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Remembering Nora Ephron's Love Affair With the Apthorp

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Photo by Will Femia.

The wonderful Nora Ephron died last night, and this morning we found ourselves rereading one of our all-time favorite pieces of real estate writing, Nora Ephron's ode to the Apthorp in a 2006 issue of The New Yorker. When she first moved to New York in 1962, Ephron rented an apartment at 110 Sullivan Street, a "completely dreary" place, and as she later told New York, that was the last time she "made the mistake of living in an apartment without any charm." By 1980 she had rented a huge place at the Apthorp for $1,500/month?plus the $24,000 she had to borrow to pay off the apartment's prior tenant.

Here's how Ephron justified that key money:

"[T]he apartment had beautiful rooms (most of them painted taxicab yellow, but that could easily be fixed); high ceilings; lots of light; two gorgeous (although non-working) fireplaces; and five, count them, five bedrooms. It seemed to me that if I lived in the building for twenty-four years the fee would amortize out to only a thousand dollars a year, a very small surcharge. I mean, we're talking about only $2.74 a day, which is less than a cappuccino at Starbucks. Not that there was a Starbucks then. And not that I was planning to live in the Apthorp for twenty-four years. I was planning to live there forever?.

From the street, it's lumpen, Middle European, and solid as a tanker, but its core is a large courtyard with two marble fountains and a lovely garden. Enter the courtyard, and the city falls away; you find yourself in the embrace of a beautiful sheltered park?.At Halloween, those of us with small children turned the courtyard street lamps into a fantasy of pumpkin-headed ghosts."

The rent increases once Ephron was out of rent-stabilization?she was offered a three-year lease at $10,000/month the first year, $11,000/month the second year, and $12,000/month the third year?eventually led her and her family to the Upper East Side instead. But we would have paid that initial $24,000, too.
· Moving On [New Yorker]
· Apthorp coverage [Curbed]
· Nora Ephron coverage [Curbed]

Apthorp Building

390 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023

390 West End Avenue, New York, NY