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Airy West Village townhouse with literary past wants $17.95M

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John Lennon and Norman Mailer once partied at this West Houston Street house

Photos: Courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens.

A West Village townhouse that was once owned by two influential publishers (and where the likes of John Lennon and Norman Mailer partied), has just hit the market, asking $17.95 million.

The three-story, 5,780-square-foot house has three bedrooms, four full bathrooms, three half bathrooms, a garden, and two terraces. It also has an elevator, a gym, and a two-car garage. Some of its interior details include its large, triple-paned windows—which allow for plenty of light to come in—hardwood floors, and 13-foot ceilings in its master suite. The garden has several bamboo trees and the parlor floor terrace has flowering orange trees.

A terrace with a couch, a red chair, two flowering orange trees, and a lattice fence on top of its wall.
The parlor floor terrace has two flowering orange trees and a lattice fence.

Barney Rosset, who was the founder of Grove Press and published works like Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, gut-renovated the former warehouse at 196 West Houston Street in 1967. During his time living at the house, he partied with John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Norman Mailer. His favorite part of the renovated house, according to a 2007 New York Observer interview was its two-car garage, which was a modern feature at the time.

A living room with hardwood floors, a brown leather couch, a fireplace, and two light pink chairs.
The living room with hardwood floors, a fireplace and a large window.

City records show that he owned the house up to the late 1980s when he sold it to another publisher, Peter Mayer, who served as chairman and chief executive at Penguin Group between 1978 and 1997, according to the New York Times.

Today, it is unclear who owns the house (according to city records, it’s Shatter Scape Holdings LLC), but the place is definitely still as interesting as its previous owners.

Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens has the listing.

A garden with bamboo trees and several chairs.
The house’s garden with multiple bamboo trees.
A rectangular dining table with multiple chairs, three vertical mirrors, hardwood floors, and the kitchen with wood cabinetry at the back.
The spacious dining room and kitchen areas.
A living room area with hardwood floors, a fireplace, two light pink chairs, a leather couch, and a beige rug.
The house’s living room area.