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Four-Story Town House in UES – used to have high ceilings Category: News and Politics

In Uncategorized on July 11, 2006 at 3:46 pm
Yesterday morning, at approximately 830 am, a four-story building in the Upper East Side blew up and collapsed. It was a narrow town house on 62nd st. Built in 1882, it was an historic landmark which had served, among other things, as a doctor’s office, a private home, and a meeting place for a precursor of the CIA which was informally organized by FDR. For the past twenty years, it was owned by a local doctor and his parents, the culmination of what he considered to be his American Dream.

It blew up yesterday, a large ball of fire, shaking the Co-Op and the golf club on either side of it, placing a large exclamation point on the end of a bitter divorce proceeding which had raged for almost five years. The building was purchased in 1986 by Dr. Nicholas Bartha, and Dr. Bartha resided with his wife in the building, as well as keeping his medical practice there, until 2001 when his wife filed for divorce and moved to Washington Heights.

You see, Dr. Bartha had an apparent taste for swastika decorations, which some eastern European cultures believe to be a protective symbol (one which Hitler co-opted, bastardized and sullied), and Mrs. Bartha, a native of the Netherlands who was born a Jew during the Nazi occupation, did not respond well to them. When she filed for divorce, she described a relationship which was shut off, and completely lacking in communication, due largely to the doctor’s burying himself in his medical practice. She even accused him of ignoring her while she was treated for breast cancer.

She was awarded $2000 per month in alimoni, along with an initial award of $1.23 million. The doctor got to keep the house, due to the fact that it was purchased by him and his parents, and therefor not marital property. However, he would have been forced to either mortgage or sell the building to pay the award, so he appealed. Dr. Bartha wanted to save the marriage, but not out of love, endearment, or because he thought it was the right thing to do: he just wanted to keep the house. It would appear that he wanted the companionship, even if it was from someone who he didn’t talk to.

Dr. Bartha lost the appeal, to the tune of $4 million dollars. The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the building was in fact marital property, regardless of the form in which the title is held. Dr. Bartha was ordered to auction off 75 nterest in the building, and was evicted.

Yesterday was the culmination of a series of suicide attempts by the doctor. He began by writing a heated e-mail to, among others, Sean Hannity, Brit Hume, George Pataki, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and his ex-wife. “You always wanted me to sell the house. I always told you, I will leave the house only if I am dead You ridiculed me. You should have taken it seriously… When you read this lines your life will change forever. You deserve it. You will be transformed from gold digger to ash and rubbish digger.”

A mechanic from ConEd arrived at 8:20 am, and reported the explosion at 8:45. Dr. Bartha was found in the rubble of the basement, second and third degree burns covering 30f his body. He did not get to die in his home.

Though it may not seem like it, this is a prime example of the New York real estate market: some one finds the apartment of their dreams, the perfect place, and they live there for what will hopefully be the rest of their life. But then, life intervenes, and this person is suddenly face with having to leave. This is just not possible. This person loves their home, and they would die before they had to leave. They would rather see it destoyed than in some one else’s hands, because there’s no way in hell they’re going apartment hunting in this city. This almost sounds like an alternate ending to The Break-Up. As a matter of fact, it might have been a better ending: anything would have been better than that shitty Eternal Sunshine rip-off. Although, I guess they’ve already had enough fires in Chicago: it might have been in bad taste.

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