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You’re-So-Vain Simon too rude for smart nest

New York, Sept. 29: Carly Simon, made famous by her song You’re So Vain, has been told that she cannot move into one of New York’s smartest apartment blocks after allegedly being “rude and disrespectful” at an interview with residents.

The singer is now locked in a bitter legal row over her rejection by the co-op board of the Dakota Apartments, a majestic building overlooking Central Park.

Interviews by existing residents are compulsory for anyone seeking to move into most of New York’s grandest addresses. But Simon complained that her meeting with the Dakota’s board was more akin to “an inquisition”. The singer has sued for the return of the £62,000 deposit she paid on a one-bedroom flat.

“The board was rude and accusatory and appeared to have made up its mind before,” said her lawyer, Steven Hochberg. It was “very aggressive and impertinent in questioning Ms Simon”, he argued in court papers filed for the case.

But lawyers for the couple selling the £600,000 ($1 million) apartment to the singer argued that she was to blame for the fiasco and the collapse of the sale. “Ms Simon was rude and disrespectful during her personal interview,” wrote Scott Stone, lawyer to the flat’s owners.

Appearing before the co-op board is the most intimidating ritual required of buyers on the New York property market and Mariah Carey, Madonna and Calvin Klein have in the past failed to satisfy their exacting demands. Co-op boards usually expect buyers to be able to pay in cash.

But few interviews can be as unnerving as those conducted by the Dakota board. The neo-gothic building was used as the location for Roman Polanski’s horror film Rosemary’s Baby and in 1980 John Lennon was shot dead on the street outside after walking out of the block where he and his wife, Yoko Ono, had lived for years. But such episodes from its past have not stopped the building from becoming one of New York’s pre-eminent addresses.

Simon, 58, and the board appear to have fallen out partly over her desire to install a second bathroom in the property. But her lawyer suggested that there was another reason for their failure to see eye to eye.

The board “questioned why someone of her stature would be purchasing a one-bedroom apartment”, he said. It then put it to the singer — who once owned a 12-room flat nearby and now lives in Martha’s Vineyard — that she was buying the apartment not for herself but for her children, Hochberg added.

In a city where the ban on pets in some co-op buildings extends to goldfish, the suggestion that Simon wanted to sneak her children into the building could have delivered the coup de grace to her hopes.

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