If anyone can convince a buyer to part with $4.6 million for a four-story townhouse in an historic and happening part of Harlem, it’s a magician. This four-story 18th century townhouse at 278 West 113th Street, on the market for the first time since 1991, has certainly got one in the form of master escape artist Harry Houdini, illusionist, magician and one of the buzziest celebrities of the early 20th century. Houdini–born Erich Weiss, son of a rabbi from Budapest–and his wife, Bess, lived at the Harlem home for 22 years until his death in 1926 (h/t Curbed).
The home is currently set up as a three-family dwelling with an owners’ duplex on the first two floors and two floor-through rental apartments above, but it could easily escape the confines of that configuration to become an architecturally unique and grand 6,000-square-foot single-family home. Though it’s not a showcase of historic detail, ornate wood in the entryway, original wood floors and some tin ceilings remain.
On the garden level, a large eat-in kitchen could use an update, though the basics are present and accounted for. The kitchen opens onto a leafy landscaped patio that looks like a great escape for anyone, Houdini or not. Also on the garden level are a spacious living room with tin ceilings and a bedroom with a full bath.
On the parlor floor is a master bedroom with an en-suite bath and a large dressing area. Tall townhouse windows and gorgeous herringbone floors never go out of style.
The second-floor apartment has one bedroom plus a small office and can be rented for $2800 (according to the listing); the top-floor apartment offers two bedrooms and an office and brings in $3200.
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Images courtesy of Douglas Elliman.
Neighborhoods : Harlem