As a person who owns one chair, zero dressers, and a closet half the depth of an average small closet so that I must angle the hangers just so to shut the door... I try to ignore real estate listings for those majestic New York City homes that could fit my 200-square-foot apartment in a never-used guest bathroom somewhere on the garden level. This New York exists in some parallel universe accessible through a cocktail party coat closet portal in the back of the National Arts Club, inside a rooftop cupola, and on sites like Curbed, which is where I had the misfortune of seeing this beautiful beast. I now must live nowhere else but here.
"Here" is a townhouse at 196 W Houston, which does not look like much from the street, but according to the listing, "has been built to meet [my] needs." It is true that I need, and have needed for quite some time, "three major outdoor spaces," a bamboo garden, triple-paned soundproof windows, a commercial-speed elevator, a yoga room, a sauna, several living rooms, and orange trees.
To be honest, there are some things that come with this home that I could do without—I have no need for a 2-car garage, for example. But I do have some ideas for this space. For one, I would like to use it to recreate my old studio apartment, to visit from time to time—I imagine the two have the same limited amount of natural light. Secondly, I would like to bring the New Jersey garage bar trend to Manhattan. I'd even like to start a garage band; my choices are limitless in this magical home, I imagine. Maybe inspiration like this flows because John Lennon was here. (And some of him may still be here, if my understanding of Locard’s exchange principle, molecules, and the chemisphere is accurate.)
Yes, there's plenty of room to drop names in this home.
After a career in the Army Signal Corp during World War II, Barney Rosset returned to New York and began taking classes at the New School while working for Monthly Review Press Magazine. Years later, Rosset purchased the Grove Press for $3,000 in the 1960s and built Grove Press into a major publishing house that introduced American readers to Henry Miller, Eugene Ionesco, Tom Stoppard, Jean Genet, and countless others. In 1964, Rosset's right to publish Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in a landmark ruling for First Amendment rights. While living in 196 West Houston Street for over 15 years, Rosset entertained countless notable writers and artists of the day, including Norman Mailer and John Lennon.
The listing also notes that "in no other townhouse available today can you walk a few blocks south to enjoy the flagship-level shopping of SoHo," which seems like a beautiful lie you wouldn't even care to tell.
Sadly, despite my need for more space and orange trees and flagship-level shopping, this property is out of my price range, which is good news for anyone who can afford the astronomically high $49,000/month rent (furnished or unfurnished).