All Quiet on the Eastern Front
It’s been a whole week since we heard a peep out of Upper East Side’s queen of mean, Joan Rivers, and her resident rival, Elizabeth Hazan. For the past month these two brash divas have been locked in a public standoff over Hazan’s failure to pay $200,000 in condo fees. For condo board president Rivers, this just isn’t good enough. Her reaction: allegedly putting glue in Hazan’s locks and destroying her cable box. Hazan is now suing Rivers for $15m for the supposed vandalism. The fiasco came to a head on Wednesday last week when a judge ordered Hazan out of her apartment and the feisty 41 year old was forced to battle her way past police to collect her belongings.
Despite the fact that both women spend a considerable amount of time away from the luxurious pre-war condominium and reside on opposite levels of the building (River’s has the plush penthouse while Hazan slums it the building’s basement) these drama queens have nevertheless managed to entangle themselves in a vicious cat fight. It’s a classic board vs. tenant showdown. With only a handful of luxury condos to oversee, queen bee Rivers doesn’t miss a beat and clearly has no problem putting her foot down when mischievous tenants don’t tow the line. Yet Hazan’s vitriolic outbursts towards Rivers make it hard to believe that she’s completely innocent of any wrong doing in this ongoing saga.
It comes as no surprise that the usually candid comedian takes her role as the building boss very seriously. She’s called the exclusive address home for 25 years and has presided over the board for the past 10. Shortly after acquiring the 5,190 square foot penthouse Rivers invested great time and effort in transforming it into an elaborate Louis XIV-inspired deluxe pad with parquet-de-Versailles flooring and a giant ballroom with gilded columns. Her stylistic touch even extended beyond her personal renovations and into the foyer which she took charge of refurbishing shortly after moving in. Her most extreme contribution to the building came in the 1990’s when she engaged the services of a Jewish voodoo priestess to banish the resident ghost.
But at the ripe old age of 80, perhaps it’s time to move on and leave the domestic politics of 1 East 62nd street behind. Surely at this stage of her life, the last thing the old gal needs is the added pressure of presiding over a condominium board, a role which goes completely unpaid and largely unrecognized. Though Rivers has attempted to sell her penthouse twice in recent years, she is yet to find a buyer willing to pay her asking price of $29.5m. If she ever wants to escape her burdensome board responsibilities, it might be time to reconsider this figure.
But for now, it appears Rivers is focusing all of her attention on ensuring Hazan coughs up her overdue fees and steers clear of her turf. If things don’t turn around soon it might be worth looking into whether her ghost-banishing voodoo priestess also specializes in tenant eviction services.