The West Village is what many people imagine when they think of New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood — bohemian yet intellectual, with artists, writers and musicians crowding area theaters and galleries. And certainly, this is a very accurate perception of the neighborhood vibe during the early part of the 20th century.
A hundred years or so years earlier, however, the neighborhood was quite different, and far more industrial. Then, around 1825, a real estate developer built five Federal-style row houses on Grove Street, between Hudson and Bedford Streets. These were modest clapboard houses faced in brick and intended as rental homes for local workers. The land underneath the row houses was owned by Trinity Church, which in 1705 was given 205 acres by Queen Anne, a vast parcel stretching along the Hudson River from Tribeca’s Duane Street to what’s now Christopher Street in the West Village.
As the 19th century wore on, ideas changed about housing and Trinity Church was attacked in the press for the living conditions of residents on its land. By 1920, Trinity decided to sell some land, including their Grove Street holdings, to a real estate company. The company remodeled the Grove Street row houses as private homes, thus beginning their long path toward gentrification. (Trinity did not sell all of its land, and today still owns 14 acres of prime Manhattan real estate, which brings in a reported $38 million a year in rent.)
At 21 feet wide, this 200-year-old row house is wider than many in the Village and retains many charming original features, such as the original oversized casement windows and wood burning fireplaces. It has, though, been thoroughly upgraded for an upscale modern-day lifestyle, with top-quality appliances, oak floors, white marble bathrooms, and a state-of-the-art home automation system. All together, there are about 3,000 square feet of living space arranged over four floors, with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and one half-bathroom.
The finished basement contains an entertaining room and media room, as well as a full bathroom and a wet bar, while the parlor floor includes living and dining rooms, the latter of which opens to a quaint garden. There’s also an up-to-date retro-style kitchen at the back, along with a laundry area and powder room.
Somewhat unusually, there are two staircases that lead to the two bedrooms and bath on the third floor, while the top floor is entirely devoted to the main suite, complete with walk-in closet, soaking tub, and rain shower. A small bonus room just off the master suite is suitable as a dressing room, nursery, home office or meditation studio.