It would be difficult to conceive of two more comically disparate locales than Long Island’s Sagaponack and Brooklyn’s Flatbush.
The former is based on the divine conceit that residential perfection can be a reality – as long as it’s sufficiently funded. Bejeweled with oceanfront mansions and backyards that rival Nethermead, the Hamptons enclave usually qualifies as one of the most expensive zip codes in the nation.
Flatbush, on the other hand, is a historically working class bastion that occasionally appears on lists of a less salubrious nature – some of them produced at 1 Police Plaza. It’s not perfection that’s sought here – it’s mitigation of chronic imperfection.
But the distance between privet hedge and police tape isn’t always as vast as one might assume – especially in the heaving real estate market of 2015. The owner of the Sagaponack home in the title picture of this post – a legendary inventor and property savant – has trained an acquisitive gaze on faraway Flatbush.
How do we know? Come along. The construction placard at a 39 E.21st Street development site – a vacant lot slated for an 8-story apartment building – reveals an association with the impeccable sounding 108 Fairfield Pond Lane in Sagaponack.
A Google Earth shuttle to the address leaves us hovering over splendor so sublime that just looking at it on a monitor feels gluttonous. Behold the verdant sprawl in the title picture of this post. It’s a manicured fantasy – the class of compound that once made Robin Leach giggle.
Further Internet sorcery reveals that the property is owned by none other than Judah Klausner, the inventor of PDA and principal at Klausner Technologies.
Not that PDA. That honor likely belongs to some crass Cro-Magnon who could’t be bothered to take Barbarella to the back of the cavern.
No. Mr. Klausner is credited with no less than 25 major patents – including the Personal Digital Assistant and the template for visual voice messaging technology. The precursor to FaceTime.
Klausner’s intellect has earned him hundreds of millions of dollars. But he has supplemented his conventional income by doggedly and successfully suing companies who trespass on his intellectual property – including Google, Apple and Verizon.
An article in The Forward reveals that Klausner’s prescience isn’t limited to technology. Back in 1982, when the Lower East Side was the Lower East Side, Klausner picked up a few buildings for a song, sat on them for decades and eventually built the area’s first luxury high rise in 2003.
Just last month, he sold off the properties for a combined $50 million. Does he see a similar trajectory for Flatbush? We asked him.
Reached by phone, Klausner politely confirmed that he was developing the property off of Caton Avenue but cut the convo short because of an imminent conference call.
Understandably prioritizing business deals over breezy chit chat with a random blogger, Klausner said he might call back to discuss his foray into the neighborhood.
If he does, I will update.