Take a peek inside NYC’s oldest homes for sale
Some of the city’s oldest, most beautiful and still-habitable residential real estate dates back to the early 1800s — nearly a century before Mayor George McClellan led the maiden voyage of the new underground subway system.
The Post scoured local listings to find some of the oldest homes currently for sale. Our favorites, which span from 1816 to the 1890s, not only boast tony historical details — like decorative mantels and moldings — but also come renovated for today’s needs.
- Built in 1841
This 21-foot-wide, 4,704-square-foot townhouse at 121 W. 11th St. was constructed in 1841 as a residence and expanded at a later unspecified date. Although it’s unclear what elements remain from its first iteration, the five-bedroom spread — priced at $10.3 million — sure packs a punch today. On the parlor level, fireplaces adorn the living and dining rooms, and a kitchen looks out to the 950-square-foot patio and backyard. Ceilings over 11 feet high rise from herringbone floors. Upstairs, there’s a master suite with a fireplace and a wood-paneled library with yet another — you guessed it — fireplace.
Contact: Stephen P. Wald Real Estate Associates, 212-750-9253
- Built in 1890
Before apartment living became the norm, New York’s elite resided in ornate mansions; many were later demolished to make way for multi-unit buildings. But the former private home at 23 Park Ave., otherwise known as the Robb House, survived.
It dates to 1890 and was designed by architect Stanford White of Columbia University and Brooklyn Museum fame. It’s since been divided into 17 co-ops, and one of them — 2C, a two-bedroom — is on the market asking $4.35 million. Its striking original details are especially visible in the double-height living room, which boasts wood paneling, a coffered ceiling and a grand fireplace.
Not original, but still nice, is the renovated kitchen with a Viking range and a full-height wine fridge. There’s also a dining room with limestone floors — and although the block walls are made of faux limestone, it features built-in storage to hide dinnerware.
Contact: Stribling, 646-613-2633
South Street Seaport
- Built in the 1840s
This two-bedroom penthouse rental— now listed for $8,495 per month — is located in a 1840s-era ship house at 115 South St. It boasts incredible charm thanks to restored original details. Listing images show wide-plank wood floors, columns, beamed ceilings and exposed brick. Trappings include an open kitchen and views of the East River. There’s also a washer/dryer, custom bookshelves and Italian tile (although, of course, none of those are original). “Four flights up and worth every step,” says its listing — right, because elevators didn’t exist in the 1840s.
Contact: Corcoran, 212-444-7842
Upper East Side
- Built in 1867
This landmarked townhouse at 172 E. 71st St. was built in 1867 — back when the area was considered a suburb of downtown Manhattan. It was designed as one of three adjacent Italianate-style properties and still maintains some of its 19th-century features, including character-filled wood floors and lofty 12-foot ceilings. The home is configured as a single-family triplex over a medical office, but can be delivered vacant for a total of 3,750 square feet above grade, plus another 1,500 across a cellar, a garden, a terrace and a patio. Among the nicest modern additions is a glass-enclosed solarium. It asks $6.75 million.
Contact: Keller Williams New York City, 646-737-9643
- Built in the 1830s
Truman Capote lived around the corner from 13 Pineapple St., a quaint wooden residence he detailed in his 1959 essay, “A House on the Heights.” He wrote, “I believe (but please don’t trust me), that the oldest house [in Brooklyn Heights], the house still extant and functioning, belongs to our back-yard neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Philip Broughton.” While its exact age isn’t known, the home reportedly dates back to at least 1830. Listed for a hefty $8.4 million, the stand-alone property has a 50-foot-wide facade with an attached garage. Inside, period touches include mantels over woodburning fireplaces in the parlor and dining room. There are seven bedrooms, four additional decorative fireplaces and a garden.
Contact: Brown Harris Stevens, 718-858-5908
- Built in the 1840s
Some old properties have a back story featuring big-name New Yorkers straight from the pages of history books. One example is the brownstone at 44 King St., developed by John Jacob Astor on land formerly owned by Alexander Hamilton’s archenemy, Aaron Burr. The entire building — now configured as a four-unit residence with the potential for conversion into a single-family mansion — is for sale for $9.95 million. Original details include hardwood floors and marble mantels over the fireplaces. Listing images show contemporary kitchens and bathrooms that Astor and Burr couldn’t have imagined.
Contact: Compass, 917-375-1640
- Built in 1893
This 20-foot-wide corner townhouse on the landmarked, two-block Strivers’ Row — a district that’s been home to prominent names, including blues music pioneer W.C. Handy and Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. — comes “loaded with original details,” according to the listing. Located at 253 W. 138th St. and designed in 1893, it features crown molding, exposed brick, decorative fireplaces and a south-facing Juliet balcony. It’s configured as a five-family rental with two studios, two one-bedrooms and a two-bedroom and is being sold as an investment opportunity. The price: $3.55 million.
Contact: Corcoran, 646-717-4516
- Built in 1840
The Lefferts-Laidlaw House at 136 Clinton Ave. was built between 1836 and 1840 at a time of big suburban-style development in Wallabout, the neighborhood that came about thanks to the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard, as well as its proximity to downtown Brooklyn and, for trips into Manhattan, the Fulton Ferry. But the Wallabout name hasn’t been used much in the last few decades; people now refer to it as the edge of Fort Greene or Clinton Hill. As for the home, which asks $4.5 million, a portico with four Corinthian columns frames its exterior. Thanks to the columns, it may be Brooklyn’s sole remaining temple-fronted Greek Revival residence. The listing adds that the house is Clinton Hill’s oldest national historic landmark. Inside, there are four bedrooms, three bathrooms and four fireplaces over 2,256 square feet of space. The kitchen was originally in the cellar and can be re-created there, should a new owner need extra cooking space.
Contact: Douglas Elliman, 917-640-3707
- Built in 1840
The landmarked brownstone at 142 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights has a literary claim to fame: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Norman Mailer once owned it. It currently has a $2.25 million listing: an offering that encompasses both a two-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor and a one-bedroom on the third floor. The fourth floor is where Mailer reportedly wrote novels including “The Executioner’s Song” and “Ancient Evenings.” (Mailer once owned the whole building, but converted it into a co-op during the 1970s and later sold the lower floors.) It’s not clear whether any 19th-century details remain — the charming floral-patterned stained glass might have been a later addition — but we do know that Mailer decked out the top floor in a quirky nautical style, which includes an extant glass-and-wood atrium and a sloping wood ceiling that recreated the curve of a sailboat.
Contact: Core, 212-612-9681
- Built in 1816
This townhouse sure doesn’t look 202 years old on the inside. Located at 57 Sullivan St. in Soho and built in 1816, this 3,864-square-foot, four-bedroom pad — described in its listing as one of Manhattan’s oldest surviving homes — is on the market for $7.75 million. Its Flemish bond brick facade and woodburning fireplaces are among the older-world features, but they mix with far more recent inclusions, like new windows and updated kitchens. The renovated property became a city landmark in 2016, with a nod to being “a fine example of the Federal style [of architecture],” per the Landmarks Preservation Commission. It’s configured as an owners’ duplex with an English basement and two upper-level one-bedroom apartments. (The 21-foot-wide townhouse can be delivered vacant for single-family residency.)
Contact: Compass, 917-592-5971
- Built in 1883
This handsome red-brick building at 34 Gramercy Park East is New York City’s oldest surviving co-op. It opened its doors in 1883 as a way for middle-class residents to have fancier pads than tenements for the working class. Now, a two-bedroom home inside this 45-unit address is up for grabs for $1.84 million. The kitchen of unit 3BN has been updated to fit a Sub-Zero fridge and a Viking stove, but ornate ceiling moldings, exposed brick and a fireplace round out the old-world remnants. Building amenities include a lobby with a Tiffany glass ceiling, an original fireplace and mantel and a 24-hour doorman.
Contact: Nest Seekers International, 646-443-3743
Prospect Park South
- Built in 1899
This Brooklyn neighborhood is known for its stately standalone homes, and this property is no exception: a recently listed “Victorian gem” listed for $2.25 million. There are six bedrooms across 3,640 square feet at 120 Stratford Road. Among the original details are a coffered ceiling in the formal dining room and parquet floors. Elsewhere, a renovated kitchen has cherry cabinets, cork flooring and a brick accent wall. The property has fresh coats of paint, updated plumbing and electric and a new boiler room with fireproof walls. [NYP]