Easter egg colors on historic Sullivan Street

Painted in springtime pastel shades of purple, yellow, blue, and pale green, this row of townhouses on Sullivan Street between Bleecker and Houston has always reminded me of dyed Easter eggs.


Pretty, right? They’re part of the tiny MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens Historic District, a collection of 22 homes built in Greek Revival style between 1844 and 1850.

How did the row, and another stretch of similar townhouses right behind it on MacDougal, remain so lovely over more than a century and a half?


Credit a forward-thinking businessman named William Sloane Coffin. In 1922, Coffin bought the houses as part of a corporation that was founded to preserve older single-family homes in the city, so middle-class residents wouldn’t have to move into apartment buildings or out to the suburbs.

SullivanstreethousesPurchased from the estate of the original developer, the houses were remodeled in a neo-Federal style. Front stoops got the heave-ho, maids’ apartments were built on the top floor, and an interior garden open only to residents was created between the houses.

Considering the rich and famous residents of the block, that interior garden is very much private and off-limits. Luckily this real-estate listing from 2010 gives us a peek!

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4 Responses to “Easter egg colors on historic Sullivan Street”

  1. wally Says:

    anna wintour lives on this block! the paint do remind of easter egg colors.

  2. margot jacqz Says:

    WSC more than a “businessman.” He was very well placed socially. Yet clearly radical compassion ran in the family. His son WSC Jr, was chaplain at Yale and then Riverside Church, well know for liberal activities, especially in peace and justice movements from 60s forward.

  3. Townhomes with Pastel Colors Says:

    […] Read the full story here… […]

  4. intradimensional Says:

    The buried first floors on display for all to see, yet no one notices or questions…. Who really built these… how were they buried, when were they built, really. Refaced and first floors dug out in the 1850’s maybe, but what happened to the Tartars?… the true builders of the Americas…

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