“Dr. Boom’s” storied NYC townhouse sells with $20M ask


A fancy Upper East Side townhouse built on the ashes of a former property that went up in smoke after a suicidal doctor blew himself up there has entered contract

The home, at 34 E. 62nd St., was last asking $19.75 million — down from its original $32.5 million asking price in 2017.

The contract was first revealed in the Olshan Report. 

The posh address has quite the history, and is reportedly the topic of a new book that the legendary writer Gay Talese is working on. 

In 1926, a wealthy spy named Vincent Astor lived in the townhouse and founded a spy club there known as “The Room,” where he’d gather with pals like Kermit Roosevelt and Nelson Doubleday. 

Vincent’s father, John Jacob Astor, built the St. Regis Hotel, which became spy central during World War II, before he died on the Titanic.

But there was more recent tragedy. In 2006, a doctor named Nicholas Bartha took his own life there after reportedly tampering with the gas line and fueling an explosion — with him inside — that took down the four-story property.

The new home, built on the ashes of the old, is 9,200 square feet.
Douglas Elliman
A bedroom inside 34 East 64th St.
A stuffed bear sits vigil over a double bedded kid’s room.
Douglas Elliman
A dining area inside 34 East 64th St.
The black-and-white dining and kitchen area inside the townhouse.
Douglas Elliman

Bartha, who was dubbed “Dr. Boom” by The Post, did it as revenge to prevent paying his ex-wife a $4 million divorce settlement, according to reports.

Bartha bought the townhouse with his mother for $395,000 in 1980, and remained there until 2006. After the explosion, it sold as a vacant lot in 2007 for $8.35 million.

The buyer was Janna Bullock, a Soviet-born socialite who morphed from Brighton Beach babysitter to art-collecting real estate mogul after marrying her now ex-husband, Alexey Kuznetsov, a former deputy finance minister of the Moscow region.

A bedroom inside 34 East 64th St.
One of the home’s five bedrooms.
Douglas Elliman

At one point, their real estate empire stretched from Russia to France, England, New York City and the Hamptons. Bullock sold the townhouse for $11.95 million in 2015. (Two years earlier, in 2013, Kuznetsov was arrested in St. Tropez, at Russia’s request, and served four years in a French jail fighting extradition until he was released on appeal. Russia also charged Bullock with fraud for allegedly embezzling $200 million and sentenced her in absentia to 11 years in jail — she maintains her innocence.) 

A dining area inside the townhouse.
An artsy dining room inside 34 E. 62nd St.
Douglas Elliman
The deck area of 34 East 64th St.
The townhouse has ample views of the Upper East Side.
Douglas Elliman

A new home built on the 20-foot-wide property, a 9,200-square-foot, steel-and-concrete behemoth, comes with a French limestone facade and a slate mansard roof. Inside, there are five bedrooms, 6½ bathrooms — and a lot of raw space for the new owners to create their own reality across five floors plus a basement.

The home was designed by architect Henry Jessup, built by Steve Mark, and approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

An interior of 34 East 64th St.
The 20-foot-wide home is staged as a “finished townhouse.”
Douglas Elliman

It is currently set up as a raw space but “staged to read as a finished townhouse so people could be emotionally attached and see what it would look like,” said listing broker Roger Erickson of Douglas Elliman. “Everyone wants to do their own thing, but this gives them an idea of what can be done.”

The buyer, we hear, is an American family relocating to the city.



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