Fran went to look separately, and her husband's instant love for the space quickly became hers. "It just had everything we ever wanted," she says, "and in the right places."
When you step off the elevator at the 11th floor, you're in LevyLand, a sprawling world of spectacular views, sleek modernity, and, yes, endless art.
The entry foyer sets the tone, with paintings, sculptures, European-style tables, and marble floors. Turn a bit, and there's a view of a tiny urban garden on the terrace, a touchstone to another kind of beauty.
Step in farther, and you're smack in the Levys' 3,700-square-foot living area: a dining room replete with art, of course; a casual library/den that shares a double-sided fireplace with a living room; four bedrooms; and three-and-a-half baths.
A sign hangs in an ultramodern kitchen that explains, "The only reason I have a kitchen is that it came with the house." Admittedly, the Levys are enjoying the city's abundant restaurants.
The all-on-one level living is a lifestyle improvement. "We definitely don't need steps these days," says Fran, 74, an alumna of knee surgery.
Though the furnishings throughout the Levys' home are a felicitous mix of contemporary, traditional, and a touch of Asian, it is the art - and specifically, their newest passion, art glass - that is center stage.
Leon, 78, the son of eastern European immigrants who grew up in a South Philly rowhouse, always longed for beautiful and unique things.
"I'm drawn to them - I've even been known to buy art off restaurant walls," he says. "And I don't like prints. For me, it has to be original."
Happily, his wife shares his passion - and his taste. They seldom disagree on what to buy or where it will hang, which is everywhere - on a long wall that stretches almost from the entry to its far end, on other walls, in corners, on tables, and on the floor.
The result is a home gallery where visitors can wander through a kaleidoscopic array of paintings, bronzes, Native American art, busts, sculptural pieces - and learn their origins, too. Leon and Fran are avid storytellers.
A piece of Nakashima wood that might have been a tabletop becomes a wall hanging; an amber glass representation of a woman's torso is gasp-worthy in the dining room; and portraits of women are a subtheme in the collection, documented by Leon in a log that includes information about each artist, piece, and date of purchase.
A brilliantly colored glass fish sculpture resides near the hand-painted French Country headboard in the master bedroom, while a somewhat primitive sculpture rests against a living room wall.
One painting in the collection has particular meaning to the couple.
From their living room window, the Levys can see a slice of Rittenhouse Square - a view they love so much they commissioned one of their favorite artists, Philadelphia's Charles Cushing, to paint it. As a surprise, he inserted tiny images of Fran and Leon standing together on one of the paths in the painting that hangs as a focal point in the living room.
Philadelphia references matter to these two. Fran grew up in the city, too, and it is also where they met - in 1960 when Leon stopped at Morville, the former fabled Center City men's store.
Now president of Philadelphia's Leon L. Levy Associates, an insurance and securities company, he was then a struggling insurance entrepreneur who somehow persuaded Fran, assistant to the owner of the store, to arrange his payments on the installment plan. It was a first for Morville, and a testament to her future husband's persuasive powers.
They married in 1962, and initially lived in the city until 1970, when they moved to Cherry Hill. But even then, both remained deeply involved in the life of Philadelphia:
For 32 years, Leon served as president of Mikvah Israel Synagogue, within the former site of the National Museum of American Jewish History - of which he is a founding member. (On his 70th birthday, his family presented him with a portrait created from a photograph of his own bar mitzvah at the synagogue.) He's also been active in the philanthropic Golden Slipper Club and Charities in the city.
Fran serves on the friends board of the Curtis Institute of Music; participates in Art Goes to School, a volunteer art appreciation program; and is on the board of the Doña Gracia chapter of Hadassah in Philadelphia.
It's a full life, with no looking back - well, almost.
They wouldn't mind some of South Jersey's multiplex movie theaters . . . or its supermarkets. Certainly, there are no regrets.
"I've already come to love the energy of the city so much that I feel a little weird when I'm away from it," she says. "Now, I actually miss the sound of sirens and traffic."