Wednesday, September 21, 2011

104 E. 10th

The last bohemian has been booted from the most elegant block of E. 10th Street. A TOWNHOUSE FOR SALE sign has gone up on 104 E. 10th and the listing states: "Now delivered vacant, this four story 18.5-foot wide frontage home can be rebuilt into a jewel that matches its setting."



"Vacant" means that there's no Edgar Oliver inside anymore and that's a pity. I guess the realtors didn't think 104 was a jewel with Mr. Oliver residing there, though many would disagree.

A beloved playwright, poet, and performance artist, Oliver has been called "the kind of legend that inspires people to move to New York" by the Village Voice. He lived in the house, formerly a rooming house, for many years. He wrote and performed about his life there in the acclaimed theatrical memoir "East 10th Street: Self Portrait With Empty House," which the Times called "sweet and sinister." (And there's an extensive interview with him in Goodie from our friend Romy, who also informs us that Mr. Oliver has been relocated to an apartment further down the Lower East Side.)

Watch him talking about the house and its strange and amazing tenants in his hypnotic monster-movie voice:



(Here's another video, reading "Donuts Luncheonette" at home, and the trailer for The Hermit.)

I don't know Mr. Oliver, but I liked walking that block of fussy, recently renovated beauty queens, seeing the one shabby old survivor, and looking up at its only inhabited windows, lit by Oliver's strings of Christmas lights, knowing he was up there writing, or doing whatever he did, just not being someone humdrum.

It was a comfort.

Now I suppose some god-awful heiress will move in with her zombie husband and hollow-eyed children to fill the place with their flat-screen lives. This is how it goes.


Edgar Oliver on 10th, by Andrew Lachance

"On one of the finest blocks in the East Village," says the realtor's listing, "this building is located at the epicenter of this vibrant neighborhood." Of course, the neighborhood is less vibrant without Mr. Oliver in it.

The owner is asking $5,600,000.00.

16 comments:

Ennuipoet said...

"Now I suppose some god-awful heiress will move in with her zombie husband and hollow-eyed children to fill the place with their flat-screen lives. This is how it goes."

That is, perhaps, the saddest statement on modern New York I've ever read. A very Vonnegut way to put it.

EV Grieve said...

And conveniently located one townhouse away from an NYU dorm.

How many homes are for sale along here now? 5? 6?
NOT that there's a connection.

Any idea where Mr. Oliver relocated?

kredge said...

"This is how it goes"....I understand that things go in circles. One can only hope that the artistic, creative, eccentric and endlessly fascinating New York City will return someday.

In the meantime, where do these people go?

Jeremiah Moss said...

Mr. Oliver has been relocated to Attorney Street. not bad at all in terms of location. hopefully, he's comfortable there, but i doubt they moved him into a big, haunted house full of stories.

Ken Mac said...

"zombie husband and hollow-eyed children" A city full of em!

glamma said...

why did he have to leave?

Goggla said...

I hope it doesn't suffer the same fate as 331 E 6th St.

Jeremiah Moss said...

glamma, i guess he had to go because the building was being sold.

goggla, i doubt it. everything on this block appears to get gutted and turned into opulent, single-family townhouses.

Marty Wombacher said...

I loved that clip, what a fantastic story-teller and a great voice. I moved here to meet people like this and be inspired by them, sadly they appear to be vanishing and in their place we have IHOPS and T.G.I. Fridays and 7-11's, oh my.

RLs. said...

you are all so negative. it was not nice to evict him. & he has relocated thats good. but remember the townhouse on e.7th? (i think). it was either on this site or EVgrieve? the new owners were in the arts? everyone was wishing death on these people? single family townhouses are great because most of then were built for "one" single family. i grew up in an old house in new york. this one could have been built rooming house, or became one. in any event, when the townhouses were turned into little cubical rental apts, that was a problem too. this killed the east 50s, but no one here remembers that. you all think the world began... when??? oh yes the 90s the 90s the 90s the 90s. you dont know who will buy this property. i do hope it is a single family or @least they sell each floor. personally i wouldnot want to live near a dorm. & i hope this will NOT be one. an heiress is better than college kids.

Anonymous said...

i played the video 'donut shop" it was really boring. i couldnt listen to more than 1/2 minute. sorry, he may be a nice person- but im not getting this..........

Anonymous said...

This house is the part of the Bill Gottlieb estate and was his only property in the East Village. It was the subject of years of litigation. The victor in that litigation appears to live in a land of delusion, since beautify ("fussy") homes on the block are for sale for substantially less. So we shall see it remain vacant, deteriorate even more and cause damage to its neighbors, like 110 and 106 (both owned by an infamous slumlord and rendered near vacant in a grandious condo conversion plan)

Michael Simmons said...

In 2004, I had the good fortune to spend an evening with Edgar and friends at 104. E. 10th Street. In addition to being a fine writer and lovely guy, Edgar's the kind of singular character that made New York special.

To put it simply -- and as everyone on this site knows -- greed is killing off New York City. What is the answer?

Anonymous said...

RLs, some of us on here have been living in Manhattan for 40 years of our adult lives, so no, it's NOT just "the '90's", and you can get down off your high horse now.

Yes, I'm sure you wouldn't want to live near a dorm - neither do the rest of us, but someone has to.

You sound veddy, veddy stuffy; I imagine you are on the upper East Side, because it's evident you don't have any idea of what it's like to actually live in the East Village over the past 40+ years.

Anonymous said...

I always really liked walking past there and seeing the crumbly neglected building on an otherwise fancy block. I didn't know about Mr. Oliver- but I'm sorry he's been moved out. However- I agree with the poster who said it will sit vacant. 5.6M for a (probably) falling down building is a lot to ask. So we might have a few years yet before your zombies move in. Though sadly Mr. Oliver does not.

Carol Gardens said...

Edgar is also now known for his appearances on ODDITIES and the well-delivered line "Is... that... a... straightjacket?"