A Tiny Slice of New York City
April 6, 2012 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Pomander Walk is a play. It's (pdf) also a small, hidden street in New York City.
posted by deborah (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
A similar "hidden" Manhattan street is Washington Mews, now used mostly for the NYU foreign languages departments.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:22 PM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

There's a secret Pomander Walk in Georgetown in DC, too!
posted by argonauta at 6:32 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are actually quite a few of those "hidden" or cloistered neighborhoods on the west side, even more as you go up.
posted by The Whelk at 6:45 PM on April 6, 2012

From the Curbed link:
This renovated three-story 3BR, 2.5BA house is priced at $2.295 million, and checks in at 1,550 square feet.

Ouch. My brain just can't process prices like that. Where does money like that come from? Everybody in NY can't be a hedge fund manager, can they?
posted by octothorpe at 6:59 PM on April 6, 2012

I'm squeeing like a little girl here. I love places like this.
posted by gamera at 7:00 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

From the realtor's link: Features include an open cook's kitchen, dining room, and the feeling of superiority attained by owning a piece of Upper West Side history.

Now, I know people can be smug and shallow, but you'd think that *someone* at the realty company would've stopped for a minute and said "do we really want to phrase it like that? Superiority?"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:03 PM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Every time I walk past Pomander Walk, I linger by the gate a bit. I keep waiting for a 1950s-era milkman to walk out and hold the gate for me. I will nod my head thanks and then quickly slip in with my hands in my pockets whistling, acting like I belong there. I will then sit down on a bench in the interior courtyard and read the newspaper until some elderly Pomander-anian keels over and drops the keys to their home in my lap.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 7:19 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

My brain just can't process prices like that. Where does money like that come from? Everybody in NY can't be a hedge fund manager, can they?
posted by octothorpe

There's an awful lot of people with an awful lot of money in NYC... If you're buying - and particularly something as novel as that place - 2.295 million isn't a big deal. I still think its insane though, that where I live, merely 8 miles away in a straight line, I got a a 3 floor, 2.5 bath Victorian with almost 7,000 square feet for 325K. The difference is crazy... Location, location, location.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:37 PM on April 6, 2012

Sorry, didn't mean to derail. Cool little neighborhood with a neat history.
posted by octothorpe at 8:14 PM on April 6, 2012

gamera: "I'm squeeing like a little girl here. I love places like this."

That was my reaction, gamera!
posted by deborah at 8:15 PM on April 6, 2012

I also love places like this. There is also Sniffen Court, with its charmingly haughty name and prized location.
posted by Anitanola at 8:27 PM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

How did I manage to live a block from Sniffen Ct for a couple years and not know it existed? I guess these things are easier to find thanks to the internet!
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:13 PM on April 6, 2012

Would it be cost-effective to build something like this today? Probably. Would people be interested? Probably. Would it be permitted? Not a chance in hell. Too bad.

People say "location, location, location", but every location was once a non-location. Unfortunately, I think we have decided as a society that it's important to impose so many rules that no new 'locations' are being created. As a result, the locations that do exist get further and further out of reach of the ordinary person.
posted by alexei at 11:13 PM on April 6, 2012

People say "location, location, location", but every location was once a non-location.

The secret, if you're not a hedge fund manager, is to guess in advance which non-locations will become a location. Usually it's a slum, but one with interesting housing stock. You still need to be able to afford a non-location building and be able to hold on to the building until it becomes a location. There will be many others competing with you at this game.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:38 AM on April 7, 2012

Scouting New York is the primo site for spotlighting these incredible NYC locations.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:09 AM on April 7, 2012

I used to live at Pomander Walk - actually in one of the small Tudors on 95th Street and not on the mews, but we still had keys to the Walk. New York is a city of tiny homes, and these go even further than that - they're practically dollhouses. A typical bedroom can hold a bed and a dresser, but good luck fitting a chair in. If you are lucky enough to have a dining room, chances are your living room is on another floor. And up until a few years ago you could not have a washer/dryer or a dishwasher, though before I left they had modified that to allow one or the other per floor (great if you own the whole house, many of which are single-family, but less helpful if you're only in a 1-floor apartment). I remember one of the single-family homes was actually a 4 bedroom, but the only way to get to the fourth bedroom up in the attic was via a steep ladder-like stairway in the middle of the third (master) bedroom.

Since we didn't actually live on the mews, we rarely went in and never spent time on the benches there - the place was like a giant fishbowl, with everyone's windows about two inches away from the walkway, and their neighbors right across the way. Even when we would take our visiting friends through just for a look, you always had the sense that right behind the lace curtains, people were watching, judging, maybe even timing you for lollygagging since part of the co-op agreement was an understanding that these are peoples' homes and not a museum built for lookyloos. They also apparently had rules for residents of the mews to rival the worst HOA's when it came to what you could plant or put in your windows, but since we faced the street, they didn't affect us. Our downstairs neighbor at the time was a lovely 89-year-old chain smoker right out of Central Casting. We had hoped to buy her ground floor 2-bedroom unit whose shutters were always kept closed because otherwise tourists would go right up and take photos into her living room, so it got no light. We were hoping to combine it with ours to make a bigger home, and she responded with no irony, "Give me a million dollars." I'm pretty sure she's still there, God bless her.

It was totally, totally worth it.
posted by Mchelly at 9:47 PM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

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