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Hamptons Life

Dec 28, 2017 1:43 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Sale Of Grey Gardens Closes

Shoppers waiting in line at the Grey Gardens estate sale in November 2017. KYRIL BROMLEY
Dec 29, 2017 12:47 PM

Just as if it was scripted in Hollywood, the closing on the legendary Grey Gardens property in East Hampton took place in December—the day before the release of the film “The Post,” with Tom Hanks playing the estate’s late owner, Ben Bradlee, executive editor of the Washington Post.

Michael Schultz of Corcoran represented the property, which sold for $15,500,000. As 27east.com reported in February, the original listing had an ask of just a smidge under $20 million. (It was lowered to $18 million in April.) We’re told that the purchaser, who has not been identified, intends on “lovingly restoring” the 120-year-old estate.

Perhaps the transaction included tickets to see “The Post,” directed by East Hampton neighbor Steven Spielberg and also starring Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. The movie, which has attracted very strong reviews, details how the newspaper took over the effort to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971 after The New York Times had been legally blocked from finishing the printing of the revelations out the U.S. early involvement in the Vietnam War.

Mr. Bradlee’s widow, Sally Quinn, who met her husband while a reporter at the Washington Post, recently released “Finding Magic,” a memoir that discussed her relationship with Grey Gardens. She said in a statement, “This is a bittersweet moment for me, but I feel grateful that the new owners will cherish the house as much as Ben, [our son] Quinn, and I did, and that their time there will be as magical as ours was.”

The story of Grey Gardens, owned by the reclusive “Big” and “Little” Edie Beale, relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, is Hamptons legend, and has spawned a renowned 1975 documentary, an HBO movie and a Broadway musical. The Beales were a prominent family in the 1920s and 1930s, which included membership in the Maidstone Club. The Beale family purchased the property in 1923, and it was known for its exquisite landscaping. After her divorce from Phelan Beale, Edith fell on hard times. In the early 1950s, she persuaded her former débutante daughter, Edie, to move in with her. As their fortunes continued to decline, their behavior became more careless and eccentric and the vermin-infested house deteriorated. Bradlee and Quinn bought the property at 3 West End Road in 1979 for $220,000 and completely renovated it.

Constructed in 1897, the main residence is a 12-room, 6,000-square-foot shingle-style home that features seven bedrooms with many spacious common areas. The 1.7 acres feature ocean views, a pool, a tennis court, and of course, beautiful gardens befitting the name.

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