Exclusive: Where a Rockefeller Raised His Family

Exclusive: Where a Rockefeller Raised His Family

- in Real Estate
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A shot of the interior of the townhouse, which is 40 feet wide and four stories high.

Credit
Cary Horowitz

David Rockefeller’s historic double-wide mansion on the Upper East Side, where he and his wife, Peggy, raised their six children and created a comfortable family residence with museum-quality artwork mixed in with a homey décor, is being put on the market by his estate.

The price for this townhouse at 146 East 65th Street — a red brick Colonial Revival with limestone details, 40 feet wide and four stories high — will be $32.5 million, according to Hall F. Willkie, the president of Brown Harris Stevens, which is listing the property. Its annual property taxes are $137,680.

Mr. Rockefeller, a banker and philanthropist who was a grandson of the oil magnate John D. Rockefeller, died in March at the age of 101; his wife died 21 years earlier. The estate is also planning to auction off the couple’s personal art collection at Christie’s, with the proceeds benefiting charities.

David Rockefeller in 2002.

Credit
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

A significant portion of their artwork has been housed throughout the sprawling Manhattan home, which the Rockefellers purchased in 1948 and had used as a primary residence after renovations. Their art collection included works by Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso, along with Chinese and European porcelains and 18th-century furniture.

The mansion, built in 1924 and situated on a quiet tree-lined block between Lexington and Third Avenues, became part of the Upper East Side Historic District extension about seven years ago. It has around 9,777 square feet of interior space that includes eight bedrooms, eight full baths and three half baths, in addition to six smaller staff bedrooms. The basement level has nearly 2,500 square feet of additional space that contains a laundry area, storage and two vaults — one for storing wine, another for valuables.

Throughout the home are high ceilings, ornate dentil moldings and paneling, pegged oak floors and numerous oversize windows that bring in an abundance of natural light.

There is also ample outdoor space, totaling nearly 3,000 square feet, that features a south-facing landscaped garden in the rear — with silver birch trees, mature rhododendrons and trimmed moss — along with a small garden in the front and several planting balconies.

The historic double-wide mansion on the Upper East Side where David Rockefeller raised his family is on the market.

Credit
Cary Horowitz

“When you walk in, you can see through the house right into the garden,” Mr. Willkie said. “You don’t even feel like you’re in the city.”

The main entrance opens to a spacious gallery that flows into a large dining room with bright floral wallpaper and display shelves, as well as a sitting room. Each of these rooms faces the rear garden and has a wood-burning fireplace of carved wood and marble surround. There are eight fireplaces in all. This first level also includes the kitchen, butler’s pantry and offices.

A grand spiral staircase with a domed skylight at the top leads to the other floors — and, yes, there is also an elevator that serves all levels.

On the second, or parlor, floor, which has ceilings rising to just over 13 feet and another spacious gallery, is an enormous south-facing living room of knotted paneling, with a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows. It extends to the width of the house. (A baby grand piano looks almost small in this space.) At the north end is a partly paneled library with built-in bookcases and an en-suite guest bedroom; both rooms have fireplaces.

A landscaped garden on the grounds of the property.

Credit
Cary Horowitz

The other remaining bedrooms, some with fireplaces and en-suite baths, are on the top levels, including the master suite on the third floor, and five of the six staff bedrooms on the fourth. At that top level, “there’s a family side and a staff side,” Mr. Willkie said.

Mr. Rockefeller’s son David Rockefeller Jr., who is also a philanthropist, said that he and his siblings loved the house.

“It was our home,” he said in an email. “We walked and rode to school from there. We celebrated Christmas there.”

He said he remembered small concerts being held at the house, including a piano performance by Van Cliburn, and dinner parties with distinguished guests (the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Kofi Annan was among them).

In addition to Mr. Willkie, the listing brokers are Mary K. Rutherfurd, Paula Del Nunzio and Leslie R. Coleman, all of Brown Harris Stevens.

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