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Historic 1860 Townhouse with Porch for Sale

171 East 73rd Street

(Google Maps)

An Italianate-style Upper East Side townhouse built in 1860 just went on the market last week for $13.85 million (with monthly real estate taxes of $6,639). The five-story red brick home is located at 171 East 73rd Street, between Lexington and Third avenues (which we included in our list of the prettiest streets on the Upper East Side).

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The historic structure is one of six modest brick row houses built on the block for E. H. Robbins, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). It’s one of just two that remain and comes with four outdoor spaces, “heated sidewalks,” wood and gas fireplaces, double-height ceilings and an elevator, according to the listing on Streeteasy. It sits back from the street, behind a front gate, and has an inviting front porch framed by intricate black decorative ironwork, which was restored at some point, according to the listing.

It comes with a whopping 7,100 square feet of living space including five bedrooms, six full bathrooms, two half-baths, a chef’s kitchen, family room, a formal living room and dining room, two sun terraces on the top floor, a media room, gym, wine cellar and tons of windows. A spiral staircase is lit by a skylight and wraps around a five-story ochre chandelier.

ALSO READ: Old Wooden Houses of the East Side

Much of the original architectural detail remains and the home was designated a historic landmark by the LPC in 1980. Some of the updates over the years have included the addition of a garden wall and vestibule in 1924 by then-owner Electus D. Litchfield (1872-1952), an architect who purchased it with his wife that year. Litchfield was a major figure in the urban planning movement of the early to mid 20th century, according to the LPC. He was also a champion of civil causes such as slum clearance, urban renewal, historic preservation and municipal beautification. His most famous urban renewal project was the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn.

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According to the LPC, many of the other original homes on the street were torn down and replaced by carriage houses for horses back when that was still the main mode of transportation in the city.

“East 73rd Street between Lexington and Third Avenues became a prime location for the construction of carriage houses and beginning in the 1880s the old rowhouses were replaced by carriage houses. With the construction of each new carriage house, the remaining residential buildings became less and less desirable until only a few remained. In the 1920s the private carriage houses (now garages) became too expensive to maintain, and many were converted to private stylish residences. This return to a residential character on the street made the remaining rowhouses more desirable and both houses at 171 and 175 East 73rd Street were purchased by prominent architects.”

The last time the home sold was in 2012 when it was purchased for about $6.4 million, according to Mansion Global.

The listing calls the home a “masterpiece” and “breathtaking in its simplicity and elegance.”


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  1. Don May 8, 2024

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