27 W. 67th

April 27th, 2014 § 0 comments

Like the Huns and Visigoths sacking Rome, the Yups swooped down on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and destroyed scores of Mom-and-Pop shops, idiosyncratic, eccentric and full of flavor. Only big time operations can afford today’s rents (HG has written about the hapless search by a woman who wanted to open a bookshop in the neighborhood and found nothing that rented for less than $40,000 a month). HG/BSK began their life together in May 1963.Their residence was an artist’s studio in 27 W. 67th Street, a building constructed by a group of artists (Childe Hassam among them) in 1903. The HG/BSK connubial nest consisted of a big, high ceilinged studio with a wide expanse of windows awash with north light. Modest sized kitchen (big enough to accommodate a dining table). Bathroom with a giant tub. Small bedroom (once a changing room for models). A romantic apartment on a block renowned for the arts. (The Hotel Des Artistes was next door.. The restaurant in the Des Artistes featured gently naughty murals by Howard Chandler Christy and the building housed at times such luminaries as Noel Coward, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Hardwick and Fanny Hurst). The rent for HG/BSK’s urban paradise was $147 a month. The 67th Street liquor store was on the corner and sold very good splits of champagne for $1.25. Nice little grocery/delicatessen on Columbus Avenue dispensed good bread, freshly made soups and salads. A short walk to good, affordable restaurants–Fleur de Lis for French food and Volk’s for German food. And, yes, Zabar’s was in business on Broadway, just a modest Jewish “appetizing” store, not the food megalopolis of today. West Side memories swept over HG today as HG examined a full page ad in the April 24-May 4 issue of New York Magazine. “27 W. 67TH STREET” was the headline. The ad detailed the glories of a duplex apartment in the building. The price: $4,950,000. “Hey, HG,” mused BSK, “If you’ve got a spare $5,000,000 tucked away somewhere we could buy it and start over again.”

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