Singer Neil Diamond is suing next-door neighbor Marianne Nestor, the widow of fashion designer Oleg Cassini, over what he says is illegal construction taking place on the roof of her building.
In papers filed in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court, Diamond says he owns the top-floor apartment of the five-story building at 17 E. 63rd St., which gives him exclusive use of the rooftop. The singer of such hits as “Sweet Caroline” and “Song Sung Blue” says he undertook extensive renovations of the apartment and roof “to create a serene environment” for himself.
During the renovations, court papers say, Diamond saw a large copper-clad structure and steel beams being erected on the roof of the five-story building next door at 15 E. 63rd St., owned by Nestor, Cassini’s third wife, and her sister Peggy Nestor.
Diamond’s lawsuit, which alleges the work was done without proper permits, says the structure, apparently the base for an air conditioning unit, illegally adds 13 feet to the height to the building. The suit was filed last week and made public Thursday.
On June 8, 2005, Diamond’s court papers say, an inspector from the Department of Buildings issued a notice of violation because the Nestors’ building had exceeded the zoning district’s maximum height of 75 feet.
So far, the papers say, the violation has not been corrected, despite the city’s imposition of fines, and “defendants commenced additional constructions” on the roof.
Diamond says the value of his apartment has been substantially diminished and the construction has irreparably damaged his enjoyment of his apartment and rooftop. He says money will not compensate for his losses.
“The only way in which the injuries to plaintiff can be cured is by removal of the offending construction,” his lawsuit says.
The Nestors’ telephone numbers are unlisted. Diamond’s lawyer, David Warren, refused to comment.
Cassini, who became Jacqueline Kennedy’s favorite fashion designer, died in March at age 92.