Just two weeks ago, American Express announced it would be renting out Grey Gardens, the house that belonged to relatives of Jackie Kennedy and inspired a documentary, an HBO movie, and a Broadway musical.
But according to Page Six, village officials have put the kibosh on the credit card company's plans, explaining "it is a residence and can not be used for commercial purposes." Officials reportedly sent American Express a cease-and-desist letter on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for AmEx had previously stated that the company "rented the property to be used for Amex Card Member events throughout the summer."
The 1897 home, which was purchased by Kennedy Onassis's aunt and cousin, Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith Beale, in the 1920s, went on the market for the first time in 40 years in February at $19.995 million. In April the asking price was chopped by $2 million. The listing for the seven-bedroom property at 3 West End Road in East Hampton calls this "a rare opportunity to own an iconic property in one of the most coveted locations in the Hamptons."
When reached by phone in late June, the home's owner, Sally Quinn, told T&C that American Express approached her real estate agent to rent the property through Labor Day. She said that while she has "no idea" what the credit card company's plans are, she knows "nobody is going to be living there." (The house has full-time security though, Quinn pointed out.)
"It's a perfect situation for me," she said. "It has no worries written all over it."
Quinn has previously spoken about her decision to sell the house she shared with her late husband, Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee, for 35 years.
"I just don't want to go back there anymore," she said last night. "I went there last summer and it was just not a happy time.
But the Washington power couple had many happy years in the house, which they bought from Little Edie Beale, the younger of the two eccentric Bouvier Beales featured in a 1975 documentary that showed them living in squalor with the house showing signs of collapsing around them. HBO produced an Emmy-award winning movie about the story in 2009, and the Broadway musical followed.
Big Edie died in 1977, and Little Edie sold the house in 1979 to Bradlee and Quinn. Michael Schultz, who has the listing, told the paper that the Washington power couple were close friends of John and Jackie Kennedy's. They restored the house and spent most Augusts there until Bradlee's death in 2014.
"It was just too sad" to be back there, says the 75-year-old Quinn. "Ben wasn't there and it wasn't this magical place that it had been for us all these years."
The 1.7-acre parcel is about 100 yards from of Georgica Beach, and some of the rooms have views of the Atlantic Ocean. The three-story, shingle-style main house includes seven bedroom, six-and-a-half bathrooms, and the property also includes a Har-Tru tennis court, expansive gardens, and a heated gunite pool.
In 2015 it was offered as a yearly rental (with August excluded) for $175,000.
Quinn told the Journal the she plans to include many of her Grey Gardens memories in an upcoming memoir, Finding Magic, and that while she hopes whoever buys the house will keep it intact, that won't be a condition of the sale.
"Whatever happens happens," she said. "Whoever buys it, it's their house."
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