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On the Market: Jane Jacobs's Hudson Street Townhouse

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When the late urban activist, preservationist and all-around badass Jane Jacobs released the seminal Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961, it was chock-full of observations of everyday life as witnessed from her home above a candy store at 555 Hudson Street?observations that you can now share! The three-story vacant townhouse just popped up on the market with a price tag of $3.5 million. Configured as a ground-floor retail space with a two-bedroom duplex above, Jacobs' old stomping grounds are in the Greenwich Village Historic District, so Robert Moses descendants with an axe to grind can't level the place. However, the listing notes that there's an additional 1,456 square feet of buildable space, so they can at least grow it to unJacobsian proportions. The listing is void of interior photos and floorplans, but we've dug up a description of the house.

In September 2005, less than a year before Jacobs passed away in Toronto and 555 Hudson became an impromptu memorial, blogger Stilettos on Cobblestone wandered into a party in the building:

We passed by 555 Hudson St and saw the door open, and heard great music pumping out of the windows. We decided since we are neighbors, we would take the opportunity to introduce ourselves (and score a nightcap). We went in the door, up the stairs, and into a pretty kickass party. That townhouse is wider than ours, and more regularly shaped (i.e. not a trapezoid) and was really quite lovely inside. There was a massive dining room table covered with the remains of a successful dinner party - stacks of plates, an army of drippy candles and spent bottles of wine, and several people dancing on the couches. We introduced ourselves and found out they were actually moving out the next day, so this was their last hoorah.

Of course Jacobs had long moved out by then, but it is fun to imagine her dancing on a couch.
· Listing: 555 Hudson Street [Elliman]