The narrowest house in Greenwich Village

Measuring only nine and a half feet wide, this circa-1873 stepped-gable home at 751/2 Bedford Street was at various times a carriage house, a cobbler’s shop, and part of a candy factory.

According to a 1993 New York Times article, the house sold for “less than $300,000″ that year. 

ednastvincentmillayhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1923, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay lived there; she’s pictured below with her husband and a friend outside the house. The windows look the same (with a protective black fence added), but the wood-frame home on the left has been replaced. Bedford Street in the 1920s sure looks a little like a hick country road.

ednastvincentmillayold

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10 Responses to “The narrowest house in Greenwich Village”

  1. A Pink Slip for the Porcupine - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com Says:

    [...] in at nine and a half feet wide, a house once lived in by Edna St. Vincent Millay is the narrowest house in Greenwich Village. [Ephemeral New [...]

  2. Kevin Says:

    If you pick up “Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Women Writers Running Wild in the Twenties” by Marion Meade, there is a whole section devoted to this address. This is the house where Millay seduced Edmund Wilson.

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks for the info about the book. Edmund Wilson is another 1920s writer with a fascinating history in the Village. “The Princess With the Golden Hair” from Memoirs of Hecate County contains lots of detail about the Village/Union Square back in the day.

  4. Kevin Says:

    Thanks. Have you skimmed through Wilson’s diaries “The Twenties?” It is chock-full of Village references and people. Scott and Zelda on one page, Dorothy Parker on another.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    No, but I’ll look for it. The 1920s is such an interesting time in Village history. Dawn Powell’s diaries are also a must-read.

  6. Reno Says:

    I think the period photo showing the poet and hubby was shot in the back yard.

    Note the door (and hall) being on the right, and the fact that the adjoining house on the right is of a different depth, unlike in the front shot.

    I’m sure that Bedford St. in the 20s was just as well paved as now.

  7. doug barone Says:

    The fellow in the middle of the photo may have been my uncle,Frank Shay,her publisher.DB

  8. Peter McGovern Says:

    I lived in this house with my mom from around 1966-1970. My mom and her husband rented the house into the late 1970s. Although it was 9 1/2 feet wide I think it was much longer. There was a trapdoor in the kitchen with stairs leading down to the basement. I turned the basement into a my own personal psychedelic hangout in 1967 complete with flickering lights, blankets hanging on the wall, and incense.

    The kitchen and dining room were on the first floor, two bedrooms and a bath on the second, and the third floor was all living room.

    I think the rent was around $300 a month.

  9. wildnewyork Says:

    $300 a month is astounding. I’m picturing your basement psychedelic hangout looking something like Greg Brady’s psychedelic attic.

  10. A Village poet and the hospital she’s named for | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Bohemian, free-love advocate, and a writer of passionate, sometimes cynical lyrical poetry, Millay lived in various places in the Village beginning in 1917, most famously at 75 1/2 Bedford Street. […]

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