A Farmhouse in the City
My absolute favorite building in New York is located at 121 Charles St. It looks like it belongs in Hudson. Not surprisingly, it has a rich history.
- •This private home dates back to the early 1800s, but it wasn't always in the West Village. It was built at 71st and York.
- •Some say it was a restaurant in the early 1900s, and then Margaret Wise Brown's studio. She wrote Goodnight Moon.
- •In the 1960s, a couple rented it and fell in love. But the building got purchased, and the new owner wanted them out, offering money to leave. The case went to court. They said they'd only go if they could take the farmhouse with them.
- •So in 1967, they transplanted the house from 71st and York to a vacant lot on Charles, which they had bought for $30,000. "It's saved, it's saved."Here's the article from 1967: http://nyti.ms/1DMPnIe
- •They even transplanted the original cobblestones. And they put up a wide gate, so people could gawk and not feel embarrassed.
- •The new space also came with a garden, complete with Concord grape trees, a sour-cherry tree, and two fig trees. Lots of rose bushes, too.
- •In the 80s, it was purchased by a couple who deeply appreciated its history and charm. "Ms. Bieler had pined for the house since she was a child in the late 1960s, when she spotted it from the back of her parents’ station wagon," the Times reported.Further reading: http://nyti.ms/1KjlP1t
- •The new owners restored and renovated the home, adding 540 square feet (to the original 1,000), but were meticulous about making the changes look seamless.
- •In 2014, the 5,000-square-foot lot popped up on real-estate sites for $20,000,000, to be used for "boutique condominiums," or something equally shitty.
- •But because it's in a designated historic district, no changes can be made without a long, ugly public hearing. The listings have since been removed.
- •I hope this farmhouse sits pretty on Charles Street forever. I feel lucky that I get to walk by it every day.