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.