With an award-winning film career that spans five decades, Joe Pesci has certainly exhibited some impressive professional staying power. In 1980 there was “Raging Bull,” which earned him an Oscar nomination, and in 1990 it was “Goodfellas,” for which he won the Oscar. Along the way there was “Home Alone,” “My Cousin Vinny,” the “Lethal Weapon” franchise, and most recently, in 2019, “The Irishman,” which earned him another Oscar nomination.
In 1994, the year before “Casino” was released, the New Jersey born and bred movie star put down some waterfront roots in the seaside community of Lavalette, just over the Thomas A. Mathis Bridge from Toms River and a two-plus-hour drive south of Midtown Manhattan. He spent $850,000 to acquire the spacious and contemporary bayfront home that he filled with memorabilia from his career, along with other idiosyncratic ephemera such as a vintage barber chair in the foyer (his first job was as a barber), a “Lethal Weapon” pinball machine in the family room, and — Surprise! — a gilded carousel horse set into a windowed bay.
A quarter of a century later, ready for a change and, no doubt, eager to cash out, Pesci put the house up for sale in late 2019 with a sky-high price of $6.5 million, more than 7.5-times what he paid. Seems the beloved actor’s staying power also extends to his real estate patience because he stood stubbornly firm to his price, which did not drop by a single dollar in two years, and then drove a hard bargain when a buyer did finally step up to the plate; the house has finally been sold for its full asking price. The $6.5 million sale price makes it, according to TopTenRealEstateDeals.com, the highest-price sale in the area.
Sitting right on the bay, just a short hop to the ocean, the residence was built in 1990 in a style that adheres to a funky-punky and unapologetically flashy, vaguely art deco-meets-post-modern suburban style that was popular in the 1980s. (Tony and Carmela Soprano would have loved it!) The two-story house, which has an elevator along with a tightly curled floating staircase, sits on a double lot of almost one-third an acre with eight bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms in about 7,200 square feet.
The exterior is an asymmetrical wedding cake of a house painted buttercream-white with numerous curved walls of glass, some of it mirrored for privacy as well as to thwart the sometimes piercing glints of sun that shoot off the water. Topping it off, a barrel-vaulted roof soars over a lofted second-floor lounge as well as a part of the living room below, where, in a manner Liberace would certainly approve, a pair of baby grand pianos are nestled yin-and-yang-like into one another’s curves, one black and one white.
Interior finishes throughout the sprawling home are like a love letter to the era in which the house was built: open-plan living spaces with a mix of white ceramic tile and wall-to-wall carpeting in an unpractical buff color; bull-nosed mirror-finish black granite countertops in the huge kitchen, and, in the dining room, over a round table for twelve that’s equipped with a lazy Susan, an enormous brass light fixture that might just as well be found hanging in the ballroom of a Hilton Hotel. Listings describe the master bedroom as “spectacular” with “a private balcony, a luxury bathroom, and a private office,” while a party room on the main floor includes a second kitchen.
A waist-high white wrought-iron fence with an electronic sliding driveway gate, a couple of towering specimen trees, some rocks, and a front door painted the same bright turquoise as the multi-tiered fountain next to it are about all that liven up the parking-lot sized motor court at the front of the house, and there’s nary a plant or even a place to sit on the vast decking that surrounds the heated swimming pool and spa out back. Beyond the pool is perhaps the bulkheaded property’s most coveted feature, a private dock with deep-water dockage, which means the new owners can park their big ol’ boat right in their own backyard.
Michael Puccio of Re/Max both buyer and seller in the transaction.