PAULETTE GODDARD AND NEW YORK

 

photosvienyaphotosvienybPaulette will forever be tied to New York City : her parents were married there and she was born there in 1910.

After a detour in Canada, she returned with her mother in 1923 and moved to Greak Neck, a suburb of New York. Having abandoned her studies, she worked as a seamstress, a Hattie Carnegie hat model, and then as a model for Saks around 1925.
From 1926 she acted on Broadway (No Foolin’ then Rio Rita) and, despite her career in Hollywood, she very often lived in the state of New York, particularly with her third husband, the actor Burgess Meredith with whom she opened an antiques store and an art gallery (on 202nd street).
Paulette loved this city and Manhattan remained her favorite borough : she lived there in several apartments.

Starting in the fifties she lived in a luxurious apartment in the famous Ritz Towers (at 465 Park Avenue and East 57th Street, not far from the apartment belonging to her last husband, the writer, Erich Maria Remarque ). This forty-one floor building is comprised of apartments without kitchens (food is provided by the hotel services). It is the city’s first residential high-rise, designed by Emery Roth and Thomas Hastings and finished in 1926. The building was bought by the famous newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst. He, of course, lived in one of the apartments with his mistress, actress Marion Davies. He resold it in 1938. The building has had many famous residents in addition to Paulette Goddard such as Greta Garbo, Deborah Kerr, and the designer, Valentino. A very reputable French restaurant, Le Pavillon, was located on the ground floor. It was later replaced by a bank and then by the bookstore, Borders.
Paulette rented several suites on different occasions, notably on the 34th floor. She furnished her suite with taste and decorated it with master paintings such as those by Diego Rivera .

photosvienycphotosvienydFollowing his encounter with Paulette in 1951, Erich Maria Remarque rented an apartment located at 320 East 57th Street (in a twenty-seven floor, red-brick building built in 1927). The apartment is evoked in his posthumous novel, Shadows in Paradise : “It was a small apartment…consisting of a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bath….to me it was the height of luxury.  The living room and bedroom had broad windows, from which one could see all the way to Wall Street.” In 1958, Paulette decided to also rent an apartment on the 15th floor of the same building (above the one belonging to her new husband).

Based in Swiss and often traveling the couple used the apartment each time they were in New York. Paulette herself lived there on numerous occasions after Erich’s death in 1970.  She moved her mother, Alta, into the apartment in her old age
The apartment was sold in the mid-nineties and was turned into a duplex with a terrace. It was resold in 2004 for $1,795 million by the Corcoran Group on behalf of Yolanda Kluge Mann, the ex-wife of millionaire John Kluge who had bought the duplex three years earlier. The new owner has chosen to remain anonymous.

photosvienyfphotosvienyeIt is in the sixties and seventies that Paulette Goddard became one of the pillars of the New York party scene. She was fond of advanced-showings, ballets, gallery openings, and charity galas. She also recognized her former colleagues by awarding prizes (for The New York Film Critics) and participating in tribute events such as the one for her ex-husband Charles Chaplin in April 1972 in the Lincoln Center’s Philharmonic Hall.
She was often seen in the arms of Andy Warhol ou Truman Capote, wearing her magnificent jewels and high-fashion ensembles (by the likes of Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Valentino) which were very often in white.

Paulette’s last stay in New York was in 1985. It was the Ritz Towers’ then owner and manager who suggested to Paulette’s entourage that she, being very weak because of health issues, should reside indefinitely in her villa in Switzerland. She passed away there five years later.

Several biographies indicate that the Ritz Towers apartment was part of her estate; however this is improbable being that the Ritz Towers is a hotel. The same can be said regarding Erich’s apartment as it was, undoubtedly, sold before his death.

See some photos of the buildings

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