On the UES, $50M gets you a lot of townhouse – and a spooky cellar

24 East 81st Street
24 East 81st Street

On an Upper East Side block where stately townhouses still dominate the landscape, the century-old mansion at 24 East 81st Street stands out as the most lavish of them all.

Originally designed by Buchman & Fox architects for Jeremiah C. Lyons, a prominent developer in the early 1900s, the sprawling 18,000 square-foot house has seen several renovations over the last 114 years. Now, the the six-story house is back on the market asking $50 million.

The 24-room, 32-feet-wide property is listed by Oren and Tal Alexander of Douglas Elliman. It has a monthly tax bill of $19,581, according to StreetEasy.com.

So what does $50 million get you on the Upper East Side these days? Quite a lot, it turns out. But a coveted park view (in this case) isn’t one of them.

The home features the original limestone facade, towering ceilings, gold-leaf detailing, grandiose rooms, an elevator, 11 fireplaces, a lot of ornate marble, an impressive – though vertigo inducing – staircase and an obscured view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

24 East 81st Street
A vertigo inducing staircase

It also gets you the remnants of John DeLucie’s Crown restaurant, which rented the ground floor and basement of the property from 2011 to 2015. The dining area, bar and professional kitchen are still intact and part of the sale.

24 East 81st Street
The remnants of the former ground-level restaurant

Alongside the basement kitchen is a room that would make a fantastic home cinema or media room. It’s currently hidden behind a door disguised as a bookshelf and contains, not one, but two worn-out zebra rugs, which may or may not be real. This intrepid reporter wouldn’t get close enough to find out.

24 East 81st Street
A worn zebra rug in the basement

The most recent renovations were undertaken two years ago, and included new kitchens and the installation of a bathroom made of onyx.

The sellers are Henry and Patricia Hay and their two children. Henry Hay is the co-founder of Centaur Properties, the development firm behind the upcoming Jardim building in West Chelsea. The Jardim building is architect Isay Weinfeld’s first New York City project and will neighbor Zaha Hadid’s 520 West 28th Street.

The Hay’s townhouse has flirted with the market a couple of times since 2014. Initially, it was listed with Brown Harris Stevens at a price of $63 million. Then again in May 2015 with Douglas Elliman for $59 million. The price has now dropped to the current $50 million, and, according to Street Easy, it has sat on the market for 242 days.

24 East 81st Street

24 East 81st Street

24 East 81st Street

24 East 81st Street

24 East 81st Street

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