Inside Pitt-Jolie's Reported NYC Pad

The Waldorf Towers boast security fit for kings, queens and Hollywood royalty.


Oct. 9, 2007 — -- As the old saying goes, in real estate, it's all about location, location, location.

Throw celebrities or high-profile politicos into the mix and there's another factor that's just as important: security, security, security.

New York City's Waldorf Towers, located next to the tony Waldorf Astoria hotel, boasts both those qualities, making it the home of choice for both heads of state and Hollywood royalty. Its newest reported residents: pop culture king and queen Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

The New York Post reported Tuesday that Pitt and Jolie have moved into an apartment in the Towers, citing anonymous sources. According to the Post, the couple also considered a residence in the newly built Time Warner Center but picked the Waldorf because they got a price break on the apartment.

Representatives for the Waldorf Towers declined to comment on the Post's story, saying in a statement, "We do not comment on our guests in any capacity so as to respect their privacy while staying with us."

Representatives for Pitt and Jolie did not immediately return phone calls or e-mail messages.

But people familiar with the needs of New York City's elite agree that the Towers are a natural choice for the A-list couple. It boasts a sought-after zip code, fortress-like security and centuries of prestige -- past residents of the Towers include President Herbert Hoover and musician Cole Porter. What more could Brad and Angie want?

"There is a whole mindset and methodology in place that is geared to elevating the protection of its guests and residents," said Lou Palumbo, president and director of the Elite Agency, which provides protection for at least one head of state, cabinet level U.S. officials, members of the Chinese government and ABC News operations in New York.

Located just down the street from the United Nations where Jolie serves as goodwill ambassador, the Waldorf plays host to many of the 160 or so heads of state and dignitaries who arrive for the opening of the General Assembly.

"The Waldorf is well versed in the goings on of dignitaries from around the world and their security needs," said Corcoran broker Dennis Colwell, who deals in luxury Manhattan real estate. "Plus, the Waldorf has a separate private entrance and elevators which allows Brad and Angelina to avoid the main hotel lobby and guests. This enhances the privacy and security of the family while allowing Brad to comfortably wear his jeans."

Inside the residential tower, in addition to the doormen and plainclothes house detectives who are the front line for hotel security, many of the floors have separate guard booths and security forces provided by the U.N. or, in some cases, the U.S. government.

"It is the temporary residence and indeed the temporary White House when the president is in New York," Palumbo said. "They are attuned to and mindful of the need to provide security on an elevated level."

Even the parking structure is designed to maximize security.

"The parking structure, what we call 'the Well' is deep inside the building, it's private, private property and supplies an added layer of protection, including for press issues," Palumbo said. "Is it the only facility like this in New York City? Absolutely not, but I believe it is a very secure facility for high-profile people. The mindset is to protect the privacy and well-being of the guest."

Joe Russo, senior vice president and director of special operations for T & M Protection, noted that because of the number of high-level guests and residents, in addition to the many official functions held there, the Waldorf has a steady drum beat of security.

"The fact is that there is the perception of security," he said. "People also know they will be treated as VIPs."

When the president is in town or the U.N. is in session and the concrete jersey barriers go up, armored SUVs line the streets and men in suits with earpieces pace the blocks, that only adds to the overall perception of security. Not only do those being protected feel safe, they also feel important -- something both celebrities and heads of state crave.

"They come, of course, because it's the Waldorf," said Russo, who also headed former President Bill Clinton's security team for the Secret Service. "But after that it's hard to say what comes first -- whether they come because of the security or the security is there because of the guests. They feed on each other."

If indeed they do end up at the Waldorf Towers, Brangelina will be able to feed on just about everything -- status, security, prestige and, if they so desire, candle-lit dinners prepared and delivered by the Towers' world-class chefs.

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