179-year-old Chelsea townhouse featured on ‘Seinfeld’ seeks $8.65M

Posted On Fri, October 11, 2019 By

Posted On Fri, October 11, 2019 By In Chelsea, Cool Listings

Listing images by Yoo Jean Han; courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

Seinfeld fans may recognize the exterior of this townhouse at 408 West 20th Street as the home of character Elaine Benes, though current owners Harry Azorin and Lori Monson, who bought the home for $950,000 in 1995, don’t get many questions about it anymore. “Maybe twice a month, someone would walk by, and they’d say, ‘Is this Elaine’s house?’…I’d say, about 10 years ago, it stopped,” Monson told the Wall Street Journal. Originally built in 1839, the residence is now on the market for $8.65 million. Even though Seinfeld was largely set on the Upper West Side, the house is actually located “on the most desirable street in Chelsea,” as the listing boasts, “perfectly positioned” on historic Cushman Row and overlooking the General Theological Seminary.

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

The home spans over 4,730 square feet and five floors. It retains many of its original period details, including mahogany doors with original hardware, hand-carved moldings, beamed ceilings, and original wide-planked floors. There are eight fireplaces throughout the home, including a pair of twin black and gold Italian marble fireplaces on the parlor floor and a massive stone hearth in the dining room which is open to the kitchen and the garden.

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

It’s currently configured as an owner’s triplex on the lower floors with a three-bedroom duplex on the upper floors. The listing notes it can be “easily restored to a single-family residence large enough to accommodate as many as seven bedrooms.”

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

The lush garden features a fountain and a generous sitting area. “When we saw the place, the garden was not a garden. It was mud and weeds,” Azorin told the Journal. “The first two years, every weekend, if we weren’t at an antique store, we were busy at nurseries, everywhere in New Jersey and upstate New York, doing things to create a garden, which is now, finally, [complete].”

408 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Townhouses, Seinfeld, Elaine Benes

The house is one in a row of seven “red-brick beauties” developed by Don Alonzo Cushman. Features like 10-foot deep front yards, recessed doorways, attic windows encircled with decorative wreaths, and elaborate wrought-iron handrails and railings give the homes plenty of curb appeal.

[Listing: 408 West 20th Street by Mark Thomas Amadei and Jonathan Hettinger of Sotheby’s International Realty]

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Listing images by Yoo Jean Han; courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

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Neighborhoods : Chelsea

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