50 West 10th Street, located in the Gold Coast of Greenwich Village on one of its most coveted blocks, is a rare historical NYC real estate find.
Built between 1863 and 1869 in the Romanesque Revival style, 50 West 10th Street began life as the Grosvenor Private Boarding Stable and was likely used to stable the carriages and horses for a wealthy family living nearby in Washington Square.
Standing 26’ wide, this unique and handsome three-story brick home sits proudly on the beautiful tree-lined block between Fifth and Sixth Avenue amidst brick Federal-style residences and brownstone Victorian homes. It retains many of the original details, including the stable doors, dentil moldings, and segmental-arched windows with corbeled lintels.
Then: A History of Designers and Theatrical Tenants
In 1887, 50 West 10th Street was converted to a residence by James Boorman Johnston (brother of John Taylor Johnston, the first President of the Metropolitan Museum). By 1900, Margaret Armstrong, one of America’s most gifted book designers and one of the earliest recognizable female book artists, was living there.
In the late 1940s, British Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans, fresh off his Broadway success with his “G.I. version” of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and long before he would play Dr. Zaius in The Planet of the Apes, took up residence here.
Evans was later followed by other theatrical luminaries such as playwright Edward Albee and “Mame” and “Hello Dolly” composer and lyricist Jerry Herman.
So the story goes, in May 1965 Edward Albee paid Maurice Evans $120,000 to make 50 West 10th Street his home. Albee had recently taken the theatre-going public by storm with “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” – his first Broadway production. Known for being a bit moody and having a tad too much to drink, Albee was reported to have been his most vibrant while living here – perhaps he was stimulated by the charming effect of living in Greenwich Village.
Only three years later, Albee sold the property to composer and lyricist Jerry Herman for $210,000 – a tidy profit.
Now: A Charming Residence
From a real estate perspective, both Albee in 1965 and Herman in 1968 got great deals! In 2006, 50 West 10th Street sold for a whopping $5,300,000. According to some estimates, the property would likely fetch at least three times that much in today’s market.
Despite measuring 5,470 square feet, 50 West 10th Street purportedly only has one bathroom, however, this didn’t stop its current tenant from wanting to call it home.
Thanks to the Landmarks Commission and the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation, homes like 50 West 10th Street have survived as wonderful examples of what Greenwich Village looked like in the nineteenth century. Once a bohemian enclave attracting writers, artists, and musicians, today Greenwich Village is home to some of NYC’s finest real estate.