February 22, 2016
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."
What was the average day like for Harper Lee?