Joan Didion’s former NYC apartment sells for $5.4M

Joan Didion Upper East Side apartment

The Upper East Side apartment has sold more than a year after hitting the market. The late writer and her husband, John Gregory Dunne, bought the property in 1988.

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An Upper East Side apartment previously owned by writer and journalist Joan Didion has sold more than one year after hitting the market for $5.4 million, the New York Post reported on Monday. The buyer’s identity was not known.

The Lenox Hill property was first listed for $7.5 million in January 2023, a little over a year after Didion passed away at the age of 87.

The property saw a price cut in May 2023 to $6.5 million and then a switch in representation from Sotheby’s International Realty to Douglas Elliman in October 2023 when the price was reduced again to $5.75 million. It went under contract in January 2024. Jennifer Stillman, Erik Ternon, Noble Black and Marion Magnuson of Douglas Elliman represented the sale.

Didion and her late husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne (who passed away in 2003), purchased the four-bedroom home on E. 71st Street in 1988 and used it as their primary residence. Didion was reportedly an active member of the co-op’s board over the course of the couple’s extended tenure in the building.

The prewar unit features a wood-burning fireplace with carved mantel, herringbone floors, oversized windows that display views of St. James’ Church, an oversized den or library, office, eat-in kitchen and a staff room with an en-suite bathroom. The building itself is just about a block away from Central Park and includes amenities like a 24/7-attended lobby, fitness center, bike storage and other private storage.

The 3,600-square-foot unit is accessible from a “semi-private elevator landing,” which leads to a gallery that serves as the home’s main corridor.

Didion, who was born in Sacramento, California, was considered a pioneer of New Journalism, a movement that sought to insert a subjective perspective into journalistic reports, and chronicled American politics and culture throughout her life by way of essays, journalism, novels and screenplays. She won the National Book Award for nonfiction for The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), a memoir written in the wake of Dunne’s death. The couple’s joint archive was acquired last year by the New York Public Library and is expected to be processed and accessible to the public by early 2025.

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