It is well known that Eloise lived in The Plaza. But the book was published in 1955, well before Manhattan real estate skyrocketed. So what would her apartment be worth today?
In fact, many children’s books have been set in New York City—think “Harriet the Spy” or “Stuart Little.” In this day and age of record-setting prices, how much would those fictional characters have to pay to live in their homes today? Who would have seen the most appreciation, Eloise or Lyle Crocodile?
Much detective work (à la Harriet) reveals the residences of a boy-mouse and a anthropomorphized girl dog span various neighborhoods including the Upper East Side, Gramercy Park, and Park Slope. What follows is a survey of six iconic picture books set in New York City and the current valuations of their fictional homes.
Eloise – The Plaza
Eloise lived on the top floor of The Plaza. The only indication of which apartment she lived in is from one illustration.
The view from her window shows the top of a building that looks very similar to the Sherry Netherland’s distinctive minaret. That would mean Eloise’s apartment had an east view over Fifth Avenue.
The are currently 35 apartments for sale in The Plaza with prices ranging from $1,350,00 to $68,950,000. Despite its top floor location, this $68 million apartment is definitely not Eloise’s because if she had access to that insanely amazing penthouse terrace overlooking Central Park, she would have gotten up to much more dangerous shenanigans.
The balcony terrace of a Plaza penthouse, now selling for $68.95M. The apartment is currently owned by designer Tommy Hilfiger
Since Eloise had nannies, tutors and obviously a huge staff, we will assume her unit would have to be large to accommodate everyone. Therefore, we guess it would be comparable to one of the 6+ bedroom units which start at $20,900,000.
Stuart Little – Gramercy Park
Although E.B. White, the author of “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little,” never lived on the exclusive keyed Gramercy Park, he clearly loved it. He and a friend once jumped the park fence and he wrote a poem about it called “Gramercy Park,” which was published by his employer, The New Yorker, in the 1920s.
In 1945, E.B. White set his story about a human boy born as a tiny, gray mouse who lived in a stately townhouse on Gramercy Park.
The only clues the text gives about where the house are White’s lines, “The home of the Little family was a pleasant place near a park in New York City. In the mornings, the sun streamed in through the east windows, and all the Littles were up early as a general rule.”
The real clues to the home’s location is from the Garth Williams’ illustrations.
Arlene Harrison, the Gramercy Park Block Association President, a.k.a the “Mayor of Gramercy Park,” and board member Sean Thomas Brady agree the Littles’ house must be 4 Gramercy Park West, a Greek Revival townhouse.
Mr. Brady expanded, “The building at the end of the street is clearly inspired by 60 Gramercy Park North. If you eliminate the stairs down from the porch (maybe because it would make the building seem too unapproachable for a mouse), then the building does look a bit like 4. The one clear element of artistic license are the shadows. If we are looking north they should be on the far side of the objects, because the sun would be behind us, but the artist switched it by about 90 degrees.”
Not only did a small boy-mouse live at 4 Gramercy Park West but so did James Harper, the former mayor of New York City and founder of the renowned publisher Harper & Son (now subsumed into HarperCollins). Incidentally, Harper & Son published “Stuart Little.”
Many claim the Littles lived at 22 Gramercy Park South but there is no evidence of this in the actual text and it does not match the illustrations. But, currently, half of 22 Gramercy Park South is currently for sale and asking price is $16,250,000.
Today, 4 Gramercy Park West is split into six units—as with most townhomes on the park, which are no longer single family homes. If the gorgeous, five-story brick mansion was still a single-family home (and assuming it was in the pristine condition as 22 Gramercy Park South), it would most likely be worth more than twice 22 Gramercy Park South’s asking price.
Michael Graves, the Douglas Elliman listing broker for 22 Gramercy Park South said, “If it was converted into a singe family, it would be worth approximately $35 million in today’s market, as there is less than a handful of homes on Gramercy that can be single family.”
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