brownstones

Celebrities, Recent Sales, Upper West Side 

26 West 87th Street, Bille Holiday house, Bille Holiday Upper West Side, Upper West Side brownstone

In the years prior to her untimely death in 1959 at the age of 44, jazz legend Billie Holiday lived in this Upper West Side brownstone at 26 West 87th Street, just steps from Central Park. The storied, historic home first hit the market back in October 2015 for $12,950,000, and after a series of reductions, the listing was handed over this past September to Million Dollar Listing’s Ryan Serhant, who dropped the price to $9,999,000 and featured the property on a recent episode of his show. Lady Day’s house, built in 1910 but recently renovated, has now finally found a buyer for $9,475,000.

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Boerum Hill, Celebrities, Cool Listings

Award-winning novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, author of “Everything Is Illuminated” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” has listed his brownstone at 374 Pacific Street in Boerum Hill for $10.4 million, according to Variety. When his first book in ten years, “Here I am,” was published last year, the Times referred to it as “often brilliant, always original but sometimes problematic,” and though we can’t find anything at all problematic about this 1899 Greek Revival residence, the former two accolades certainly apply. It was brilliantly renovated to include a three-story atrium cut through its core and a full rear wall of kitchen windows that overlook the private garden, and it’s full of original touches like a charming mix of mid-century-modern and rustic furniture and plenty of built-in bookshelves (of course). Perhaps all of this, plus the fact that there’s a separate garden floor apartment, is why Foer thinks he can double his profits after paying $5.4 million for it just a few years ago.

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Clinton Hill, Cool Listings

107 Greene Avenue, townhouse, brownstone, clinton hill, historic homes, brooklyn townhouse, brooklyn brownstone, outdoor space

While a bathtub and hand shower in the bedroom may conjure images of East Village walkups with the shower tucked next to the kitchen fridge, or worse, the free-standing bathtub has been appearing in the best of boudoirs for some time now. This $2.995 million two-family brownstone at 107 Greene Avenue in historic Clinton Hill puts the tub at a jaunty angle right smack in the middle of the master bedroom. The rest of the home is the obligatory mix of painstakingly restored original details (wide plank hardwood floors, tin ceilings, marble mantles, original lighting fixtures and medallions, hardwood doors with elegant glass doorknobs) and modern updates (washer/dryer, Viking kitchen, laundry room), and 3,600 square feet of space, plus rental income, may be worth getting lathered up over.

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Carroll Gardens, Cool Listings, Interiors

This unassuming townhouse at 189 Luquer Street starts out with the advantage of being in a particularly cool little section of otherwise postcard-perfect Carroll Gardens, near Gowanus and the Columbia Street Waterfront without being a hike to the subway and steps from some of the best restaurants in the borough (Buttermilk Channel, Frankie’s). While the home may not be palatial at 1,848 square feet, there are four bedrooms and a lovely outdoor space. It’s move-in-ready if not decked out in marble and European kitchen gear, and the current owners clearly know the value of colorful surroundings. Rather than the usual shades of pale, crayola colors wake the bedrooms from boredom, and bright pops of red and riots of pattern appear in unexpected places

Tour the rainbow

Celebrities, Harlem

Langston Hughes House, 20 East 127th Street, Harlem celebrities, Harlem brownstones

Prolific writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance Langston Hughes lived at 20 East 127th Street, an 1896 brownstone, in the 1950s and ’60s, until he passed away in 1967. As Curbed notes, in more recent years, the ivy-covered, landmarked home has been plagued by lawsuits over its use and maintenance. The current owner listed it for $1.2 million in 2009, but it didn’t sell even after the price was lowered in 2010. Today, it’s estimated to be worth more than $3 million, though it’s sitting vacant with its paint chipping.

But local writer Renee Watson has big plans for the house that don’t involve a multi-million-dollar sale that could potentially gut the interior, where Hughes’ typewriter still sits on a shelf. CNN Money reports that she’s launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $150,000 to rent the home, renovate it, and turn it into a cultural center for Harlem-based artists.

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Celebrities, Harlem, Historic Homes, Recent Sales

58 West 120th Street, Maya Angelou, historic Harlem brownstone, NYC celebrity real estate, Mount Morris Park Historic District

The historic Harlem brownstone of author, poet, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou listed for $5.1 million in February, and after a drop to $4.95 million in March, it’s now found a buyer for a reduced price of $4 million, The Real Deal tells us.

Dr. Angelou purchased the four-story home, built in 1909 in the Mount Morris Park Historic District, sight unseen in 2002 to serve as her northeast residence when she wasn’t teaching at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. But she didn’t move in until 2004 (vandals had turned it into a “dilapidated shell”), when East Harlem-based architect Marc Anderson had completed a gut renovation that added contemporary amenities such as an elevator, two skylights, and a basement entertainment area, while retaining historic details like the original oak-front door, wainscoting, carved banister, and decorative fireplaces.

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Cool Listings, Interiors, Prospect Heights

323 sterling place, prospect heights, living room

William H. Reynolds may not be a recognizable name in New York City history today, but back in his day he was known as an influential real estate developer, politician, and entrepreneur who developed much of Prospect Heights. He is responsible for this lovely townhouse at 323 Sterling Place, located right off Grand Army Plaza. Over the years much of the interior has been preserved, so the home feels like a time machine taking you back to the days Reynolds was building up the neighborhood.

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Bed Stuy, Celebrities, Cool Listings, Historic Homes

407 Stuyvesant Avenue, Bedford Stuyvestant, Bed-Stuy, Stuyvesant Heights, Historic District, Historic Homes, Townhouse, Brownstone, Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Townhouse for Sale

Besides being a newly-hot neighborhood, Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant holds one of the city’s finest collections of historic brownstones. Though many beautiful homes didn’t survive the neglect of the late 20th century, many that did have been remarkably preserved or painstakingly restored to their original splendor. One of the highest concentrations of those impressive townhouses can be found in the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District in the south-central part of the neighborhood.

It’s here that you’ll find this landmarked four-story home at 407 Stuyvesant Avenue, just arrived on the market for $2.875 million. According to the listing, baseball icon and civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson lived here, and the brokers tell 6sqft that this was his first residence in Brooklyn. They add that when the current owners moved in, they found a treasure trove of memorabilia. So let’s just say this 20-foot-wide Romanesque Revival-style brownstone hits it out of the park when it comes to intact historic detail and unspoiled 19th century architecture.

Explore this central Brooklyn treasure

Cool Listings, Historic Homes, Interiors, Park Slope

178 8th Avenue, Park Slope, Cool Listings, Townhouse, Brownstone, Brooklyn townhouse for sale, historic homes, interiors

It’s pretty rare to come across an historic home that manages to be “sophisticated and elegant” with “prolific original architectural details” and also be a block from Prospect Park. But this amazing Park Slope townhouse, a restored Romanesque brownstone, “perfectly integrates historic detailing with a modern sensibility” and boasts a professional-grade gym in the basement and a private landscaped rose garden.

The 6,000 square feet of perfection at 178 Eighth Avenue, which probably already has plenty of offers over its $8 million ask, is luxurious in the best possible way, from gorgeous chandeliers to wall treatments that have plenty of flair but never veer into the whimsical or look “decorated.” There’s not an ostentatious frill or questionable architectural choice in sight; no Hermès leather walls. No spotlit purse-cochere. It’s almost too understated in places, but not even close to austere.

Take a look at the house and fail to drool.

Bed Stuy, Cool Listings, Historic Homes

271 Stuyvesant Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bed-Stuy, Stuyvesant Heights, Townhouse, Brownstone, Limestone, Historic Homes, Cool Listings, Brooklyn townhouse for sale, Brenda Kenneally

There’s so much to love about this 4,100-square-foot, four-story limestone townhouse at 271 Stuyvesant Avenue we hardly know where to start. For lovers of historic homes, this 1890s townhouse has a bounty of intact original details on every floor, from fireplaces to inlaid parquet floors to moldings and wainscoting. It’s in a great corner spot in the prized Stuyvesant Heights historic district, the Bed-Stuy neighborhood known for its rows of architecturally notable brownstones and limestones. There’s outdoor space and a deck; use the garden-level apartment for extra income (or live in the lower unit, with the yard and finished cellar).

But perhaps the most rare blessing of this property is that proceeds from the sale of the $2.795 million home will “enable the launch of a non-profit creative residency for marginalized youth,” founded by the current owner, renowned photojournalist and Guggenheim Fellow Brenda Kenneally.

Tour this amazing historic townhouse

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