15 years ago, a doctor blew up his townhouse on the Upper East Side

On July 10, 2006, a four-story townhouse at 34 East 62nd Street collapsed after an explosion. It turned out that the owner Dr Nicholas Bartha had tampered with the gas line in order to blow up his house and commit suicide in the process to avoid selling the historic house and giving his ex-wife half of the product.

Now, 15 years later, the townhouse that replaced the “Greek Revival Jewel” of 1882 has been sold. It was listed at $ 19.75 million, which is significantly lower than its original asking price of $ 32.5 million in 2017 (!!).

At the time, Bartha had been involved in contentious divorce proceedings for years. In a New York magazine article, which detailed Bartha’s difficult upbringing in Romania in the Iron Guard, her divorce lawyer explained: “This house of Dr. Bartha was the embodiment of the dream. American. he came from his childhood. That was all that interested him. This house was his mistress.

While an arbitrator in their divorce proceedings determined that Bartha should pay his wife $ 1.23 million, they did not list the house – which Bartha had bought with her late mother in 1980 for $ 395,000 – as a matrimonial asset. Bartha decided to appeal this divorce decision, which did not work out as he hoped.

“In early 2005, the State Supreme Court’s Appeal Division ruled that the townhouse was matrimonial property. It was an unusual decision that the New York Law Journal noted on its front page, in part because the appeals court determined the house to be community property. ‘regardless of the form in which the title is held,’ “reported the NY Times.

Firefighters at 34 East 62nd Street, which was destroyed in an explosion on July 10, 2006

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Firefighters at 34 East 62nd Street, which was destroyed in an explosion on July 10, 2006

Andrew Gombert / EPA / Shutterstock

This decision turned Bartha, who allegedly attempted suicide several times before the explosion of July 10, 2006. He had received deportation papers on July 7, 2006, and on July 10, he sent his wife a disjointed email: “When you read these lines, your life will change forever.” You deserve it. You will be transformed from a gold digger to an ash tree. and garbage excavator “before causing the explosion.

The incident was so alarming that the White House issued a statement saying it was unrelated to terrorism.

The vacant lot at 34 East 64th Street, with a chain link fence in front.  Black smoke from the explosion is still visible on nearby buildings.

The vacant lot at 34 East 62nd Street on July 28, 2006, a few weeks after the explosion.

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The vacant lot at 34 East 62nd Street on July 28, 2006, a few weeks after the explosion.

Jen Chung / Gothamist

Four people were injured by debris from the explosion. Bartha, 66, was found in the rubble of the basement, unconscious and covered with burns. He was taken to Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he died a few days later.

The iconic new mansion in 2019

34 East 62nd Street in 2019

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34 East 62nd Street in 2019

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