Edgar Allan Poe’s Upper West Side farmhouse

Edgar Allan Poe—arguably New York City’s first Bohemian—lived in a bunch of different places when he arrived in Manhattan in the 1830s.

There was a home at 130 Greenwich Street, another at 85 West Third (or Amity) Street, and a cottage on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, where his young wife Virginia died of tuberculosis in 1846.

In 1844, fleeing high rents near Washington Square, he and Virginia moved to a farmhouse near today’s West 84th Street and Broadway.

Of course, there was no city up there, as this early 1900s postcard reveals.

Manhattan was country north of Greenwich Village, dotted with tiny hamlets.

Interestingly, the postcard calls Broadway “St. Nicholas Place.” I found one reference to that forgotten street name: a New York Times piece from 1893:

“The house where ‘The Raven’ was written stands on a rocky and commanding eminence, a few hundred feet from the corner of 84th Street and St. Nicholas Boulevard, formerly the Bloomingdale Road,” the Times reported.

This corner today claims Poe as its own, naming 84th Street from Broadway through West End Avenue after him and honoring the famous resident with a long-running cafe, Edgar’s.

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19 Responses to “Edgar Allan Poe’s Upper West Side farmhouse”

  1. Undine Says:

    The mantlepiece from Poe’s bedroom in the Brennan farm (where he is believed to have written “The Raven”) is still preserved at Columbia University, although I don’t think they have it out for display any longer.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Interesting–looks like a lot of institutions vied for that mantle:

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=FA0F1FFC3C5A17738DDDA80894D9405B888CF1D3

  3. Edgar Allan Poe’s NYC | dreamlifenewyork.com Says:

    [...] The history of New York City is filled with many famous people who have come and gone. One of Manhattan’s most famous early residents is Edgar Allan Poe. West 84th Street bears his name, and it’s for good reason. Poe was one of the first residents of the Upper West Side! Read more on this interesting story at Ephemeral New York. [...]

  4. Phil Says:

    Hey all,

    I’ve been going to the cafe, Edgar’s for years. Sadly, they closed permanently this Tuesday because they could no longer pay their lease. Sad end to a great place and a sign that we care less and less about our history. This cafe should have been aided by some preservation society. It champions and helps promote New York history and as such should have been saved. It’s good for people to have a place that remembers Poe.

    Anyway… another sad closing.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    They just closed? I had no idea. Great little cafe.

  6. Phil Says:

    Their other location is still open. Not historic, as far as I know, but at least it’s the same menu.

  7. wildnewyork Says:

    Where’s the other location? I only know the 84th Street and Broadway one.

  8. nycedges Says:

    Sorry to learn that Edgar’s is closed. I would stop in there a few times a month, the food wasn’t exceptional, but you could sit and read or have a quiet conversation undisturbed — it was never crowded or noisy, which I guess is why they couldn’t make the rent!

  9. Phil Says:

    It’s on Amsterdam between 91st and 92nd.
    This is the only picture I could find and I don’t know how to post the ones I’ve taken.

    You should check it out. As I said, same menu, same owner. I prefer it actually. It’s cosier, even if it’s not as historic.

    http://www.urbanspoon.com/u/photo_list/1463990?photo_id=167854

  10. Undine Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the cafe closing. I’ve always had a strange sentimental attachment to Poe’s period at the Brennan’s, and I’ve hoped to sometime visit the place. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  11. nycedges Says:

    Dear Petey & Wildnewyork,
    Thanks so much for checking out my blog. I haven’t posted anything lately because the weather has been so unremittingly grey which makes outdoor photos a washout.
    I have been lurking & enjoying this site for awhile — the scope of your research and knowledge is impressive and of course, most importantly, fun!
    Oh, BTW that’s Ms. Edges aka Denise….cheers

  12. Linden78 Says:

    It’s really hard to picture the Upper West Side resembling this grassy oasis. My, how times have changed!

  13. A popular 1840s literary salon on Waverly Place « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] Edgar Allan Poe, living just over on West Third Street, was a regular; supposedly he read “The Raven” aloud one night. [...]

  14. Mariangela Tessa Says:

    215 84 th W

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