Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Brooklyn Loses Sarah Jessica Parker, Gains a Super-Rich Googler

googleplex-brooklyn-exteriorIf you’re offended by a little weekend celebrity real estate porn, don’t read on.

OK. For the rest of you: The New York Times has unmasked the buyer of one of Brooklyn’s most expensive homes.

It’s not, as an astonishing number of people have speculated, actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Instead, it’s an unnamed Google (GOOG) engineer, who bought the place on Prospect Park West last year for $8.45 million.

At the Googler’s request, the Times isn’t naming the buyer, citing “office culture at Google” (more on the Times’s policy on unnamed sources here). But it’s going to be hard to keep this one quiet for long.

For starters, the buyers have already told the paper that “Harken Pretty,” the name of the limited-liability company they used to buy the nine-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot townhouse, is an anagram of their names. They also note that the Googler started working at the company prior to its 2004 IPO.

Assuming that the Googler is based in New York (he and his family are moving from Soho), that’s a reasonably small pool of folks to pick from. Maybe a couple hundred, tops. So this one’s getting out sooner than later.

Meanwhile, Curbed has a full set of pictures of the place, if you’re interested in that sort of thing (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Note that these snapshots were taken prior to planned overhauls. The exterior will have to remain the same, per New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. But while the interior was good enough for its previous owners, actors Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, the new owners say the kitchen “had an inconsistent 1980s renovation.”



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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald