In New York, on a corner lot next to the Brooklyn waterfront, there sits a quietly elegant old brownstone. It offers amazing views of lower Manhattan, New York Harbor, and the Statue of Liberty, along with Fourth of July fireworks, from almost every room.
The dignified old girl, built during the 1860s and surrounded by equally historic houses in the gracious Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, has been decorated by its owners in period Victorian style. Yet it offers some nearly-priceless 21st century advantages: a wine cellar and gym, an elevator and even a two-car garage. And in this area, the garage alone is practically unprecedented.
Asking a lucky $17.777 million, the brownstone is in contract after only a couple months on the market, and the as-yet-unrevealed sales price may well be a 2022 record for the borough. The property is repped by Karen Heyman and Alan Heyman at Sotheby’s International Realty. In Brooklyn, the current record holder is another neighborhood brownstone that sold for $25.5 million in 2020 — and that place didn’t include a garage. (Might this one sell over ask?)
The 25-foot-wide townhouse has always been a patrician. It was, according to the NYC Landmarks Commission, built between 1861 and 1869. The original owners were Edward Bowne and Sarah Willets; the Willets family sold the brownstone in 1928 following Edward and Sarah’s deaths.
Today, the current owners are Eugene Keilin and Joanne Witty. Keilin, a Wall Streeter, was a general partner at Lazard Frères & Co, and also Chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York, an agency created in 1975 to deal with New York City’s financial crisis. Keilin and Witty purchased the brownstone back in 1986 for $1.3 million, a price high enough for the New York Times to note it in an article about neighborhood records.
There are five bedrooms, three full and two partial bathrooms in the townhouse, which spans a roomy 5,050 square feet. On the garden level lies a kitchen and dining room, and there’s a formal parlor floor. All five bedrooms and an office take up the top two floors. The basement is the location for the gym and wine storage; the elevator climbs from that level to the finished roof deck. Besides the elevator, other modern improvements include a new HVAC system with central air, an alarm system, outdoor lighting and sprinklers for the plantings. The garage too is strictly modern, boasting two Tesla charging stations.
An entirely different affair is the parlor level, which resembles something from the Lincoln Administration. 1860s patterned carpets, swags and tails curtains, and high Victorian furniture look the part, as do the seven fireplaces in the house. The dining room boasts French doors to the rear garden. The living space and the kitchen on the garden level includes new walnut flooring; the kitchen offers a marble topped island, and there’s a laundry area next to that. Two powder rooms are located on this level as well.
Two bedrooms on the next floor, connected via adjoining walk-in closets, could be combined to create a massive master suite. One bedroom is next to an office space while the other has a vintage inspired bathroom en suite. Above that are three more bedrooms and two full baths.
The roof deck includes an outdoor kitchen, dining space, and seating, along with great views. One downside: when the house was built in the 1860s, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway wasn’t also whizzing past it. On the bright side, the Manhattan skyline was a lot less impressive in the 1860s.