In 'Wall Street' Movie, Real Estate Tells a New Story

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When Oliver Stone's sequel to his 1987 hit "Wall Street" opens in September, viewers will see some familiar characters and an updated plot of complex financial shenanigans -- as well as a dramatically altered map of New York City real estate.

Where, for example, is Gordon "greed is good" Gekko (played again by Michael Douglas) living these days?

When "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" opens, Gekko's 1970s-era Hamptons beach house is gone. (Well, he just gotten out of jail). So he's holed up on the Upper West Side, in the west 60s near Lincoln Center -- in a rented penthouse apartment with, ugh, rented furniture, says the film's production designer Kristi Zea.

As for the young and ambitious trader character, now named Jacob and played by Shia LaBeouf, he splurges bonus money on a 2,500-square converted loft in (where else?) trendy Chelsea, in the West 20s, to be exact.
Recall that in the original, Gekko's protegee Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) buys the ultimate 1980s trophy apartment -- a glass-walled aerie on the now not-so-hipster Upper East Side.

A new character, Gekko's estranged daughter (an alternative blogger type played by Carrey Mulligan) hangs out in what looks like a cozy West Village apartment (but was actually filmed in a landmark 1827 townhouse built by John Jacob Astor).

Other location secrets reveal much of the plot's back story, and New York's real estate evolution.Gekko's Upper West Side digs have double-height windows and great views, but the interiors are pared down and are "slightly hotel-ish," Zea explains, a reflection of his post-prison status and attempt to reinvent himself. He got the apartment through a hedge fund friend who helped him out.

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LaBeouf's Chelsea pad, with an Empire State Building view, has lots of young Wall Street hot-shot stuff -- wine, workout gear and a big flat-screen TV -- but no faux Etruscan pots wired as lamps, as in the original, which came courtesy of his designer girlfriend.

And Jacob drives a motorcycle, which can be parked next to the apartment via a ramp (implied, but not seen in the film), placing him and his bad boy toys squarely in the present age of luxury condo amenities.

Only Ms. Gekko (who is also Jacob's girlfriend) lives simply but stylishly in an apartment designed to resemble a partitioned parlor floor of a typical brownstone, although in real life the storied townhouse on Charlton Street has 12-foot ceilings, fireplaces, and oak-leaf motifs.

This suggests that she might have gotten some family money but that she has distanced herself from her greedy criminal father. In the constellation of New York real estate, her humble home is not a place where "Wall Street money lives," Zea says.

The comparatively spartan digs of the characters in Stone's new movie suggest that even the fantasy version of New York City's Wall Street milieu has experienced some downsizing.


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