84-YEAR-OLD WOMAN DIES, LEAVING $28.43/MO GREENWICH VILLAGE APT
If you know New York City you know about crazy rent prices. Just a generation ago, most single earner families had no trouble living and working in New York City. But rent prices have jumped insanely in most American cities. There was a time when New York City tried to keep housing affordable for more people than it does today. They called one such program rent control. That meant that rent couldn’t get jacked up much at all, even over years. Almost all of these have long expired, along with the folks who had the leases. So it’s shocking, shocking, to get such a reminder of just how low those rents were, as recently as this past March. We just got one when 84-year-old Patricia O’Grady passed away two months ago. That’s when we learned her Greenwich Village apt rent was only $28.43/mo at the time of her death.
WOMAN REFUSED TO HAVE HEAT, HOT WATER INSTALLED SINCE 1955
Greenwich Village is not a cheap neighborhood these days. She moved in back in 1955, along with three other young actresses. Her apartment was a “cold-water flat.” It was likely the last such in all of New York. A cold-water flat is an apartment with no heat or hot water. Adam Pomerantz bought O’Grady’s building back in 2002. When he tried to install these basic amenities in O’Grady’s apartment, she told him “What you’re doing to me is torturing me. Please leave the apartment as is.” So he stopped trying. But Pomerantz is a bit of a miser. He raised her rent once since 2002. She used to pay $26.45.
LANDLORD LOOKS TO UPDATE APARTMENT, SET NEW RENT AT $5,000/MO
Pomerantz will have some work to do. The apartment has had no upgrades for over 60 years. He’ll need to add heat and hot water lines. Pretty much all the old woodwork will have to go. New kitchen across the board. Bathroom too. The electrics are also likely to be just a bit outdated. But all the effort to modernize the apartment should pay dividends really fast. Pomerantz expects to get about $5,000 a month for this Greenwich Village apt now that it is no longer rent controlled. That’s just slightly more than $28.43/mo, right?