In 2013, Roy Niederhoffer, the president of New York-based R.G. Niederhoffer Capital Management, Inc., was in need of a place to live. He’d begun a long-term construction project to renovate a house in Manhattan, but in the meantime, he and his young family were living in a rental nearby, a situation he says was short-term at best.
“I was like, I need a place to live now,” he says. And so when he saw that all three units of a mansion on Riverside Drive were up for sale simultaneously, he jumped. “It’s a house that I’d admired for decades as one of the greatest houses in New York. To see that it was up for sale was very exciting, and it had come down tremendously in price.” Together, the three units at 40 Riverside Drive cost Niederhoffer about $12.9 million, according to StreetEasy.
Five years later, his original renovation project is finally complete, so Niederhoffer is reluctantly placing the 10,720-square-foot, 32-foot-wide mansion on the market with Cathy Taub of Sotheby’s International Realty and Dexter Guerrieri and Nicole Kats of Vandenberg at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The house is listed for $15.9 million. Niederhoffer will accept either cash or the equivalent in Bitcoin.
“I’m a big believer in Bitcoin,” he says. “I really am so bullish on it, and I want to own more of it.”
Were someone to pay in the cryptocurrency, Niederhoffer says, he would simply cover his share of the closing costs in hard currency. “Whatever the obligations and brokers fees are, I would pay in cash and keep the Bitcoin,” he says.
It’s a uniquely contemporary development in a house that’s steeped in history.
A String of Owners
Clarence True was a 19th century architect for the city’s nouveau riche who moonlighted as a developer in an attempt to match his customers’ affluence. In one such undertaking, True developed a set of houses on Riverside Drive, which at the time, a “Streetscapes” article in the New York Times says, was “seen as the future gold coast of the Upper West Side.”
Forty Riverside Drive, which was part of this venture, was completed around 1897, with five floors, an elevator, and five original bathrooms, according to an article by New York historian Tom Miller.
The property is on the northeast corner of Riverside Drive and overlooks Riverside Park, the Hudson River, and New Jersey. It was originally purchased, Miller writes, for $125,000 by Henry C. Miner, a congressman and serial entrepreneur who owned a chain of theaters, a drugstore, and interest in locomotive companies.
After passing through a series of equally colorful, equally wealthy owners, the building was converted into a preschool in the late 1930s and then chopped up into multiple dwellings. By the time Niederhoffer got the deeds for all to recombine them into a single-family home, parts had been stripped of detail while some of the building’s main spaces remained totally intact.
“The lower floors were totally traditional,” he says. “And then you got to the upper floors, and it felt like a TribeCa loft.”
There are now six floors in total. The ground floor of the house has two entrances. The main one, on Riverside Drive, leads to a prime foyer with marble walls, while the entrance on 76th Street leads to a one-bedroom apartment that has its own kitchen and rear garden.
“It’s the perfect situation for someone with in-laws they like but don’t want see all the time,” Niederhoffer says. “We currently have a grand foyer on the ground floor, but it could easily be converted into a [floor-through] two-bedroom apartment.”
There’s also a cellar, which Niederhoffer converted into a home cinema.
The second floor has a ballroom with 12.5-foot-high ceilings and a fireplace. That floor also has a catering kitchen and a suite with its own marble bathroom and Jacuzzi tub.
Somewhat unusually, Niederhoffer says, they decided to turn the third floor into a master suite, along with a second bedroom (there’s also a full kitchen on this floor), and then convert the fourth floor into a triple-height…