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Saturday, September 19, 2009

NEW YORK CITY'S NARROWEST HOUSE


I've been doing a bit of searching around for our forthcoming trip and found a great site with stories of some of the oldest buildings in New York. The above building is the narrowest in New York city at only 9ft 6inches wide. Built in 1873 on what was a former carriage entrance way between two buildings. Read below a snippet of Bonnie Rosenstock's descriptive history of the house and the many luminaries who once lived there or visited.

'According to the plaque on the front of the building, Edna St. Vincent Millay lived there from 1923-1924 and wrote "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver", for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. No so, says Elizabeth Barnett, literary executor of the Millay Society. Via e-mail, Barnett stated that Millay did not write this poem there. "Millay worked on that poem while living in Europe and finished it before returning to the USA. Millay and her husband lived at Steepletop, Austerlitz, NY, beginning in 1925. She lived there until her death in 1950, her husband until his death in 1949." However, writer Ann McGovern (who lived at the building sometime in the late 1980s) asserted in a newspaper interview that Millay wrote part of "The King's Henchmen" there.'


Further reading can be found here.

20 comments:

Ces said...

But it's a clean and neat house and I like it. The singer is Nana Mouskouri. She sings in different languages and has a very beautiful voice.

Ces said...

I am glad you found out. Enjoy! BTW, fantastic header photograph!

Alaine said...

Thank you, Ces. I've added that clip to my YT favourites. I should have known who it was but I haven't heard her sing for years.

(I asked Ces who the singer is in the clip on her post, 'Let's Slide').

Delwyn said...

Hi Alaine

the interior looks like one of those shoebox peep shows we made as kids, with stairs our of folded concertina paper...

A trip to New York soon?

Happy days

Alaine said...

Delwyn, November, getting nervous!

willow said...

You know, Edna St. Vee and I are simpatico! I love her skinny little house!

Peter Bergman said...

Elizabeth Barnett is quite correct, but so is the sign. It does not state that "...Harp Weaver" was written there, only that it was written by Millay. Ann McGovern is totally wrong. "The King's Henchman" was not written in the house in the Village at all. Millay did not begin work on that until well after she moved to Austerlitz, NY. It was done at the invitation of Deems Taylor, the composer, after his commission for an opera by the Metropolitan Opera in 1926.

Alaine said...

Well, Peter, thank you for pointing that out; it's all rather ambiguous. I see what you mean about the plaque; yes, she did live there but it's not saying that she wrote "The Ballad" there, only that she wrote it!

And the other information about Deems Taylor; you've sent me off on another tangent now!

I don't know how you found me but thank you so much.

Alaine said...

Hello Willow, I learn every day here. I must admit that I don't know much at all about Edna; I must correct that.

Susan said...

Hi Alaine,

My SIL lives in Alexandria, Virginia, and there's an even more narrow house there! Here's a link to it:

http://hookedonhouses.net/2008/03/03/the-spite-house-in-alexandria-virginia/

You're gonna have so much fun on your trip!

steven said...

hi alaine - i love the little houses. i bet they compel one to consider what's important or necessary!!! i've read some of edna's work but i'll spend some of this saturday - which has been renamed "freeday" in my mind as it is almost commitment free - looking up her writing. thanks for the reminder. have a lovely day. steven

Derrick said...

Hi Alaine,

Neat little house and probably just affordable! You will have a great time in NY, I'm sure. You are obviously making plans.

studioJudith said...

I find it odd that I find it fascinating ... . but, I do!
Perhaps it has something to do with it being so small in a city that's known for everything BIG.
Love the new banner ... ..

Alaine said...

Susan, thanks for that link; I had a look and have bookmarked that site, as I love architecture and interiors. That house is so teeny; I'd probably get claustrophobia living there.

About NYC, thanks but I'm nervous about getting lost! I've been studying the maps and places to see but I'll have to sit down and pick 6 places to see and maybe take a bus tour or, if the weather's OK, a cruise.

Alaine said...

Steven, I'll definitely have to do the same - after I've finished Geisha; I'm just into it!

Alaine said...

Judith, thank you about the banner. It reminds me of my son every time I see it and the lovely few days we spent with him on the Gold Coast recently.

About the house; yes, that's what fascinated me, that it would remain in a city of tall buildings. But Greenwich Village is unique; we must try to include that on our trip.

Alaine said...

Hello Derrick, yes, what to do? where to go? in such a short time!!

I've read that the house is on the market for $US2.75 million, 1mil more than it was purchased for in 2000 and 10 times the asking price of two decades ago! Affordable for some!

Friko said...

Your blog is so beautiful that I have decided to follow you. You have the most marvellous pictures!

Friko said...

Hi, it's Friko again. I've just seen that you've got me in your sidebar; would you please also click on my Followers button with Google Connect in the left hand column of my home page? I'd appreciate it.

Alaine said...

Friko, thank you so much, you've made my morning! Thanks for following and I'll go and click your button right now.