Janos Aranyi has lived a charmed life. After leaving communist Hungary in his youth, Aranyi, now 83, built a loving family, enjoyed three successful careers— first as a mechanical engineer, next as an early computer expert on Wall Street, and then as an art dealer—and, perhaps most important, managed to move into a rent-controlled, 1,900 square-foot apartment on Gramercy Park North in the 1960s and hold on to it for 50 years. If that weren’t enough, in 2013 he bought the apartment at a heavy discount when his landlord died. The owner’s heirs “could only sell to me because there was no way to kick me out,” Aranyi explained. “It was very, very fortunate.”
After purchasing the apartment for what Streeteasy records as just $630,000, Aranyi, hoping to capitalize on his half-century-long streak of good luck, put the home on the market a year later for $7 million. That’s when his real-estate magic seemed to run out.
First the listing was reduced by $500,000; a year later it was re-listed and the price was cut down by another $150,000, according to Streeteasy; now, two years later, the apartment is back on the market for $5.5 million with the option to combine it with its neighboring, one-bedroom apartment for a total of $6.25 million.
Views of the most exclusive private park in New York; soaring, 17-foot-high ceilings; a 485-square-foot-terrace. What’s not to love?
Aranyi, speaking in heavily accented English, put it delicately: “Look,” he said. “The apartment, with its Tudor appearance, is very special.”
The heavy wooden beams, the two fireplaces, the stone arches, even the 14 massive stained-glass windows, Aranyi explained, were not to everyone’s (or, as yet, anyone’s) taste. “A lot of Americans really like big windows and white walls,” he said. “I have lots of big windows, but they’re stained glass— you have to open them to look out, which means it doesn’t appeal to most people who come look and want to buy.” Instead, Aranyi explained, “you need somebody who really wants to spend his time, his life, in a place like this.”
Aranyi’s life, which he described as filled with parties that enticed the likes of George Soros, Carl Icahn, Jeremy Irons, and Al Pacino, was perfectly suited to the two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath apartment. He entertained lavishly and hosted art exhibitions, fashion shows, weddings, and “even security analyst meetings,” he said, in his double-height living room.
Once he sells the apartment, Aranyi plans to move to somewhere smaller in the neighborhood. Until then, he’s biding his time. “When I saw it, I immediately knew it was the apartment for me,” he said. “And I am waiting for the right person who likes it.”
The apartment is listed by Michael Moran, Matthew George, and Stefani Pace of Douglas Elliman.