Greenwich Village, one of the oldest settlements in Manhattan, was originally used for growing crops. Long gone are the crops. Today, one of the most magical pockets of the historic neighborhood is the Macdougal-Sullivan Gardens Historic District, a landmarked community of 21 row homes, with 11 lining Macdougal Street and 10 running parallel on Sullivan Street. Each of the 21 townhouses has a small backyard that backs up to large common green shaded by old trees, a secret (and private) garden in the middle of Manhattan.
A single-family residence in the district can easily run between $10 million and $13 million, and for that the owner gets a very old house with low ceilings and small rooms. No glitzy, showoff penthouses in a supertall here! Still, the 21 homes ooze with Village charm and have thus played host to many famous names, including Bob Dylan; Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who raised her daughter here; Richard Gere, who earned neighborhood ire for adding a wooden meditation platform to his townhouse, director Baz Luhrmann; artist Francesco Clemente; as well as Ronald Perelman’s daughter Debra and her husband.
Speaking of the Perelmans, a 20-foot-wide townhouse that dates to 1844 has come to market at $10.5 million, repped by Matthew S. Lesser, Matthew Pravda, and Ravi Kantha with Leslie J. Garfield & Co. Tax records show the townhouse last traded in 2018, for $7.9 million, to an LLC linked to the Upper East Side address of Perelman’s MacAndrews and Forbes holding company. (It’s not clear which Perelman, if any of them, ever occupied the townhouse, though it is not the home of his daughter, who lives in another townhouse that backs up the gardens.)
With four stories plus basement, the house’s current configuration offers two floors of living and entertaining space, three (and possibly more) bedrooms, including a full-floor master suite, an office, and three bathrooms plus two additional powder rooms. However, some of the walls, for example in the parlor level that delineate separate living, dining and library rooms, are non-loading bearing so the space could easily be opened up for more generous living and entertaining spaces. Plus, with all that garden space at the rear, the house benefits from attractive sight lines as well as plenty of natural light.
The property was recently given a gut renovation; while comprehensive, the new interior job is fairly bland, with a lot of snow-white walls and pale wood floors. Another way of looking at it, however, is that the unadorned interiors would be a snap to make extremely interesting via art, furniture, carpets, wallpapers and so on. The buyer wouldn’t have to do any structural work or undo any major mistakes.
By the way, if the setup reminds you of the classic 1954 Hitchcock movie “Rear Window,” the scene in which Greenwich Village characters mingle in a central courtyard, it’s because production designers visited the square before going on to replicate the experience on a Hollywood soundstage. We suggest, therefore, that the new owner not murder his wife, at least not when a wheelchair-bound James Stewart might be watching, or even adding a meditation platform.