers – we can now say farewell to National Burger Month with crème de la crème: The Most Expensive Burger. Meet Le Burger Extravagant from Serendipity 3 in NYC.

At $295, this is the world’s most expensive burger. The legendary dessert spot known for the world’s most expensive sundae and priciest hot dog extends the spotlight to this extravagant dish that has its own write-up in the Guinness Book of World Records, requires a 48-hour advanced reservation, and comes with a take-home diamond-gold toothpick for the lucky customer. 

Why the price tag? It’s loaded with Japanese Waygu beef, 10-herb white-truffle butter, 18-month-cave-aged cheddar cheese, shaved black truffles, and fried quail eggs – all on a white truffle-buttered Campagna Roll topped with caviar.  With a solid gold-and-diamonds-encrusted toothpick. I spend money just writing about it.

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Fashion Dog Could Be Evicted From His UES Penthouse

Oscar the six-year-old chow chow/golden retriever mix lived a dog’s life in his Upper East Side penthouse at East 68th Street and Second Ave. But not anymore: now Oscar’s rich neighbors are conspiring to kick out the pup after he allegedly bit three neighbors and the doorman.

Oscar belongs to 82-year-old fashion designer Edgar Bradau, an early mentor to Ralph Lauren who sold his clothing line to Saks and Neiman Marcus. He denies his pup (not the one pictured here) is a cold-blooded killer. "Oscar kisses babies," Brandau told the New York Post. "He comes to church with me all the time."

But still the co-op board had voted to insist Oscar wear a muzzle while entering and leaving the building.  Brandau, who has owned his 12th floor penthouse for 60 years, has not complied with their order, which is why the co-op board filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Civil Court to get Oscar evicted.

His owner says he and Oscar aren’t going anywhere. "I have letters from my doctors saying my dog is essential to my health," he told the Post. A likely story …

These neighbors had better step off. Everybody knows you don’t get between a rich fashion type and their beloved dog. 

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Itinerary: Marnie Stern Takes Care of Business

A scant few years ago, Marnie Stern sent her ferocious punk demo to independent record label Kill Rock Stars. This critically adored hurricane of noise, In Advance of the Broken Arm, was succeeded by three more LPs—her third, The Chronicles of Marnia, is out March 19. Each puts dissonant, intricate guitar work into the service of almost shockingly tuneful face-melters, but Marnia may pack the biggest rush of any, squalling with something like a quicksilver consciousness of its own.

Despite her dedication to thunderous, unrelenting rock, Ms. Stern isn’t exactly living on the razor’s edge. She’d be the first to apologize for this, as it turns out. The good news is she’s that witty, laid-back friend who can make doing nothing pretty fun. We tagged along while she ran a few important errands around her native Upper East Side.

Marnie’s Apartment

Brace yourself when entering: you are about to get some love from an excitable nine-year-old Maltese-Yorkie mix named Fig, who is about as small as a large guinea pig. Marnie cuddles and coos at what she views as a superior alternative to a human child, of which this neighborhood has too many. Though, she notes, “this is the same apartment I was a baby in.” Mom now lives in Florida, where Marnie spends most winters. “She goes on tour, she’s on every album cover,” Marnie says of her pet, who nearly died when one of her mom’s dogs attacked her a few weeks ago. You wouldn’t know it from her sunny disposition—what a survivor.

“Old lady furniture and cheap pieces” is how Marnie describes the apartment, knocking on a wooden coffee table made by an ex-boyfriend. A back room reveals electronics, guitars, a bed, and a rack of eclectic clothes on hangers. She records here, with possible overdubs later. Usually she writes in Florida, out on the patio, but quitting cigarettes ten months ago threw a wrench into her process. “Twin ballerinas used to live in this room,” Marnie mentions, shuddering at this memory. “I’m going to have to find another roommate soon. Even though we’re rent-controlled, it’s still pretty expensive.” As we leave, she points out a framed photo of herself as a mischievously smiling kid. “It’s weird that I leave that out there, right?”

U.S. Post Office

The rack of clothes, it transpires, is not for the wearing but the selling. Marnie and her mom have an eBay business in scouring thrift stores for items to be auctioned online. “I don’t have an income!” she explains—it’s giving guitar lessons and this. As such, it’s time to mail a package to some lucky bidder. “It’s a sweater. For someone in…Glenwood Springs, Colorado,” she reads off the address label. Sales have been slow recently; some days she would drag a wheelie cart full of stuff through snow to the post office. “And I would see these old spinster women doing that and think: oh, please not me in twenty years.” She confesses to hating this part of Manhattan when she first moved back to the city, figuring she had nothing in common with its inhabitants. “Now it doesn’t bother me, which is scary,” she says. At the very least, she’s over the idea of Brooklyn, having lived in Clinton Hill in a seedier era. “There’s always moving to L.A., being warm all the time. But thinking about it gives me the bad feeling.”


Second Avenue is all blinding sun and choppy gusts of wind. “We’re going to blow away,” Marnie is confident in predicting. “My nephew took Tae Kwon Do at that place,” she points. She laments the poor shops run out of business by the constant and abrasive construction of a new subway line. “At night you can hear the explosions down there.” Suddenly the ground underneath our feet seems not altogether solid.

We hit the Goodwill Store to find something else for the eBay rack. An employee is noticeably confused to hear Marnie, petit as she is, ask after the plus sizes. “That’s what’s been selling,” she says, beginning to methodically work through the selection. “Some brands sell, some don’t, and it changes; it’s hard to keep up. For a while it was J. Crew." Speak of the devil: she pulls out a red fleece J. Crew hoodie with leather drawstrings and deems it cute. Only eight bucks. But final inspection reveals a hole, and we leave empty-handed. 

Duane Reade

“This is really exciting, isn’t it?” Marnie says by way of apology once more. But what New Yorker’s day would be complete without a visit to the only drug store in town? On the way we discuss the buzzed-about Win A Date With Marnie Stern promotion, which she at first resisted “because what if nobody entered? That’d be too sad.” Now she holds out some hope. “I’m not looking to date a musician or anyone in their twenties, is the thing.” Forty-year-olds, line up. At the Duane Reade pharmacy counter there’s a snag with the insurance. “How sick is that shit? You have to pay to rent space on the planet?” She picks up some pepper flakes for a French onion soup she wants to make later on. We kill a few minutes in the cosmetics aisle, where Marnie explains the difficulty of gluing on fake eyelashes, which she’s only attempted twice. As if it’s been on her mind all day, she broaches the topic of luck. “I used to not believe in it—I didn’t want to believe in it. Now I’m on the fence, but I don’t to be!” She agrees that some talented, hard-working artists haven’t caught a break. “But they will,” she insists.

Yorkshire Wines & Spirits

Marnie is full of good stories. One of her first jobs, at age 21, was proofreading for the Columbia House brand, “but I didn’t do anything.” Her greatest mistake was allowing a Bob Dylan box set to be priced at $6.99 instead of $69.99. She never bought CDs on impulse, she says; she always did her research. She says she doesn’t get recognized, ever, but once after two full hours on the phone with tech support she was asked, “Wait, are you Marnie Stern the lyricist and guitarist?” The guy went on to inform her that punk music was very important to him. Marnie, for part of our walk, verbally compiles all the logistics she has to sort for the tour, which starts in April. She does it all by herself, since she doesn’t have a manager. “I had one, but I couldn’t afford to pay them. I ended up doing things myself because it’s easier that way.” In the liquor store, Marnie wants to find some wine to cook with but professes ignorance as to quality: “There’s this Yellow Tail and it doesn’t taste too terrible.” She ends up with two bottles of Shiraz and something white, choosing a card to swipe almost at random. “Have to see which one works.” It’s a go on the first try.

Gracie’s Diner

“Do you download movies?” Marnie asks. “Not, like Netflix, but the other, the bad kind? I do. I don’t for music, but I do for movies. I’m a hypocrite.” That self-effacement is evident, too, in Marnie’s ultimate decision not to cook using her wine and pepper flakes but order some French onion soup to go: “It’ll be more expensive to make it myself, and it won’t be as good, and cooking for one…” So there’s every reason to make one last stop at Gracie’s, a cozy corner establishment that at least one tourist could be heard mistaking for the Seinfeld diner. All in all, it’s been a pleasantly uneventful afternoon. “For two, three years of my life at a time, there’s nothing,” is how Marnie describes the periods in between the heavy touring and publicity that come with a new album. “Just nothing at all. Then, something something something.” We sit at the counter to wait for the soup, which arrives almost right away.  

Photos by Natasha Kaser.

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Hospoda’s New Chef: Q&A With Katie Busch

About a year ago, Hospoda on the Upper East Side won over diners with its Eastern European cuisine. Now, the kitchen is getting a farm-to-table spin with 28-year-old chef Katie Busch, formally of The Modern and Fishtail by David Burke. The other night, I popped in to see what the young chef is whipping up and fell madly in love with her slow-cooked chicken and acacia honeyed millet cake, which I never thought I would say about a poultry dish. Later, I talked to the chef to find out how she got to Hospoda, and what she has in store for the place.

What’s your plan for Hospoda?
My plan for Hospoda is to continue to serve Czech-inspired menu options as well as creative American offerings—so more or less, Czech-American cuisine. We’re also redefining our private event space with the Bohemian Benevolent Literary Association [in the same building], so that we will a more prominent connection between Hospoda and the catering events held in the Czech Center. 

You are so young, how did you get so far ahead so fast?
I’ve worked as hard as possible since I was old enough to have a job, and have only ever focused on cooking. Even as far back as high school I was hustling and I went to vocational technical school for culinary arts simultaneously with regular high school. There I competed in local and regional competitions, one of which earned me a scholarship to The Restaurant  School at Walnut Hill College. During my second year of culinary school, I began working at the Striped Bass in Philadelphia, when Steven Starr re-opened it and brought in Alfred Portale, Christopher Lee and an opening crew of New York cooks. After that it was obvious to me that New York was the only place I wanted to be after graduating.

When I first moved to New York, I worked at many places, but I had always stayed in touch with chef Lee, and worked many charity and other special events for him. I went back to work for him when Charlie Palmer’s Aureole reopened at One Bryant Park and then at C.LEE Consulting. I gained a lot of firsthand knowledge on how to fix restaurants that were running poorly or kitchen’s that needed restructuring. By working at so many different styles of restaurants and opening or reopening so many places, I think I’ve gained a lot of knowledge that can help me to bring Hospoda to the next level.

What made you decide to work at Hospoda?
When I went for the interview with Filip Trcka, and owner,Tomas Karpiesk, I was given homework. Basically, they told me the story of the company, showed me around the kitchen, restaurant, as well as the rest of the building, and gave me a copy of the menu. Then they asked me that if I was opening the restaurant from scratch and could do whatever I wanted to do while portraying the company’s vision, what would I do. I was very into it.
By the time I was cooking a tasting for the management, and then finally traveling to Prague, I was ecstatic to be a part of this team.



What was it like working in Prague?
It was an amazing experience to travel overseas, explore Prague and work at one of our sister restaurants, La Degustation. The country was absolutely beautiful, and the kitchen was quite similar to the New York kitchen. The chef, Oldrich Sahajdak, is serious about ordering products as farm fresh as possible, including milk delivered raw straight from the farm, mushrooms brought in by the forager who picked them himself, and whole lambs dropped off by the farmer. I also got to eat at each of the restaurants owned by Ambiente, the restaurant group that owns Hospoda and La Degustation, and got a firm understanding of the concepts and mission of the company.

Most people aren’t sure what Eastern European food really is, what does it mean to you?
My experience with it so far kind of equates to comfort food. It’s generally hot, filling food that is steeped in tradition, with plenty of dumplings. I’m still learning the proper ways of creating all of the traditional Czech dishes, but I am fortunate to have quite a few coworkers from the Czech Republic, so I’ve got a lot of tough critics.

Most popular dish on Hospoda’s menu?
There are a couple top sellers right now from our autumn menu like the veal schnitzel with Yukon potato puree and pickled baby beets sells and the grilled branzino. The grilled hen of the woods [mushrooms] with parmesan and poached egg and autumn squash plate with roasted butternut, Cinderella pumpkin, crispy farro and star anise are also popular. 

What top three things should diners eat at the restaurant? 

Well, besides the most popular dishes that I mentioned above, diners should definitely not leave without trying the house-made spaghettini with lump crabmeat, the slow cooked chicken breast, and the Nova Scotia halibut with white asparagus, lobster mushrooms, and a smoked yellow tomato sauce.

Stolen Dalí Mailed Back To UES Gallery

Case closed. Back to your donuts, coppers. The $150K Salvador Dalí painting stolen last week in broad daylight from an Upper East Side gallery has returned. In fact, it was mailed back. What polite thieves!

Last week, a man removed the painting Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio off the wall of the Venus Over Manhattan gallery, stuffed it in a shopping bag, and walked out. According to The New York Post, earlier this week the gallery received an email reading "Cartel on its way back to you already," with an Express Mail tracking number. As promised, the 11-inch painting arrived "in pristine condition" at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where it was intercepted by police. Not surprisingly, the return address appears to be fake. 

A spokesperson for the investigation said its difficult to sell stolen artwork "because they’re hot," which I think is movie gangster slang for "everyone’s going to know it’s stolen." Thus, it’s still unclear who jacked the painting in the first place or why. But rest assured knowing a rich person now has his very expensive painting back.

$150K Dalí Painting Jacked From Upper East Side Gallery

Galleristas must have thought their eyeballs were melting. But no, a man really did walk into Venus Over Manhattan Art Gallery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and steal a Salvador Dalí painting without being caught. You might even call the whole incident surreal. (Art joke!)

Police say a man removed the 11-inch "Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio" from the wall, placed the watercolor in a black shopping bag, and walked out. Security cameras depict the thief as the 35- to 45-years-old with a receding hairline — rather attractive, I should say. I cannot say the same for his taste in Surrealist art. The jacked Dalí is a mess of sloppy reds, browns and black. Alas, it’s a sloppy mess worth $150,000.

The aggrieved gallery owner is Adam Lindemann, a prep-school educated billionaire’s son who is a radio station honcho and New York Observer columnist. It’s difficult to feel sympathy for a man described by ArtNet as "the prince of the one percent." Ironically, given the crime, Lindemann’s money came from the invention of the first soft contact lens. 

New York Opening: Tequileria Maya

Was it really a decade and a half ago? Indeed, Richard Sandoval’s pioneering nouveau Mexican restaurant Maya has been at it for fifteen years on New York’s Upper East Side. Now it gets an anniversary present: Tequileria Maya, a new tequila bar and lounge next door with a whopping one-hundred-plus agave bases spirits and thirty-plus house-infused tequilas.

Subverting the ever more annoying reality of bottle service, Maya allows guests to buy a bottle and will politely store what remains of that bottle for the guest’s next visit. Guacamole-tequila pairings ease that tequila burrrrn.

New York Openings: The Guthrie Inn, The Flat, Donna

The Guthrie Inn (Upper East Side) – Smart cocktail menu shaking up upper Park Ave.

The Flat (Williamsburg) – Punk rockers drop secret gentlemen’s club off the Hewes Street station.

Donna (Williamsburg) – Central America meets Billyburg in “an elegant space for dirty kids.”