In case you need another reason to love New York City, this singular gem of a seven-unit apartment building perched on a wild cliff overlooking the Palisades where the Harlem River meets the mighty Hudson just hit the market. Built in 1924 as a co-operative by a super-literary lawyer/developer who also happened to be the first editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review, the Villa Rosa Bonheur at 2395 Palisade Avenue in Riverdale, the Bronx, is one of three; her sister buildings go by Villa Charlotte Brontë and Villa Victoria. Their creator, John J. McKelvey, was looking beyond the bottom line when he built what would be the first apartment buildings in the Bronx. Ms. Rosa is now on the market for a mere $2.595 million. There’s more: Her current owners are the family of the late “Beatlemania” creator Robert Rabinowitz.
1924 cliffside Riverdale castle-cottage has magical river views, a Broadway pedigree and a $2.6M ask, Fri, February 17, 2017
Historic Calvert Vaux-designed co-op that was once a refuge for girls, now asks $1.35M as a cozy duplex, Thu, February 2, 2017
Time hasn’t erased the historic feel of this unusual one-bedroom-plus-sleeping loft co-op, diminutive as it is elegant. It has the look of a renovated townhouse in one of the city’s most creative neighborhoods. At $1.35 million this petite pad may be an expensive refuge, but in its earliest days it was a refuge of a different sort with a history as interesting as its architecture–especially at a time when the ability to offer shelter to those in need is firmly in the spotlight. Landmarked in 2008, the subtly ornate red-brick facade of 307 East 12th Street was designed in 1892 by the firm of Calvert Vaux, who co-designed Central and Prospect Park among other enduring landmarks. Built for the Children’s Aid Society, the building was known as the Elizabeth Home for Girls; the New York Times tells us that it housed “several dozen young women rescued from abusive homes, offering them safe lodging, job training and healthy communal activities.”
Though we can see how the otherwise potential-filled historic–and allegedly haunted–Lefferts-Laidlaw mansion at 136 Clinton Avenue in the Clinton Hill/Navy Yard/Wallabout neighborhood may terrify prospective buyers with an ask of $4.499 million, an 1878 New York Times account describes the persistent and mysterious ring-and-run situation that apparently plagued the home’s then-resident, Edward F. Smith. Neither crafty attempts to discover who was responsible for “doorbells rung, doors rattled” on a nightly basis and a brick hurled through a window, nor police intervention could produce a culprit. The house became a fixture on the map of spiritualists who held seances on the sidewalk. Locals suggested the pesky poltergeist might be either a lawyer who had committed suicide on the premises, or, as Mr. Smith suggested (possibly with some sarcasm attached as it was, after all, Brooklyn), Satan.
Not only does this super-cute brick townhouse promise plenty of space for the whole family without leaving the civilization of New York City, but it conjures up a totally different, laid-back and innocent time and place. This home at 207 Windsor Place mixes Arts and Crafts-style details with an old fashioned American house layout, with a big eat-in kitchen that opens into a formal dining room, a catnap-ready front sun porch, a basement ready for whatever you’d like to make it—and four bedrooms at the end of the day. All of this sits at the Park Slope/Windsor Terrace border two blocks from Prospect Park and a block from subways, shopping, dining, cafes and everything Brooklyn neighborhoods are loved for today.
Such is the state of real estate in New York City that there is no shortage of homes of every size and stripe upon which you could drop $10 million. And though the ask may seem relatively ambitious for a single-story residence, this particular listing at 455 Central Park West doesn’t need to reach far for the adjectives required to command such an outlay (Just for starters: It looks like a fairytale castle). And while the Manhattan Valley location may be a little “far uptown” for some late-to-the party folks, its village-y vibe is getting lots of love of late, and, really, Central Park West is Central Park West.
Between the amazing architecture and fascinating–if somewhat macabre–history as the former New York City Cancer Hospital, 2,360 square feet of space including two enormous circular opposite wings, private courtyards, and a peerless menu of building amenities including a pool, spa and drive-up entry courtyard, very few boxes remain unchecked in this unquestionably unique four-bedroom condominium.
This well-preserved two-and-a-half-story (plus basement), six-bedroom single-family Victorian house at 447 Rugby Road in Ditmas Park has a small-town vibe–from the big, wide front porch that’s just waiting for that porch swing to the very chill upstairs sun porch perfect for catching the last warm autumn rays. But there’s big-city subway access and plenty to do within a few blocks, and a citified price of $1.95 million, a number that wouldn’t have been seen in this lovely and historic neighborhood a few years back.
While we’re used too seeing renovated houses with gorgeous details and top-of-the-line finishes, it’s not as often we see one that’s modern and fresh, but also feels like a well-loved home. The 1902 Victorian at 210 Stratford Road is that rare house. According to the listing (h/t Brownstoner), it was “lovingly restored and renovated by two artists,” which explains the perfect blend of cozy and cool evident on every floor of this two-family, three-story Ditmas Park home on the market for $2.35 million.
On an impossibly lovely landmarked brownstone block near the border between north Park Slope and Prospect Heights, the 1890s townhouse at 212 Saint Johns Place is a testament to the idea that they don’t make them like this anymore. This historic brownstone, on the market for $3.895 million, will definitely appeal to anyone smitten with the idea of living in a beautifully preserved home from the 19th century rather than constructing a modern interior with contemporary flair. Once the home of New York City mayor William J. Gaynor (1910-1913), this two-family neo-Grec townhouse is filled with original architectural details from parquet wood floors, richly-carved mahogany trim and ten-foot parlor floor doors to the exquisite wood-carved cabinet built into the third floor landing.
The 19th century Cobble Hill carriage house featured in the Julia Roberts movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love” has just sold for $6.25 million, according to the Observer. We’re reminded of the boho-fabulous Park Slope townhouse featured in Noah Baumbach’s “The Squid and the Whale,” which changed hands for its ask of $3.45 million back in 2012, so this may be a testament to how much the market has shifted since then–or one could compare indie film cred with Julia Roberts-grade mainstream appeal.
Either way, this charming 1840s former firehouse at 172 Pacific Street on a pretty, shade-dappled Cobble Hill block has cinematic qualities on its own. The home, which had been on the market for nearly a year, is unique even on this block of quaint 19th century houses.
In a world where you can virtually tour real estate listings, it’s nice to know that the good, old-fashioned house tour hasn’t gone out of style. And this Saturday, one of the oldest homes in Queens is opening its doors for a tour of its refurbished interior, exceptional gardens, and historic cemetery.
The Lent-Riker-Smith Homestead in East Elmhurst was built circa 1656 by Abraham Riker, an early settler of New Amsterdam. Its current owner Marion Duckworth Smith still lives in the home, which makes the property the oldest private residence in the borough. She and her late husband Michael Smith began restoring the home in 1980, and since then Smith has offered the occasional tour, giving guests a glimpse into the Riker burial ground, which holds the remains of 132 descendants, the interior living areas, and the picturesque gardens, which include a gazebo and workshop designed to look like a gingerbread house.