[New York Observer] Weathermen's Townhouse Explodes Onto Market For $10.9M

The Weathermen may not have changed society, but they certainly radicalized 18 West 11th Street. In 1970, the elegant Greenwich Village townhouse was destroyed during the radical group’s botched bomb-making attempt in the house’s basement.

Rising in the place of the Greek Revival townhouse is a somewhat oddball structure that subtly reference the home’s violent history, built in 1978 by architect Hugh Hardy and Steuben Glass executive Francis Mason. It has belonged to the Langworthy family—who famously kept a Paddington bear with a frequently-changing wardrobe in the front window (he’s now wearing a Corcoran t-shirt)—since its construction. Now listed for $10.9 million with Corcoran brokers Sara Gelbard and Paul Kolbusz, the home is certainly a “one-of-a-kind home” as the listing, which was also spotted by Curbed, boasts.

It was here that trust fund revolutionary Cathy Wilkerson grew up. But rather than turn her back on her privileged background, she decided to use it to her advantage, asking her parents if she could use the place while they vacationed in St. Kitts. They probably expected to come back to find the carpet a little worse for the wear, rather than returning to find no house at all.

The radical group was building nail-and-dynamite pipe bombs that were to be used to destroy property, including the Columbia library, when one accidentally detonated, instantly killing the three people in the basement.

Wilkerson and her friend Kathy Boudin, who were upstairs at the time, managed to escape, and as described in the wonderfully detailed story published in The Times, came running out of the house covered in soot, mostly naked, their clothes having been torn off in the blast. After showering at a neighbors’ house, they fled, and did not resurface until years later.

So what’s the new place like? It bears little resemblance to the three other Greek Revival townhouse that Henry Brevoort Jr. built for his children in the mid-1800s, but it’s certainly more interesting. Designed around an open central staircase, the home also has an elevator, dumbwaiter, three bedrooms and a private guest suite with a full-kitchen.

Light banishes the ghosts of the past, streaming in through big picture windows and a central skylight. Distorted angles and open spaces abound, allowing for great views of the leafy street. There’s also a south-facing garden and a 45-year-old Japanese Katsura tree.

And, looking on the bright side, among the residents who lived happy lives at 18 West 11th Street: Merrill-Lynch co-founder Charles Merrill, his son, the poet James Merrill and Broadway lyricist and movie executive Howard Dietz.

[New York Observer] Penthouse Perfection: Check Out Starchitect Steven Holl's New $2.2M. West Village Home

We bet the co-op board at 32 Morton Street was dizzy with excitement when they got a package from acclaimed architect Steven Holl. Having a starchitect land in your building is second only to having a starchitect design you building, right?

Mr. Holl has purchased a one-bedroom, two-bath penthouse in the West Village co-op for $2.2 million. The listing photos show an open, loft like, light-filled space that is lovely, if unexceptional. But we’re sure that one of the architecture world’s most original talents will be able to transform the space into something a little more interesting.

The apartment was listed with Corcoran brokers Sara Gelbard and Paul Kolbusz for $1.9 million. Owned by the Estate of Susan Parrish, it spent a mere 23 days of the market. That, and the above ask price, indicate that someone other than Mr. Holl saw potential in the penthouse. However, unless he was battling another AIA Gold Medal winner to take the space, Mr. Holl is unquestionably the bidder to make the most of it.

“It’s a gorgeous apartment,” said Mr. Kolbusz, who would not confirm that Mr. Holl was the buyer (although city property records did).

The apartment does have lots of wonderful touches, like a woodburning fireplace, a “unique glass-block enclosed shower,” and a view of the northwest skyline through huge, original casement windows.

And it’s certainly a massive upgrade from the first place Mr. Holl lived in New York.

“In 1977 I came to New York and opened a studio. My first loft overlooking the cemetery on the 21st Street and 6th Avenue I had for 10 years for 250 dollars a month,” he told Architectural Digest Russia in 2005.

“I slept on a plywood shelf over the entrance, and no one knew I lived there. And I went to YMCA everyday to work out and take a shower—there was no hot water in my loft.”

An en-suite bath is much nicer. And for a man who is “able to imbue even the most colossal urban projects with lyricism,” per Nicolai Ouroussoff, this cheerful interior should present no problems.

Unfortunately, unlike the new Long Island City public library or Columbia’s soon-to-be-completed athletic center in Inwood, we won’t be able to see the transformation—at least until it shows up in any number of shelter magazines. Perhaps he’ll give The Observer the first tour?

[New York Observer] Marc Jacobs Man Robert Duffy Relocates in the Village

Although Robert Duffy, the co-founder of hipster-couture brand Marc Jacobs, vacated his Bank street digs, the fashion impresario hasn’t strayed far. Mr. Duffy, his husband and their newborn baby girl have moved to a another townhouse at 35 West 12th Street, city records show.

Their new home comes with a sterling pedigree. Apparently trying to draw prospective buyers with a vested interest in early American families, the listing prominently proclaims that the townhouse is “Situated on a parcel of land that was once part of the Brevoort family’s farming estate in the 17th century,” and further informs us that it is located on “beautiful tree-lined block on the Gold Coast just off of Fifth Ave.”

And don’t expect to find any modernist trappings of the nouveau riche who have taken to the neighborhood. The owners have preserved “much of its old world detail such as the wonderfully preserved original mahogany staircase, Colefax and Fowler wall paper and the extensive decorative crown and picture molding throughout,” write Corcoran brokers Sara Gelbard and Paul Kolbusz in the listing. The four-bedroom, 2.5-bath place is a better fit for the new family than their previous Greenwich Village home, Mr. Duffy’s broker told The Observer recently.

Mr. Duffy paid $5.2 million for the home, which will be comfortably covered by the $7.05 million be made last month selling his Bank Street place. He purchased the home from David and Valerie Hyde who list East Dorsett, Vt. as their address on the deed. According to the Corcoran listing, they had owned the home for over 35 years.

[The Real Deal] Marc Jocobs Co-Founder Pays $5.2M for Skinny Village Twonhouse

Duffy, one of the founders of the Marc Jacobs International fashion brand, has closed on the $5.2 million purchase of a townhouse at 35 West 12th Street, one of the skinniest homes in the city, records show.

The four-story townhouse between Fifth and Sixth avenues is a mere 13.5 feet wide, sandwiched between two much taller buildings. New York's skinniest townhouse is the 9.5-foot-wide 72 1/2 Bedford St. in the West Village, the onetime home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and the actors Cary Grant and John Barrymore.

However, sources said the 2,700-square-foot home feels much more spacious inside, and Duffy's agent, Frank Arends, a senior vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman, said the fashion executive preferred the coziness of the West 12th Street home to "majestic" townhouses.

"The grandeur of those townhouses, he's not really fond of," Arends said. "He likes it intimate."

Duffy recently sold a larger townhouse -- the 22-foot wide, 2,700-square-foot home at 62 Bank Street -- for $7.05 million.

He paid $1,926 per square foot for the West 12th Street residence, which Arends said will not be his primary residence. The property was listed at $5.4 million by Sara Gelbard and Paul Kolbusz, both senior vice presidents at the Corcoran Group, who both declined to comment on the transaction.

The sellers were David and Valerie Hyde, an elderly couple who bought the property in 1974 for $120,000, according to property records. The Hydes are now in their 80s and found the townhouse, which the listing said still has its original mahogany staircase, too difficult to live in, according to a source familiar with the deal.

"They were sad to leave, but they're going to be much happier in Vermont," where they also have a home, the source said.

Indeed, the sellers' desire to extend their stay in the property was a sticking point in contract negotiations, Arends said, since they were not just selling a house, but "selling a life, basically."

As soon as the deal closed, Duffy started renovations on the property, upgrading the kitchen and "making things a little more 'now,'" Arends said.

A spokesperson for Marc Jacobs International said Duffy was unavailable for comment because he is recovering from hip surgery.

Duffy's business partner, Marc Jacobs, also recently made a move, leaving the 2,062-square-foot penthouse he rented at 252 Seventh Avenue in September.