What happened to the residents of The Whitby?

Ex-chorus girls and actresses. Retired jazz musicians. A female impersonator who once worked the vaudeville circuit.

These were some of the characters interviewed in a 1988 New York Times article who lived at the Whitby—a grand 1923 apartment building designed by Emery Roth on 45th Street just west of Eighth Avenue.

The article chronicled a familiar story. The Whitby—once a residential hotel popular with theater people and in the 1980s a rental with rates as low as $221 a month—was going co-op. The retired show folk who lived there feared the change about to hit their eclectic longtime home.

“‘It was a home for actors,” said Jon Richards, an 84-year-old retired Broadway actor who has lived at the Whitby since the 1964 New York World’s Fair. ”We walked in, and we walked in among friends, among family.”’

In the article, a rep for the Whitby’s owner said none of the tenants would be kicked out if they couldn’t afford to buy their apartments.

I wonder what happened to them in the ensuing 24 years—and if the Whitby is now populated by executives and bankers rather than eccentric theater people.

[Top photo: from Streeteasy.com. Bottom: a photo of the Whitby originally from The New York Times, by way of thewhitby.com]

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6 Responses to “What happened to the residents of The Whitby?”

  1. A_patron_of_99cent_Fresh_Pizza_on_41st Says:

    Executives and bankers? Puh-leaze… If you actually looked at the StreetEasy history you’d see that several of the apartments have been listed and sold for under $400k or even under $300k in the past two years. This is private, affordable housing for individuals or couples with solidly middle-class NYC jobs. I like your blog but your attitudes and idiotic presumptions are so effing stale. I can’t wait for your generation to die off.

    • Mark R. Says:

      I believe the reason these units are listed below market value is that many of the units have never been renovated and were renovated cheaply. Another reason is that there is a broker entrenched in the building who likes to lists the units cheaply so they sell quickly and she does less work.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    You’ll be waiting quite a while.

  3. railgun_nation Says:

    “You’ll be waiting quite a while.” I lol’d good, $0.99 Pizza, why so snarky? LMAO

  4. Mark R. Says:

    I’ve lived in the Whitby for over 10 years. I believe the reason these units are listed below market value is that many of the units have never been renovated and were renovated cheaply. Another reason is that there is a broker entrenched in the building who likes to lists the units cheaply so they sell quickly and she does less work.

    I’d love more of these “eccentric theater people” that bought when the building went coop to leave or die off. I’m sure A_patron_of_99cent_Fresh_Pizza_on_41st is one of them. They are living in the past and truly have attitudes that are idiotic and “effing stale”. Bring on the young executives and bankers who are too busy to create drama because they have nothing else going on in their lives!

  5. Teri Layne Says:

    My dad’s best friend Lew Black lived there in the 60′s & 70′s.
    We’d drive out to NY every summer so my dad could perform at Grossinger’s, and all the Catskill hotels. We also had a cabin in Liberty…I MISS those days!!! :)

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