Madonna—the complete story
We’ve all read the big news that at long last Madonna (Louise Ciccone) has put her fabulous Central Park West apartment on the market, not exactly priced to sell quickly at $23.5 million. I wondered how long it would take her to sell….she hasn’t lived there in a couple years since she offended and alienated everybody in the exclusive building with her constant redecorating, renovating as well as loud music and fled to a huge mansion on E. 81st Street near the Lexington Avenue subway.
Her CPW abode was pieced together from sections of apartments on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors in Harperly Hall at 1 West 64th Street. Harperly Hall was built around World War I in what is referred to as “arts & crafts style”…on a sunny day if you peer carefully you can see the colorful artsy trim around the top of the building. Other neighbors in the building include Mikhail Baryshnikov, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, Ed Asner, Carol Kane and a few more.
Madonna moved in after being rejected from a dozen other fabulous co-ops on the Upper East and Westside. In fancy co-ops, one negative vote from a board member can keep you out of a desired property. Madonna was rejected from buildings such as the San Remo, the Eldorado, the Majestic, 101 Central Park West, 989 Fifth Avenue, 1010 Fifth Avenue and others. Finally her friend, the writer Gail Gregg (Mrs. Sulzberger whose husband runs the New York Times) took pity on her. Gail was on the board at Harperly Hall and used her influence with board members to assure Ms. M got into the building in a basic 2 bedroom apt. on the fifth floor. But as soon as the ink dried on the deal, Madonna was already wheeling and dealing and buying out other people in the fancy building.
It wasn’t long till Madonna began buying every other apartment on the fifth and sixth floors over the years as well as a few more on 4 and 7. She was knocking down walls and adding staircases and constantly renovating which made her a pariah in the building and during most of these noisy and dusty renovations, she wasn’t even living on the premises! She was in London or Los Angeles! She eventually had two entire floors and pieces of others. At one point she attempted to buy more apartments on the 7th floor and the building began threatening legal action. After the legal threats were settled, she fled the building for E. 81st Street. She still has homes in the Hamptons, Michigan, Malibu, Miami, London, outside of London and a few other places. Not bad for a girl from Detroit who moved to New York with a few hundred dollars and slept on sofas in the East Village!
Madonna moved to New York from her native Michigan in the early 80s to study dance but quickly abandoned that idea for a career in pop music. She was a bit of a “mythic” figure in those days…a girl who wore crosses and created her own style. A girl who knew exactly what she wanted…fame & fortune in the pop music business and single-mindedly made up her mind to get it, any way possible. It’s been more than whispered for years that she is not a good singer…she’s a product of the computerized music industry, echo chambers, backup singers, gimmicky dance numbers and scenery. She knew the value of the new MTV video business and her career “hit” just as music videos were coming into their own.
People in the industry say she has a very ordinary voice but has other oral skills supposedly as well as a good business mind, discipline, determination and almost no scruples. She used flirtation, sexual favors and some say even thievery to get her way. Stories are rampant from those days that Madonna would target guys in the music business and go home with them. After getting high and having sex, it’s said she would wait for them to fall asleep and then she would rifle thru their apartments looking for anything she could use... she was famous for helping herself to names and phone numbers, money, valuables and anything else that wasn’t nailed down. Some say she even took bits and pieces of songs that were in the process of being written and passed them off as her own compositions in years to follow.
I don’t know her, but I was a “club kid” in the early 80’s for awhile and Madonna and I have been “buzzing” around in the same orbit since those wild days. When I was working at Studio 54, she was up in the dj booth supposedly “sexually persuading” the DJ to play her latest demo records. She also was a fixture at other clubs such as Xenon, Limelight and the former Danceteria, a club located on W. 20th Street near Sixth Avenue in the old Cammeyer Department Store building which is now luxury condos across the street from the former Limelight, now a retail center. Madonna was a fixture in EVERY club in New York in those days…all the former “club kids” of which I was one, remember her….some more fondly than others.And now she’s “first lady” of the pop music industry...all hail the "queen" from Detroit!