Did you miss out on that private island engulfed in fog? Are you kicking yourself for not jumping on that cliffside “Pumpkin House“? Do you stay awake at night dreaming of those rooftop cupolas that got away? Well, don’t sweat it, because here’s your chance to own a real piece of bizarre New York City real estate: the alleged narrowest home in all of the city is on the market.
The townhouse at 75 1/2 Bedford Street, which has been put up for sale this month for $4,990,000, is only 9-feet-6-inches wide—the interior is closer to 8 and a half feet wide, and at its narrowest point, it’s only 2-feet wide. As a result, it’s gained the reputation of being the narrowest home in the city (though there has been some dispute over this). But even with those dimensions, 75 1/2 Bedford manages to have three bedrooms, two baths, two balconies, a rear patio, and a finished basement all spread over three floors. Not to mention the added historical value.
According to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the townhouse was constructed in 1873 “during a smallpox epidemic, for Horatio Gomez, trustee of the Hettie Hendricks-Gomez Estate, on what was the former carriage entranceway.” It was initially used as a cobbler’s shop, then a candy factory, before becoming fully residential by the early 1900s.
It has had several famous occupants, most prominently Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. It’s often referred to as the “Millay house,” due to the plaque outside the residence commemorating her time there. Even though she only lived there from 1923 to 1924, she allegedly wrote “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver” there, for which she won the Pulitzer. And during that period, she and husband Eugen Jan Boissevain hired Ferdinand Savignano to renovate the house, adding a skylight and turning the top floor into a studio for Millay.
Besides Millay, other famous narrow home residents include writer Ann McGovern (the house was the inspiration for her children’s book Mr. Skinner’s Skinny House), actors Cary Grant and John Barrymore (who lived there while performing at Cherry Lane Theater), cartoonist William Steig, and anthropologist Margaret Mead.
To give you an idea of how much real estate prices have climbed in the last couple decades, the townhouse sold for a reported $270,000 in 1996; it was purchased for $3.25 million by real estate investor George Gund IV in 2013.