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Spike Lee mansion sold

Spike Lee sells $32 million Manhattan town home once home to Gypsy Rose Lee.
Spike Lee sells $32 million Manhattan town home once home to Gypsy Rose Lee.
Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Actor/director Shelton J. (Spike) Lee's 8,292-square-foot 3-story town house at No. 153 East 63rd Street, Manhattan sold in April 2014 after being listed on StreetEasy for 91 days. The listing price was $32 million and monthly taxes are $5,442.

The 32-feet wide house with a red tile roof is split in two by the pretty interior courtyard and fountain. It has cathedral ceilings in the enormous living and dining rooms, 5 bedrooms with large ensuite baths, ample kitchen, a library, laundry and staff quarters. "Many original features remain including 3 fireplaces with superb mantles, hardwood floors and a charming fenestrated breezeway that connects the north and south wings of the house."

The mansion was described in the AIA Guide to New York City as #G28- "Originally Cyril and Barbara Rutherford Hatch House, 153 E. 63rd St., between Lexington and Third Aves, 1917-1919. Frederick J. Sterner. A picturesque loner in well-crafted stucco by the designer of the 'Block Beautiful' on 19th Street. A Spanish baroque portal and and decorative fence contrast with the austere building plane."

The site has quite a history. William K. Vanderbilt's wife bought two horse stables there in 1916 for $85,000 and built the house in 1920 as a wedding present for daughter Barbara C. Rutherford who married Cyril Hatch. Frederick J. Sterner designed the modern Spanish Revival building unusual for its time. The couple divorced and Broadway producer/agent Charles B. Dillingham, who owned the Globe Theater and partnered with Flo Zeigfield and A.L. Eralanger, entertained with his second wife there from 1921 until their divorce in 1924.

Aeronautical engineer Charles Lanier Lawrance, whose company merged with the Wright Brothers after World War I and created the engine powering Amelia Earhart's flights and Adm. Richard Byrd’s North Pole explorations, became the next owner.

Burlesque stripper Gypsy Rose Lee reportedly held wild parties there when she owned it for thirty years until her death in 1970. Dr. Ferrucio di Cori bought it, sold it to artist Jasper Johns from whom Lee and wife Tonya Lewis Lee bought it for $16.6 million in 1998.

View pictures of the mansion on the StreetEasy website. Spike Lee is also owner of a two-acre Martha’s Vineyard estate and his three-story film-production company Fort Greene headquarters property.

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