Aby Rosen Pays $55 Million for Gilded Age Building Artist Jay Maisel Bought for $102,000 Around 1966

The price is just about what you could expect to shell out for a top flight Jean-Michel Basquiat or Mark Rothko painting.

Art collector and real estate financier Aby Rosen (See What Is Collector Aby Rosen Doing as New York’s Arts Council Chairman?) paid $55 million for the graffiti-covered Gilded Age landmark building at 190 Bowery (steps away from the New Museum) that he bought several months ago.

The property, which is at the intersection of Spring Street and the Bowery—the former site of Germania Bank building—had been owned for decades by photographer Jay Maisel, who bought it around 1966 for a reported $102,000. Maisel, who studied at Cooper Union and Yale and began his career in photography in 1954, was one of the longest holdouts in the ever more rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. He and his family lived on the upper floors while his studio space was on the lower floors. For an in-depth look at the amazing, bohemian, rabbit-warren-of-a-home the building was when Maisel lived there with his wife and daughter (really, you need to see the pictures), check out Wendy Goodman’s New York magazine story from 2008, in which the writer asked, “‘Is this the greatest real estate coup of all time?” Needless to say, brokers and developers had been trying to lay claim to the property for years.

In August this past year, the property mysteriously popped up on the site of Rosen’s company RFR Holdings, even though it was apparently still owned by Maisel. But, one month later, Rosen entered into a contract to purchase the building, according to the Real Deal. Soon after, in an effort to flip it, the property was re-listed for sale on the site of Cushman & Wakefield.




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