Two Best Friends Sell Their Massive Midtown Artists’ Loft for $4.83M

Posted On Mon, March 23, 2015 By

Posted On Mon, March 23, 2015 By In Midtown West, Recent Sales

Remember this amazing loft we featured on 6sqft back in September? Well it looks like it’s found a new owner to fill its cavernous spaces. According to city records, the two-loft combo at 361 West 36th Street sold today for $4.83 million. While when we last wrote about this cool apartment we were going gaga over its beautiful 4,800 square feet of sun-soaked spaces, it turns out the story of the two women–both artists–who once dwelled within its walls is far better anything else found inside.

Back in 2009, the New York Times profiled the two women, Catherine Redmond and Roselyn Leibowitz, who called the loft home. Like many great friends, the two ladies would often discus what they imagined their future living situation to be. Both had agreed they wanted companionship, but a great deal of privacy along with it. Roselyn, a self-proclaimed spinster, and Catherine, who had been divorced, decided to create a unique living arrangement after Catherine’s Tribeca loft was found to be uninhabitable after 9/11. They spotted a newspaper advertisement for a huge space in the West 30s, and therein they found the perfect canvas for their shared home: two connected lofts.

361 WEST 36TH STREET FLOORPLAN

Roselyn put down the money for the space with the proceeds from the sale of her Tribeca loft ($3.1 million; Catherine had been renting her loft), and the two hired an architect to take care of the renovations.

“Our financial arrangement is a casual relationship between trusting friends,” Catherine told the Times. “To be sure, I am a beneficiary of Roz’s immense generosity, but our friendship, and more important, the soul that is Roz’s kindness to me, has never impinged on my sense of freedom.”  She added, “Artists don’t need guarantees. They need places to do their work and the freedom in which to do it.” No written agreement was ever created, and the duo split utility bills.

Privacy was certainly never an issue for the two, whose spaces totaled a combined 4,600 square feet. During the renovation, the women emphasized that their arrangement needed to be a supportive structure that wouldn’t encroach on the other’s space or style. This is reflected in the home’s layout where Catherine’s side of the loft features a very large, open workspace and kitchen (she loves to cook), but a small bedroom. Catherine’s side of the home was also more minimalist with white walls and just touches of color and quirkiness.

361 West 36th Street, live/work, artists’ loft

361 West 36th Street, live/work, artists’ loft

361 West 36th Street, live/work, artists’ loft

361 West 36th Street, live/work, artists’ loft

By comparison, Roselyn kept a large living space and a very basic kitchen (“I only use the refrigerator and microwave,” she said), but a very large bedroom because she liked to draw and work from her bed. Her space was also made more Shaker-like with lots of wood and built-ins where she stored and displayed her treasures and inspirational pieces. A daylight-infused private interior hallway linked the two lofts.

361 West 36th Street, live/work, artists’ loft

Roselyn Leibowitz loft

361 West 36th Street, live/work, artists’ loft

361 West 36th Street, live/work, artists’ loft

But as these things go, their story came to an end when they listed the home late last summer. One could venture that Catherine, missed her humble beginnings. According to her site, she now lives in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, a place with both a landscape and speed more closely aligned with her Chautauqua County childhood where she lived in a 600-person town in rural New York.

[Listing: 361 West 36th Street #3A3B by Cynthia Lane Fazio and Libby Ryan of Brown Harris Stevens]

[361 West 36th Street at CityRealty]

Photos courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens

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Neighborhoods : Midtown

  • I was amused to read this cobbled together story. But the age-ism and conjecture calls for a correction. If the writer had bothered with a phone call or an email, she could have gotten the facts. The floor which included my studio/home was put on the market by the owner. I had no say in the matter. I was left homeless and had to take an emergency leave of my art school teaching job and leave New York, my home, and the life I had built for myself. It is a cautionary tale about what happens to artists when they trust without legally protecting themselves. The least you could have done is gotten it right. What ever happened to fact-checking?
    Catherine Redmond

  • As personable and generous as your article reports the two “friends” banding together to secure mutual interests in securing live work space in Manhattan in the shadow of the events of 9/11 reports, it masks a sleazier darker reality that this transaction reveals for artists. Private wealth seeking access in securing a foothold in an established artist’s residential coop used the lifetime of commitment of work, teaching and community building of an artist for personal gain. This joining together on a handshake developed an all too common outcome for artists, betrayal. Catherine Redmond in this case was dismissed after the benefit of her participation to the board’s acceptance for the purchase of the space as the market value of such spaces increased. Despite commitments to remunerate Catherine for her “inconvenience” and relocation, all consideration for her and her interests evaporated after she agreed to vacate the premises that she designed at the request of her “partner” so that the marketing of the space could happen more smoothly. Loosing her home, studio and proximity to her established teaching position and livelihood Catherine had little choice but to move all of her possessions to her family home in Virginia. Catherine is an invaluable colleague, a close friend. Her professionalism, perseverance and accomplishments as an artist need to find a new home in the city.
    Your article could have at least mentioned her plight in this regard not as a plea for the kindness of strangers but in acknowledgement of the value that artists across the metropolitan area have given to the value of property in this city. The market cannot be depended upon to to do the right thing. Individuals who value the generous contributions that artists make to the culture of this city have many opportunities such as this one to step up to and remedy.

  • Mary Godley

    @Catherine: I’m genuinely sorry about your predicament, but to lash out at the writer is very unfair. Seems like the purpose of the article was to allow readers admire the space, maybe get a few loft-decorating ideas. It was not to rage against heartless land/overlords or the wiping out of lower social classes from Manhattan. This line: “It is a cautionary tale about what happens to artists when they trust without legally protecting themselves,” is the focus of another piece, maybe an(other) in-depth article somewhere about how wealthy owners exert their will over vulnerable renters. Best of luck in the future, but remember that this writer is just trying to carve out a living, too.

    @Greg Drasler: I remember New York City, as a child in the 1970s, and it was terrifying. Artists made the city was it was back then, a broke-ass, rank, crime-ridden place overrun with garbage, porn and rats. The wealthy have made it what it is today: A gorgeous object of tug-of-war involving the rich and famous the world over — yet inaccessibly overpriced and feudalistic. Them’s the facts. Paint or sculpt something about this and sell it.

  • Greg Drasler

    Oh Mary, Your understanding and perhaps experience of the 1960’s and 70’s in New York is a bit skewed if you are suggesting that artists made the the city a “broke-ass,rank, crime-ridden place overrun with garbage, porn and rats.” That is in fact what was here as artists moved in and began to make studios, living spaces and communities where there had been abandoned property and crime. You really don’t know what you are talking about. I would stick to the decorating ideas.

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