The late author Peggy Mann Houlton and her husband bought a four-bedroom, 3.5 bath brownstone on the Upper West Side in 1960s. Yeah, they only paid $18,000 for the 1896-built home, but at the time, gentrification hadn't yet inched its way uptown and 94th Street was no stranger to gang activity. Based on her experiences in the unsavory area, Houlton even penned a popular 60s children's book called The Street of the Flower Boxes, in which lovably earnest protagonist Carlos tries to make over his then-"crummy" block. It sparked a movement that actually had national pickup, and an effort to beautify inner-city streets as part of urban renewal took root.
Sounds laughable these days, now that Houlton's daughters have put their parents' impeccably renovated townhouse on the market for $5 million. 46 West 94th Street, then, serves as a physical manifestation of gentrification. It's come a long way from the days of bullet holes in the front window. Now a beautiful manse, it boasts a high-ceilinged living room, wood inlay floor, five fireplaces, a grand foyer with the original transom over a door, a powder room (of course), and the list goes on. Off the kitchen is a 45-foot-deep garden with three fire pits. climbing plants, and a Buddha statue. Yup, no bullet holes in sight.
· Listing: 46 West 94th Street [Corcoran via StreetEasy]
· Once an $18,000 Home on a Decaying Street, Now a $5 Million Gem [NYT]