By Camilla McLaughlin

Glamour and authenticity are not often used together to describe real estate, but that is definitely the feeling here. It’s not a surprise considering the former owner was Joan Rivers, the personification of these qualities.

Located in a limestone Beaux Arts mansion built in 1903 for Alice and John Drexel, the lavish triplex penthouse is changing hands for the first time in decades and presents a rare opportunity to own a beautifully restored prewar condo in a boutique building. “There aren’t many of these that still exist, and most that do belong to a country,” says Leighton Candler with Corcoran Real Estate Group. Equally prized is the location, just off Fifth Avenue and steps from Central Park, on a prime residential street on the Upper East Side. 

Although the residence has terraces spacious enough for al fresco dining, skyline and park views, staff quarters and a separate but contiguous guest apartment, the centerpiece has to be the ballroom and adjoining music room. Twenty-three-foot ceilings, double-height windows, two fireplaces and architectural details from the Gilded Age, such as antique boisserie paneling, make it one of the grandest rooms in Manhattan. A ballroom by itself is difficult to find in Manhattan today; few still exist, but one that is bright and airy and completely integrated into the residence is extraordinary. 

Still, other rooms remind that, above all, this is a home. “The library is one of the coziest I’ve seen, perfect for sharing a cup of tea with a friend,” says Candler. “The dining room can be a huge entertaining space, but it’s also a room you can use and appreciate every day.” The price for this very special slice of the Big Apple is $28 million.