The magician opts for whimsy
Since 1997, magician David Copperfield has owned the city’s most unique penthouse; a spaceship-like assemblage of glass levels that sit on top of West 57th Street condo The Galleria. The penthouse was originally built for eccentric General Motors heir Stewart Mott, who never actually moved into the pad. Copperfield, who flaunts an estimated worth of $800 million, has over the past two decades filled the 16,000-square-foot home with equally unique objects. The Wall Street Journal took a visit to the apartment, and here are some of the things that they found:
- A 100-year-old "surprise chair" with a trap bottom
- An entire floor full of antique arcade games, like "Jumbo the Fortune Teller"
- A strength-tester game that takes the form of a cast-iron statue of boxer Jack Johnson
- Coins that date from the era each arcade was released in a jar next to the games
- Dozens of early 20th-century artists mannequins, including one hanging from a chandelier in the living room. Copperfield says, "Instead of having paintings, I have what the painters used to paint."
- A collection of "hazing devices" used by fraternal organizations around the turn of the century
- An "exploding table"
- Stairs that turn into a slide
- Water guns that shoot backward into the trigger-puller’s face
- Stuffed and mounted "fur-bearing trout"
- Oil paintings of dogs dressed as humans
- A carved wooden horse that emerges from foliage near Copperfield’s (leaky) indoor pool
Copperfield has homes in Las Vegas and the Bahamas as well (actually, he owns 11 islands in the Bahamas which, the 42 weeks of the year he doesn’t spend there, doubles as a resort with rates starting at $39,000 per night with a four-night minimum.) And yes, they’re full of some spectacular oddities too, including:
- a nightclub
- a giant hippo head from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that hangs in a living area
- televisions playing loops of old Coney Island scenes that stand in for paintings
- a 1960s Good Humor truck that can still be used to serve ice cream
- a billiard table that once belonged to Harry Houdini
It’s good to be the king (of magic.)