New York's multi-billionaire Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, guards his privacy with something close to obsession, refusing to publish details of where he holidays or even where he spends his weekends, and swearing journalists to secrecy if they are granted an audience inside his home on the city's exclusive Upper East Side.
His interior designer, it turns out, is less discreet. Pictures showing Mr Bloomberg's lavish, baronial taste in home furnishings have been out there for all to see on the website of the designer Jamie Drake – or at least they were until a newspaper put two and two together earlier this week and the pictures abruptly came down.
And it is not just the Mayor's Manhattan residence which has been revealed to the world, but also his digs in Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, west London, "the across-the-pond residence of a New York-based businessman", where Mr Drake boasts he "revelled in the "possibilities of eclecticism" and where "iconic, American contemporary art jolts awake the international mix of exquisite furnishings".
Although Mr Bloomberg, who founded the financial news business that bears his name and funded his three mayoral campaigns from his own fortune, has never pretended to be a man of the people, he does eschew designer clothing and will occasionally be spotted on the subway. At home(s), it seems his taste is most elevated, and the pictures – first identified and published by The New York Times – prove the truth of what the Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter once said of his friend, that he wants "to live large, like a 19th-century railroad baron".
Many of his rooms are stuffed with expensive antiques. For his Manhattan townhouse, there is what appears to be a Dutch Old Master painting in the reception room and a commode from the English Regency period.
In London, Mr Drake has combined old and modern American pieces together, with a Benjamin Franklin portrait close by a Jasper Johns flag series and a Warhol Marilyn Monroe.
And it seems that Mr Bloomberg is bent on expansion. He has been buying up apartments in the property next door to his Manhattan townhouse, and combining them with his own home. Reports suggest he is also bidding on a $20m (£13m) Georgian mansion on 35 acres in the Hamptons, the seaside playground for rich New Yorkers.Reuse content