simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: 121 Charles
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Wednesday, 23 May 2007

121 Charles

I have been virtually obsessed with this place and looking forward to posting photos and the story behind one of the most amazing properties in the entire city. Here we have a 200 year-old farmhouse on its own piece of land, with a yard and driveway; the six-room wood-frame house stuck against a neighboring brick building. Click here for more photos. The first time I encountered this tiny house at 121 Charles Street, I couldn't believe it. An anomaly and a time warp in a bucolic setting. There is little information on this place, so I had to dig. This house was originally on a rear lot at 71st and York Ave. The exact date of its origin is unknown. The house was occupied in the 1940s by Margaret Wyse Brown - author of ''Good Night Moon". In 1960, it was occupied by Swedish-born Mr. and Mrs. Sven Bernhard, who after extensive renovations, won ownership in 1966. However, the land was owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, who intended to demolish the house for the building of a new Mary Manning Walsh Home for the Aged. Wanting to keep the home, the Bernhards decided to move the entire house intact. With the help of architect William C. Shopsin, they located a vacant 3600-square-foot lot on Charles Street. On March 5, 1967 the entire house was moved five miles (at a cost of $6500) from its Upper East side location down Second Avenue and across 14th Street to its new home in the West Village, with the Bernhards following by car. In 1988, Sue Bieler and her husband Eliot Brodsky began a restoration of the property with architect George Boyle. A room for their 7 year old, Jack Brodsky, was added. You won't find anything like this in Manhattan, trust me. I understand it's not for sale ...


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