Once the home of several prominent figures—including Liza Minnelli—this elegant Second Empire-style townhouse at 115 East 38th Street in Murray Hill is seeking its new owner for $8.85 million. Steeped in history and landmarked in the Murray Hill Historic District, the gorgeous 1865 brownstone facade (which was painted in the mid-twentieth century) has remained remarkably intact, while the interior has received a modern renovation. Spanning across six floors and roughly 6,615 square-feet, the residence boasts five bedrooms, six and a half bathrooms, an elevator, six working fireplaces, a garden, a roof terrace, and views of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings.
The house was developed in 1865 by merchant Timothy Churchill as one of a row of five similar buildings featuring “French Renaissance-inspired mansard roofs and more-stylized Italianate motifs.” The first owner was Selah Reeves Van Duzer, a prominent pharmaceutical wholesaler, and descendant of two of the city’s oldest families.
In 1869, the house was purchased by retired army officer Thomas Swords, and a slew of other notable owners followed, including author Sophie Kerr Underwood (who wrote an article about the residence titled “My House” in a 1924 issue of House Beautiful), jewelry designer and Warhol subject Kenneth J. Lane, and Liza Minnelli, who bought the property in 1977.
The entrance is on the parlor level, which boasts 12-foot ceilings, a study, and a formal living room with a fireplace and a wall of French doors opening onto a balcony.
An open kitchen features on the garden level, with both formal and informal dining areas adjacent. In the back, a family room overlooks the charming garden.
The bedrooms are on floors three through five, with a full-floor master suite on the fourth floor and four additional bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom. The master suite includes two Juliet balconies with garden and city views, a dressing room, and a grandly-scaled master bathroom.
On the sixth floor, a library with a fireplace and wet bar leads out onto the expansive, tiered roof terrace.
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Listing images by Jose H. Mujica; courtesy of Corcoran
Neighborhoods : Murray Hill