Harper Lee Had a Crazy-Cheap Hideout on the Upper East Side for 50 Years

Posted On Mon, February 22, 2016 By

Posted On Mon, February 22, 2016 By In Celebrities, Upper East Side

Famed author Harper Lee, who passed away at age 89 on Friday in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, was known for being extremely private and somewhat reclusive. So it’s not entirely surprising that for the past 49 years, the “To Kill a Mockingbird” novelist has maintained a secret Upper East Side apartment. What is surprising is that after all that time, her rent was less than $1,000 a month.

Lee moved to New York City in 1949 when working as an airline reservation agent and writing in her spare time. When the building that housed her cold-water flat was demolished in 1967, she moved to apartment 1E across the street at 433 East 82nd Street (between 1st and York Avenues), reports the Post, using it as a kind of hideout when not in Alabama (even the tenant directly below her had no idea she was a resident). Though she hadn’t spent time there since having a stroke in 2007, she renewed her lease for two more years just a couple months ago. Property manager Steven Austern said she was up to date on her rent, and even though he could’ve terminated the lease since she was living elsewhere, he chose not to, stating “She was a personal friend of mine.”

Harper Lee apartment, Harper Lee NYC, 433 East 82nd Street, NYC celebrity real estate
The lobby of 433 East 82nd Street; the table where Lee put her crosswords is on the left. Photo is from an old listing in the building.

Austern also filled the Post in on what day-to-day life in Manhattan was like for Lee. “She was a very Southern and hospitable type of person,” he said, noting that she was friendly with her neighbors. She was a big Mets fan, but never watched games because she didn’t have a television. She did, however, finish the New York Times crossword puzzle every Sunday by 9am (“There was never an empty box”) and then left it on a table in the lobby. Ottomanelli Bros. butcher shop, next door on York Avenue, was a favorite spot. She went there each morning at 7:30am for a cup of black coffee and a raisin scone, said the store’s co-owner. She then went back in the late afternoon for a chicken, a trimmed lamb chop, or the first cut of Delmonico steak.

[Via NYP]

Tags : ,

Neighborhoods : Upper East Side

  • Sydney McMahon

    RIP Miss Lee!! You will always be, a Legend!!

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

  • Philip Johnson’s Rockefeller Guest House, a ‘secret’ modernist gem on Manhattan’s east side

    Philip Johnson’s Rockefeller Guest House, a ‘secret’ modernist gem on Manhattan’s east side

    Just down the street from the now-closed modernist treasure trove and icon that was the Four Seasons in Manhattan’s east ...
  • Bioswales face backlash from city residents for being eyesores

    Bioswales face backlash from city residents for being eyesores

    While you may have never heard of the term “bioswale,” you have probably seen these curbside gardens throughout the city. ...
  • David Bowie’s former Central Park South condo lists for $6.5M with his personal piano included

    David Bowie’s former Central Park South condo lists for $6.5M with his personal piano included

    Sure, a piano is always a nice touch, especially in a classic Central Park South condo like this. But when ...
  • How elevators are adapting to supertall towers; Get Shake Shack delivered

    How elevators are adapting to supertall towers; Get Shake Shack delivered

    17th century Barberini tapestries now on view at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. [Untapped] Baseball commentator and former ...
  • Former Citicorp Center might lose Sasaki fountain as part of plaza redesign

    Former Citicorp Center might lose Sasaki fountain as part of plaza redesign

    Earlier this month, 6sqft revealed renderings of 601 Lexington Avenue‘s (the Midtown East skyscraper formerly known as the Citicorp Center) new ...
  • Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 3/23-3/29

    Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 3/23-3/29

    In a city where hundreds of interesting events occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your ...
  • Iconic ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov buys Harlem condo for $1.4 million

    Iconic ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov buys Harlem condo for $1.4 million

    Mikhail Baryshnikov, who fled the Soviet Union in 1974 and landed in Canada is today considered one of the greatest ballet dancers ...
  • Starting Monday, three Brooklyn R train stations will shut down for six months

    Starting Monday, three Brooklyn R train stations will shut down for six months

    Last January, Governor Cuomo announced a massive undertaking to “modernize and fundamentally transform” the MTA and the subway by adding ...
  • Greta Garbo’s exclusive East Side co-op hits the market for the first time in 64 years, asking $6M

    Greta Garbo’s exclusive East Side co-op hits the market for the first time in 64 years, asking $6M

    For the first time in decades, an apartment in The Campanile, an exclusive co-op building in the Beekman/Sutton Place neighborhood, ...
  • The least affordable U.S. city for public transit isn’t NYC (and more fun facts about the cost of commuting)

    The least affordable U.S. city for public transit isn’t NYC (and more fun facts about the cost of commuting)

    In light of NYC’s recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks ...
  • For $675K this tiny West Village studio is big on rustic loft style

    For $675K this tiny West Village studio is big on rustic loft style

    This completely renovated loft-style studio co-op at 9 Barrow Street may be tiny with little more than 300 square feet of ...
  • Dreamy furnished studio with lots of greenery asks $3,200/month in the East Village

    Dreamy furnished studio with lots of greenery asks $3,200/month in the East Village

    This furnished rental at 527 East 12th Street in the East Village is downright dreamy. The exposed brick has been painted white ...

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.