The 72-Room Bohemian Dream House | Via
The building at 190 Bowery is a mystery: a graffiti-covered Gilded Age relic, with a beat-up wooden door that looks like it hasn’t been opened since La Guardia was mayor. A few years ago, that described a lot of the neighborhood, but with the Bowery Hotel and the New Museum, the Rogan and John Varvatos boutiques, 190 is now an anomaly, not the norm. Why isn’t some developer turning it into luxury condos?
Because Jay Maisel, the photographer who bought it 42 years ago for $102,000, still lives there, with his wife, Linda Adam Maisel, and daughter, Amanda. It isn’t a decrepit ruin; 190 Bowery is a six-story, 72-room, 35,000-square-foot (depending on how you measure) single-family home.
“I can’t believe it,” says Corcoran’s Robby Browne, an expert in downtown real estate. “I thought it was vacant.”
The house now feels like a dream world, or a benign version of the vast hotel in The Shining. Hallways go on forever. Rooms are filled with projects in various phases of completion. The renovations, mostly done by Maisel, are very “artists live here.” The air-conditioning, for example, is a building-wide network of giant plastic tubing (the kind used to ventilate greenhouses) that funnels cool air from six units, one on each floor. “It would have cost thousands to put in central air when I moved in,” he explains. The Mylar shades on the windows help keep the heat out; he and Linda make them in one of the rooms on the fifth floor.