The House that Bernie Built.

I’ve often said that Palm Beach isn’t just any old island. It’s a place where 20 carat diamonds are termed “manageable,” where people spend an emperor’s ransom on beachfront estates and then never set foot on the beach, where, for some inexplicable reason, very few of its citizens wear socks. The island is also civilized to a fault (when somebody honks their horn at me, I’ve been known to get out of my car and discuss the situation with the other driver), and, as a rule, we do not—publicly, at least—talk about the misfortunes of our fellow islanders, no matter what country club that islander may belong to.

Thus, because it just didn’t seem polite, I’d never written about Bernie Madoff, instead leaving this task to intrepid, non-island reporters whose only ostensible sources seemed to be a shopkeeper, “chatty locals,” and a pair of pants. (Mind you, they were $2,000 pants.) But thanks to a real estate brochure given to me for Madoff’s Palm Beach home (above), I don’t have to discuss the man or his deeds. I can simply talk about his home.

Perhaps jaded by the palatial manses that dot the real estate section of the Palm Beach Daily News, what strikes me about the house itself (8,573 square feet, five bedroom, seven bathroom) is that it’s quite ordinary, like any other that one would find on the north end of the island. A large banyan tree shades the driveway, and the foyer opens to a wide cruciform passageway flanked at either side by atriums. A spiral staircase leads up to the master bedroom suite, where the large covered balcony looks onto the driveway (the master suite’s second, smaller balcony overlooks the back of the house).

The bargain-basement asking price: $7.9 million, reduced from the initial $8.49 million listing. (Apparently, Madoff’s little Ponzi scheme removed most of the potential purchasers from the market.)

Alas, despite how much I would loooove to delve into greater detail about a real estate brochure for a house I could never afford, owned by a man I’ve never wanted to write about, I’ll leave it at that. With the man himself safely behind bars, it seems as though the only Madoff we need to fear is the one attached to all of that fake Madoff accoutrement.

And so, I find myself the proud owner of a genuine piece of Madoffphernalia, the real estate brochure for 470 North Lake Way, which I’ve had framed and gift-wrapped in order to give it to the greatest Madoffphiliac of all, Peter Davis, as a belated birthday present.

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