Speaking of fabulous, expensive residences, we confess that we've always been a bit fascinated by Bob Guccione's legendary mansion on the Upper East Side. It's supposed to be the single biggest private residence in Manhattan — some 20,000 square feet in two 24-foot-wide townhouses combined since 1920 — it's got that famous pool, and we always admired that the man who made his fortune out-raunching Hef chose to live not in, say, the San Fernando Valley, but across the street from Rockefellers on East 67th. So when we were offered a chance to tour the place — as part of Penthouse's financial implosion, Gooch lost the house, and it's now for sale — we grabbed roving photog Eliot Shepard and made our first trip in months to the Upper East Side. After the jump, our afternoon in the spacious (and — don't get your hopes up — entirely porn-free) splendor of 14-16 East 67th Street, courtesy of the Corcoran brokers Leighton Candler and Lisa Simonsen.
It is, it turns out, a sort of weird place. And a little disappointing. It's huge, of course. And there's a lot of opulence. Mrs. Gooch had gold-plated bathtub; the enormous ballroom features a fireplace allegedly salvaged from Stanford White's house; the library is lined with George III paneling from an English country house; the master bedroom suite covers something like 2,000 square feet. But there's also an awful lot of '70s banality. Wall-to-wall carpet covers what one imagines were once beautiful hardwood floors; the walls are Sheetrocked and white, with no moldings in sight anywhere; each room has controls for a central hi-fi. The elevator remains from the 1920s renovation, and it's gorgeously detailed. But there's virtually no original detail anywhere else. But, at the same time, so what? None of the negatives really matter; it's all about the space, the location, and that pool. And if you've got the $45 million to make the minimum bid — they're due June 28, so you'll want to start working with a mortgage broker soon — we imagine you'll be planning a gut reno, anyway. Perhaps your architect can find a way to use the few remaining bits of Gooch's ongepotchket but no doubt well-provenanced baubles — in Bob's heyday, the house was full of the stuff — left behind in the basement?