You may be familiar with the “Pumpkin House,” the extraordinary 1920s townhouse cantilevered across the cliffs at 16 Chittenden Avenue near Manhattan’s highest point in Hudson Heights. The name comes from the home’s Jack-o’-lantern countenance, which bestows motorists along the George Washington Bridge with its anthropomorphic leer. Jack first hit the market last August for $5.25 million, the first time listed since 2011. But still without a buyer, the 17-foot-wide, six-bedroom brick home has a fancy new Sotheby’s listing and a lower ask of $4.25 million.
Built around 1925, the architecturally distinguished home changed hands in 2000 for $1.1 million, when it was purchased by interior designer William Spink. After a thorough round of structural renovations, Spink listed the home for $3.45 million in 2005. It didn’t sell, and he didn’t try again until 2010 when he upped the ask to $3.9 million. The house sold the following year and stayed off the market until last August’s listing.
The Pumpkin House in 1934 (L) and 1938 (R) via NYPL
According to a 2010 Wall Street Journal article about the house, it was built in the 1920s “on a steel foundation sunk into a steep cliff at West 186th Street” and was “commissioned by Cleveland Walcutt, an engineer, on land purchased from the estate of James Gordon Bennett, the publisher of the New York Herald.” Walcutt went into foreclosure on the house in 1927; it has had only four owners until its 2000 sale. As seen in the photos above, it stood alone until the Castle Village development was built around it in the 1930s.
The 3,144-square-foot house is comprised of a main residence on the top two floors and a one-bedroom rental apartment below. Upon entering on the parlor floor, you’ll find the bright living room, which has oversized windows on three sides, coffered ceilings, mahogany-paneled walls, an original marble mantle, and a balcony that provides panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, the George Washington Bridge, the Palisades, and the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Also on this floor is the formal dining room with more coffered ceilings and ornate picture moldings, as well as a cozy, bookshelf-lined library and a tastefully and expensively refurbished shabby-chic kitchen.
Upstairs are two master bedrooms, three more bedrooms, and two full bathrooms.
A roof terrace runs the entire length of the house and offers more incredible views. A two-car attached garage accessible through a secluded secret garden offers private parking.
The separate one-bedroom apartment, which can be fully incorporated into the home for more space, has spectacular views of the Hudson and the neighboring Palisades, its own terrace and an updated kitchen.
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Images courtesy of Sotheby’s