Of the 3.1 million households in New York City, this little slice of miami in mill basin is one of a kind in every respect
by Matt Scanlon
Even for this editorial crew, which among other wordsmith (that’s “geekish” to the rest of the world) endeavors holds a biweekly contest to see who can define the greatest number of randomly plucked Merriam-Webster entries (winner takes home a hundred bucks)—our most thunderous adjectives can’t do 2458 National Drive justice. Built in 1965 and the former home of Russian heiress Galina Anisimova, this eight-bedroom, nine bathroom, 23,000-square-foot mega-mansion—in its own gated compound in Mill Basin—broke a borough record price of $30 million when it was listed for sale in 2013.
Nestled at the northern tip of a stretch of National Drive that’s site to more than a dozen multimillion-dollar waterfront homes, the residence is described by broker Douglas Elliman as “the most sizable, impressive, and architecturally unique property in the borough.” In point of fact, though, it’s not one structure but a collection of properties. The four-story, 14,000-square-foot main home and its 257 feet of private waterfront offers four water-view master suites, eight full-size baths, two powder rooms, and 5,500 square feet of multiple terraces, but there’s also a 7,800-square-foot glass, cast-iron, and limestone guesthouse. An extraordinary amenity for the borough is the 1,000-square-foot swimming pool and spa, and those seeking further distinction can cast an additional glance at the outdoor pavilion (with seating for 40) and outdoor kitchen, along with a multi-slip marina.
The expansive main floor’s entranceway begins with a double-height foyer, which flows into a living area anchored by a Lalique fireplace (René Lalique and the company that still bears his name is considered one of the premier ornamental designers of all time, and outfitted the Normandie luxury liner, among other notable projects)—flanked by a dining room, an oversized chefs kitchen, and library.
The master suite features dual baths and a likewise oversized dressing room. The second level offers two more bedroom suites, the third floor yet another, accentuated by a separate den, a circular Zen meditation room inscribed with signs of the Zodiac, solarium, and wraparound terraces.
The lower level presents a media/recreation room, a second kitchen, a dry sauna, laundry room, staff room, full bath, cedar closet, and five-car garage.
Additional features include an elevator to all four floors along with gas and wood-burning fireplaces, and environmental enthusiasts will be pleased to take note that Sun Number, LLC, which vets building sites’ potential for solar installations and grades rooftops from 1 to 100 based on various parameters, has given the residence an enviable “Sun Score” of 88.
If the intent is to snatch up this residence for the purposes of a quick flip—or stay and simply watch the investment grow—Zillow has recently reported that Mill Basin is scheduled to enjoy a real estate value increase of 1.4% next year (compared to 1.9% for the city as a whole), but, to be fair, comparing this property to any other in the neighborhood—or the hemisphere for that matter—is a bankrupt exercise. Its owners, among other distinctions, will not only have what looks for all the world like a slice of Miami right here in the land of hipsters and headaches, but a holster of bragging rights that are simply without parallel.
2458 National Drive / $18,000,000
Douglas Elliman Agents: Brett Miles, 212.274.7915
Andrew Azoulay, 212.274.7955, elliman.com
Named for a tide-powered grist mill built by 1600sera Dutch settlers (seen here in approximately 1905), Mill Basin is like no other neighborhood on Brooklyn’s 30-plus-mile waterfront. Alongside Jamaica Bay and with its northern boundary Avenue T (to the east, west, and south by the Mill Basin Inlet), it was essentially a fishing village and modest port until the early 20th century—principal financial resources being the inlet’s abundant clams, oysters, and crabs. Like much of the borough, in its earliest days it was owned privately. A sizeable portion of what was then the “Town of Flatlands” was the property of Jan Martense Schenck, and he lived in a simple two-room structure, built in 1675, on what’s now East 63rd Street. The home was dismantled in 1952, then reassembled in the Brooklyn Museum, where it is on display today.
Industrialization did much for robber baron pocketbooks, and helped fund many of the oversized homes that line Mill Basin avenues, but laid much of the environment to waste—notably the dredging of nearby marshland and the ravages of industrial giants like National Lead and Gulf Oil, which took up residence and production facilities here. They, along with numerous chemical companies that rented docks, made for a waterfront that, by the late 1960s, was considered a cautionary tale of urban blight.
Gradually, over the course of three decades, the worst of the damage was addressed, and today, the area—while still remote—is home to 88,000 residents (until the 1980s principally Italian, but now with vigorous Russian and Israeli constituencies) who are drawn by recent green area expansion and the proximity of Mill Basin Day Camp, one of the best places for city kids to spend summer days.
Just how remote? Iquantny.tumblr.com, which is a geek’s paradise of quantitative analysis of NYC data, has determined that the Mill Basin’s home at 2336 National Drive is 2.2 miles from the nearest subway— the residence furthest from mass transit in the borough—though it sold in 2012 for $860,000.