Artist Domingo Zapata loves his Gramercy Park triplex so much that he sometimes doesn't step out of it for weeks at a time. "When I'm in the midst of my creative process, I don't leave the house," says Zapata, enjoying a cigarette in his cozy living room beneath a Patrick McMullan paparazzi shot of Andy Warhol.
From the moment of entry, it's easy to see why.
Zapata's apartment is set inside an elegant 1850 townhouse with an Italianate fašade that resembles the many grand European beauties overlooking Gramercy Park. But once visitors unlock the stately iron gates, they step into a world of whimsy - a blend of Old World glamour and New World creativity.
The cozy library features a Patrick McMullan portrait of Warhol over the fireplace mantel. Photo: NY Post: Brian Zak/Stylist: Brice Gaillard
Zapata's paintings are influenced by the European masters but in the context of today - a blend of modern wit and urban grit. The work is prominently displayed throughout his home, where weekly salon-style dinner parties lure writers like Salman Rushdie and Hollywood stars, artists, philosophers, politicians and musicians, including Johnny Depp, Lindsay Lohan, Ron Burkle and Carlos Slim.
"When I held a fundraiser for Bill de Blasio here in October 2013, he called it 'the best studio apartment ever,' " says Zapata, who moved in last July.
Hardly a "studio" in NYC-apartmentese. At 8,600 square feet, the four-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment features separate dining, entertaining, sleeping and work spaces.
Zapata lives on the first three floors of the townhouse, which is owned by music producer John "Jellybean" Benitez, who got his start, personally and professionally, collaborating with Madonna back in the early 1980s. Two other tenants, with separate entrances, occupy the top two floors.