Moonstruck remains one of the most romantic, authentic NYC movies of all time, and also one of the most poignant films about the psychological fallout of losing a hand. It was filmed at real locations all around the city, with the fictitious restaurant the Grand Ticino shot in the West Village, Cammareri Bakery in Carroll Gardens, and the Castorini family home both located in Brooklyn Heights. That townhouse has now been put on the market for the first time in over a decade. But snap out of it! You probably can't afford this one.
The historic townhouse, located at 19 Cranberry Street on the corner of Willow Street, has been put up for sale for the hefty price of $12.85 million. As the Street Easy listing states, the house, which was built in 1829, has had a lot of renovations in recent years, including a restored roof and windows, and the addition of all new infrastructural systems, a professional wood-burning oven, and lots more. "At 26' wide, with garden and gated parking, this 30-window, light-filled, 4-story, 5+ bedroom, 3.5 bath townhouse has been impeccably renovated with restored original charm and exquisite attention to detail, resulting in comfortable and stately opulence," the description reads.
But it's kind of incredible to think about what a difference a decade makes: back in 2008, it was sold for nearly $4 million by architect Edwards Rullman, who had owned the home for over 50 years before that. “We got 100 times what we paid for it back in 1961,” Rullman told the NY Times at the time.
The home isn't only famous because of its association with Moonstruck, but also because of Rullman's importance to the neighborhood. When Rullman and his family first bought it, Brooklyn Heights was considered a neighborhood in decline, compared to the charming brownstone utopia it is now. Rullman became a chairman of the Historic Preservation Committee of the Brooklyn Heights Association, who successfully fought in the '60s to get protected status for the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, paving the way for other neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village to do the same.
Before the decision was made to give the neighborhood that status, the NY Times wrote in 1964 about Rullman and the Brooklyn Heights Association member's efforts to preserve the "architectural mementos in antiquated buildings" in Brooklyn Heights that were set to be torn down to make way for the construction of Cadman Plaza. As the Times quaintly wrote about one such expedition, in which they went through over 60 buildings to rescue various doorknobs, doorways, mirrors, and even a staircase, "eight idealists in love with the past set out yesterday to preserve it."
Sometime after that, Rullman ended up opening a small architectural shop devoted specifically to restoring buildings in Brooklyn Heights; he ended up restoring more than 50 local buildings, including St. Ann’s School.
You can check out more photos of the interior of the townhouse here; the kitchen might not look quite the same as it did in the movie (it's not entirely clear whether all the interiors were filmed there, and with all the renovations it wouldn't look like it either way), but hey, no building is perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and our buildings and to break our hearts.