Brokers & Owners: Promote your listings & more!
Sign up
Contact Us
CityRealty Logo
 
 
 
 
 
 
A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)
 
 

Features

Eloise, Harriet the Spy and Stuart Little all find themselves in a New York City setting Eloise, Harriet the Spy and Stuart Little all find themselves in a New York City setting
It is well known that Eloise lived in The Plaza. But the book was published in 1955, well before Manhattan real estate skyrocketed. So what would her apartment be worth today?

In fact, many children’s books have been set in New York City—think Harriet the Spy or Stuart Little. In this day and age of record-setting prices, how much would those fictional characters have to pay to live in their homes today? Who would have seen the most appreciation, Eloise or Lyle Crocodile?

Much detective work (à la Harriet) reveals the residences of a boy-mouse and a anthropomorphized girl dog span various neighborhoods including the Upper East Side, Gramercy Park, and Park Slope. What follows is a survey of six iconic picture books set in New York City and the current valuations of their fictional homes.

 

 

Eloise (The Plaza)

Eloise's room at The Plaza, the sherry netherland Eloise's room at The Plaza (l); The Sherry Netherland (r)
Eloise lived on the top floor of The Plaza. The only indication of which apartment she lived in is from one illustration.

The view from her window shows the top of a building that looks very similar to the Sherry Netherland’s distinctive minaret. That would mean Eloise’s apartment had an east view over Fifth Avenue.

The are currently 35 apartments for sale in The Plaza with prices ranging from $1,350,00 to $68,950,000. Despite its top floor location, this $68 million apartment is definitely not Eloise’s because if she had access to that insanely amazing penthouse terrace overlooking Central Park, she would have gotten up to much more dangerous shenanigans.
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Full Screen Photos
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image

Since Eloise had nannies, tutors and obviously a huge staff, we will assume her unit would have to be large to accommodate everyone. Therefore, we guess it would be comparable to one of the 6+ bedroom units which start at $20,900,000.

 

 

Stuart Little (Gramercy Park)

Stuart Little arriving at his soon-to-be Gramercy Park Home Stuart Little arriving at his soon-to-be Gramercy Park Home
Although E.B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, never lived on the exclusive keyed Gramercy Park, he clearly loved it. He and a friend once jumped the park fence and he wrote a poem about it called “Gramercy Park,” which was published by his employer, The New Yorker, in the 1920s.

In 1945, E.B. White set his story about a human boy born as a tiny, gray mouse who lived in a stately townhouse on Gramercy Park.

The only clues the text gives about where the house are White’s lines, “The home of the Little family was a pleasant place near a park in New York City. In the mornings, the sun streamed in through the east windows, and all the Littles were up early as a general rule.”

The real clues to the home’s location is from the Garth Williams’ illustrations.
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Full Screen Photos
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Arlene Harrison, the Gramercy Park Block Association President, a.k.a the “Mayor of Gramercy Park,” and board member Sean Thomas Brady agree the Littles’ house must be 4 Gramercy Park West, a Greek Revival townhouse.

Mr. Brady expanded, “The building at the end of the street is clearly inspired by 60 Gramercy Park North. If you eliminate the stairs down from the porch (maybe because it would make the building seem too unapproachable for a mouse), then the building does look a bit like 4. The one clear element of artistic license are the shadows. If we are looking north they should be on the far side of the objects, because the sun would be behind us, but the artist switched it by about 90 degrees.”
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Full Screen Photos
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Not only did a small boy-mouse live at 4 Gramercy Park West but so did James Harper, the former mayor of New York City and founder of the renowned publisher Harper & Son (now subsumed into HarperCollins). Incidentally, Harper & Son published Stuart Little.

Many claim the Littles lived at 22 Gramercy Park South but there is no evidence of this in the actual text and it does not match the illustrations. But, currently, half of 22 Gramercy Park South is currently for sale and asking price is $16,250,000.
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Full Screen Photos
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Today, 4 Gramercy Park West is split into six units—as with most townhomes on the park, which are no longer single family homes. If the gorgeous, five-story brick mansion was still a single-family home (and assuming it was in the pristine condition as 22 Gramercy Park South), it would most likely be worth more than twice 22 Gramercy Park South’s asking price.

Michael Graves, the Douglas Elliman listing broker for 22 Gramercy Park South said, “If it was converted into a singe family, it would be worth approximately $35 million in today's market, as there is less than a handful of homes on Gramercy that can be single family.”

 

 

Harriet the Spy (Yorkville, Upper East Side)

Harriet the Spy
Harriet Welsch is a precocious Upper East Side 11-year-old who spends most of the book wandering through her neighborhood (anchored around Carl Schurz Park) recording her friends’ and neighbors’ every move until they find out what she’s doing and all hell breaks loose.

The author, Louise Fitzhugh, lived on East 85th Street when she wrote the book so she clearly wrote what she knew. Harriet’s lives on “East Eighty-seventh Street in Manhattan.” Fitzhugh continues, “Harriet loved her room. It was small and cozy and the bathroom was a little one which looked out over the park across the street.” That would place Harriet’s house at 558 East 87th Street.
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Full Screen Photos
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
The Queen Anne style townhouse is part of the Henderson Place Historic District and described by the historic district as, “a tiny architectural gem tucked amidst the burgeoning city.” Only 24 of the original 32 homes originally built for “persons of moderate means” still stand lining the corner of East Avenue and East 87th Street. The homes all have arched entryways, terra cotta plaques, tiny square-paned windows, bays and oriel windows (windows that project out on upper levels).
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Full Screen Photos
 
 
 
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Enlarge Image
Harriet’s neighbor to the immediate west, 556 East 88th Street, is currently listed for $4,250,000. Described as, “a charming, four-story, single-family townhouse… at approximately 3,000 square feet, with four-bedrooms, two full bathrooms and three half baths.”

Harriet’s house would be worth more than 556 East 88th Street because it’s corner location has access to light on more sides and park views.

142 East End Avenue, a few houses down from Harriet’s on East End Avenue, and also a part of the Hendersen Place Historic District, is for sale with the listing price of $7,500,000.

With those two nearby home prices, we value Harriet’s home around $6 million.

Amazingly, the one thing Harriet the spy missed in all of her careful observations was that a crocodile lived a mere few blocks away.

 

 

Lyle Crocodile, Lyle Crocodile in tub, Lyle Crocodile illustration
Bernard Waber’s The House on East 88th Street is a children’s book about the Primm family who move into a elegant Upper East Side townhouse only to find that is already occupied by a crocodile. Clearly, this was quite a surprise and the Primm family was terrified for a few pages, only to discover that the crocodile was, in fact, incredibly nice, talented and eager to help. “He had won his way into their hearts and into their new home.”

The Primm family home is a three-story house has a wrought iron gate in front, a grand staircase that sweeps up to the second floor (with a uniformed maid waiting at the top), stately living and dining rooms, multiple fireplaces, and many bedrooms.
Lyle Crocodile's Townhouse
Lyle Crocodile's Townhouse
In Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (one of the many follow on books in the Lyle series), there is an illustration of Lyle standing outside his house and the townhouse next door is 234 East 88th Street. That places Lyle and the Primm’s house at 235 East 88th, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

The building was built in 1920 and currently has 17 units. Assuming it was still a single-family home and in good condition, similar homes in the Yorkville neighborhood are listed between $4,500,000 and $7,000,000.

So if the Primm’s still lived at East 88th Street (and it was in similar condition to those listed), it would be worth around $5 million.

 

 

Knuffle Bunny (Park Slope)

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
In typical Mo Willems’ style, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale is hysterical. It is a story of an overconfident Park Slope dad who takes his child with him to the laundromat and doesn’t notice when his daughter, Trixie, misplaces her most favorite bunny stuffed animal. Unlike the other books, this story blends illustrations with actual photographs, which made finding the real home much easier.
Image via GoogleMaps

Trixie and her parents live at 599 10th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues, one block from Prospect Park. The building is a two unit, multi-family home built in 1901 and it last sold in January 2002 for $879,000. The book was published in 2004 so the valuation today would be somewhere between $3 million and $4 million.

 

 

Lisa in New York (Tudor City)

Lisa in New York Book
Written by Anne Gutman and illustrated by her husband Georg Hallensleben (who both reside in Paris), Lisa in New York is a fun romp around New York City with a humanized girl dog, Lisa, who is visiting her Uncle Harrison in the big city.

After a cursory look at the two illustrations, Clifford E. Katz, founder and president of Manhattan-based Mobius Realty Holdings LLC, offered the following observations of their locale, “‎The skyline is a classic Midtown visual trope, with left-to-right representing being South-to-North. The cluster of midrise buildings punctuated by 2-3 notably higher skyscrapers, supports this inference. If the implied orientation is indeed south-to-north, it also follows that the implied point-of-view is likely from Midtown East, somewhere between Murray Hill to Turtle Bay. One can then presuming intuit that the tallest building is likely the Empire State [34th and 5th]. All reasonable, as Midtown West historically was not an affluent residential district. Finally, the window fenestration appears to be prewar [noted by divided lights], perhaps intending to represent a building in an architectural vernacular reminiscent of Tudor City.”

With the distinguished cravat-wearing uncle and the Warhol prints on the wall, we can presume this is a nice apartment. Since there is no mention of Lisa having to sleep on a couch while visiting him, then the apartment must have at least two bedrooms.
Lisa's view which is strikingly similar to the view seen off this two-bedroom at 25 Tudor City Place
25 Tudor City Place has a two-bedroom apartment currently on the market listed at $949,000, with strikingly similar views as Uncle’s Harrison’s.

The listing’s description boasts, “European ‘Am I in Paris?’ casement windows” which fits perfectly with the French author/illustrator duo but ends with, “Sorry no dogs.” Uncle Harrison would not be pleased.

In summary...

Stuart Little, the smallest character of all the books surveyed, lived in the most expensive house in the city.
Contributing Writer Michelle Sinclair Colman Michelle writes children's books and also writes articles about architecture, design and real estate. Those two passions came together in Michelle's first children's book, "Urban Babies Wear Black." Michelle has a Master's degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a Master's degree in the Cities Program from the London School of Economics.
Surround Yourself With Everything You Love at Jackson Park. View Property
Advertisement
Expansive NYC and Hudson River views with amazing amenities, nestled between Chelsea and Theater District View Property
{"version":"1.2.0","filters":{"registrationUserType":{"options":[{"label":"Buy","value":"buy","active":false},{"label":"Rent","value":"rent","active":false},{"label":"Sell","value":"ipo","active":false},{"label":"Agent","value":"broker","active":false}],"type":"select","name":"user type"},"registrationBedrooms":{"options":[{"label":"Studio","value":0,"active":false},{"label":"1 Bed","value":1,"active":false},{"label":"2 Beds","value":2,"active":false},{"label":"3 Beds","value":3,"active":false},{"label":"4 Beds","value":4,"active":false},{"label":"5+ Beds","value":10,"active":false}],"type":"select","name":"bedrooms"},"saleBuildingType":{"options":[{"label":"Condo","value":"condo","active":false},{"label":"Co-op","value":"coop","active":false},{"label":"Condop","value":"condo-coop","active":false},{"label":"Townhouse","value":"townhouse","active":false}],"type":"select","name":"building type"},"rentalBuildingType":{"options":[{"label":"Condo","value":"condo","active":false},{"label":"Co-op","value":"coop","active":false},{"label":"Condop","value":"condo-coop","active":false},{"label":"Rental","value":"rental","active":false}],"type":"select","name":"building type"},"registrationBuyersBudgets":{"options":[{"label":"<span class='up-to'>up to <\/span>$500K","value":500000,"active":false},{"label":"<span class='up-to'>up to <\/span>$750K","value":750000,"active":false},{"label":"<span class='up-to'>up to <\/span>$1.5M","value":1500000,"active":false},{"label":"<span class='up-to'>up to <\/span>$2.5M","value":2500000,"active":false},{"label":"<span class='up-to'>up to <\/span>$5M","value":5000000,"active":false},{"label":"<span class='up-to'>up to <\/span>$10M","value":10000000,"active":false},{"label":"<span class='up-to'>up to <\/span>$25M","value":25000000,"active":false},{"label":"no limit","value":50000000,"active":false}],"type":"select","name":"budget_buyer"},"registrationRentersBudgets":{"options":[{"label":"up to $2,000","value":2000,"active":false},{"label":"up to $4,000","value":4000,"active":false},{"label":"up to $6,000","value":6000,"active":false},{"label":"up to $8,000","value":8000,"active":false},{"label":"up to $10,000","value":10000,"active":false},{"label":"up to $25,000","value":25000,"active":false}],"type":"select","name":"budget_renter"},"registrationRegions":{"options":[{"id":1,"label":"Upper East Side","value":[3,4,8,9,34],"image":"https:\/\/ds3.cityrealty.com\/img\/f009c2ec3c97347fa5bd6ae37c0d85a2289faf1e+w+h+0+60\/upper-east-side.jpg"},{"id":2,"label":"Upper West Side","value":[10,11,14,16,17],"image":"https:\/\/ds2.cityrealty.com\/img\/df0e47bbc38552ece1dc102b411619fb4f509bee+w+h+0+60\/upper-west-side.jpg"},{"id":11,"label":"Midtown","value":[1,5,6,7,15],"image":"https:\/\/ds4.cityrealty.com\/img\/bbc6bccd6c96cd025f40fe9a3e210124a742dd42+w+h+0+60\/midtown.jpg"},{"id":3,"label":"Downtown","value":[21,23,24,25,26,28,30,31,32,33,39,40],"image":"https:\/\/ds3.cityrealty.com\/img\/77835ac8b10f7437f468f16073e8455b2697b1f7+w+h+0+60\/downtown.jpg"},{"id":13,"label":"Financial District\/BPC","value":[20,27],"image":"https:\/\/ds1.cityrealty.com\/img\/46d1cec3cdffe39d15e40a0d0d03e8bbe4998fab+w+h+0+60\/financial-district-bpc.jpg"},{"id":12,"label":"Upper Manhattan","value":[13,19,36,42,101],"image":"https:\/\/ds3.cityrealty.com\/img\/3dfca010ace6cb0aca5091064cc830dbfee70b2f+w+h+0+60\/upper-manhattan.jpg"},{"id":4,"label":"Brooklyn","value":[201,204,206,207,209,210,211,213,215,219,223,231,232,233,237,238,1200,1415,1421,1565],"image":"https:\/\/ds3.cityrealty.com\/img\/e863ea530699d71fdd61e1887f27c0dd50dc28be+w+h+0+60\/brooklyn.jpg"},{"id":5,"label":"Queens","value":[1483],"image":"https:\/\/ds3.cityrealty.com\/img\/a402bb6e13af8ade973b6c8a5812df054c75cf1b+w+h+0+60\/queens.jpg"},{"id":18,"label":"Bronx","value":[406],"image":"https:\/\/ds2.cityrealty.com\/img\/19a9137cad718b7872ff1a420c0f72128ac03fea+w+h+0+60\/bronx.jpg"}],"open":false,"name":"Regions"}},"invitedUserInfo":null}