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.
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So titled for its window pattern that resembles a jack-o’-lantern (especially when lit up at night), this funky home in Hudson Heights has long been a hot topic in the real estate scene thanks to its unusual location extending over a cliff near the highest point in Manhattan, just north of the George Washington Bridge.
Built around 1925, the 17-foot-wide brick house was purchased in 2000 for $1.1 million by interior decorator William Spink. After doing a good deal of structural renovation, he listed it for $3.45 million in 2005, but after failing to sell, tried again in 2010 for $3.9 million. It sold the following year and is now back on the market asking $5.25 million.
At first glance, the price of this 1,245-square-foot well-configured and loft-like co-op in Washington Heights looks like a pretty good deal. The same spot in the parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn where one usually finds sprawling industrial-chic lofts would undoubtedly be several times more than the $635,000 ask. Upon further inspection, it becomes evident that this apartment at 447 Fort Washington Avenue occupies the building’s basement. We’re assuming it’s been excavated enough to be legal, but even the listing prepares us for the fact that “…this lower first floor garden apartment is sublimely peaceful with no neighbors above, below or beside.” It’s certainly a nice-looking lower first floor garden apartment, though.
In addition to the no-neighbors-because-it’s-the-basement thing, keep in mind that the neighborhood is known as a no-longer-secret spot to find relatively reasonable real estate in NYC; the Times called it “affordable Manhattan,” pointing out that the median price for apartments in Washington Heights was less than $500,000 in Q1 of 2015. On the other hand, a similarly-outfitted, though much larger, Cobble Hill duplex condo loft consisting of a ground floor and basement is listed for $2.85 million. So perhaps this lofty lower lair in upper Manhattan deserves further investigation after all.
New York City is filled with an abundance of structural treasures that are hard to miss. From the Brooklyn Bridge to the Chrysler Building to the soon-to-be-opened Freedom Tower, there is no shortage of architectural eye candy vying for your attention.
Which means some pretty spectacular little gems get lost in the shuffle. Like the curious white, Doric-columned structure located off the Henry Hudson Parkway near West 190th Street. Part of Fort Washington Park, this scenic overlook perched over 100 feet above the Henry Hudson River is known as Inspiration Point – a perfect moniker given its breathtaking vistas of the river, George Washington Bridge, and the majestic Palisades in neighboring New Jersey.