Living In History: Keeping Up With The Times In Lenox Hill

The townhome on East 72nd Street, listed for $9.88 million, has changed through the decades but still retains a few ties to the early 1900s.

When this townhouse in New York City’s Lenox Hill area was built in 1901, the so-called Gibson Girl look set the standard for beauty, the electric vacuum cleaner had just been invented and early American automobiles called runabouts were starting to populate the roadways.

Changes were underway that were rapidly transforming the way Americans lived – especially in the increasing comfort of their own homes.

Updated throughout the years, the 5,000-square-foot residence today features state-of-the-art appliances, modern finishes and a highly coveted amenity on Manhattan’s Upper East Side: a private parking garage.

Double-height ceilings top a bank of arched windows to bring light and a view of the 40-foot-long rear garden into the first-floor living room. Ringed with planters, the yard includes two seating areas, a fountain, a stainless-steel grill and storage.

A garden patio ringed with planters highlights the outdoor footprint of the Upper East Side townhouse.

Other focal points of the 21-foot-tall living room are elegant chandeliers and a baronial fireplace, where generations of owners no doubt lingered on cold evenings. A foyer, powder room and ample closet space complete this level.

The open dining room and kitchen on the second floor take in the natural light from the grand living space below. A center island and two corner banquets make the modernized space a comfortable spot for gathering and casual conversation.

Where an old-fashioned icebox and early gas stove once served are top-of-the-line appliances, a six-burner professional range and a temperature-controlled wine fridge.

The primary bedroom on the third level contains a terrace facing the garden and an en-suite bathroom with a deep soaking tub, a separate shower and dual sinks. A second bedroom on this floor could be used as an office or home gym.

Two more en-suite bedrooms occupy the top floor, which also houses the washer and dryer. Additional storage can be found in the basement.

Listed at $9.88 million, the residence contains a total of four bedrooms, three full bathrooms and a powder room.

Museums and shopping are nearby. Set between Central Park and Lycee Francaise De New York in Manhattan, 236 East 72nd Street is listed with Jason Haber of Warburg Realty, a member of Forbes Global Properties.

What changes will the next owners bring when the house turns 120? The possibilities abound as the property includes unused air rights, meaning an upward expansion could be in the future.


During four decades of covering luxury and celebrity housing, I’ve looked into people’s homes, lives and property records through many lenses. I was the Los Angeles Times Real Estate section editor for eight years, the Hot Property columnist for six and did stints as a newspaper reporter, copy editor and page designer. My work for The Times Business, Home and Real Estate sections has garnered in-house and national awards for blogging, editing and feature writing.

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