Walt Whitman, Truman Capote, Simon Rich–Brooklyn Heights has long been home to some of New York’s best-known writers. Now, America’s oldest suburb can welcome Austin Ratner to its ranks.
A Johns Hopkins-trained doctor, Mr. Ratner has penned the textbook Concepts in Medical Physiology as well as the far less technical The Jump Artist, a novel about postwar photographer Philippe Halsman that has been praised by Harper’s, among others. Yet it stands to reason that it is family connections as much as book royalties helping to pay for the stunning five-story home at 96 Joralemon Street. According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Mr. Ratner is the stepson of James Ratner, who is an executive at Cleveland-based Forest City and cousin to Brooklyn macher Bruce Ratner.
The home’s former owner also happens to be a writer, Karla Kuskin, who authored more than 50 books for children, according to The Times. Kuskin died in 2009, and her family put the 4,630-square-foot Federalist-style home on the market last February for $3.6 million and cut the price twice to $3.2 million in September. Mr. Ratner and his wife Kristin paid exactly $3 million, according to city records.
Undoubtedly, the 24-foot-wide townhouse’s defining feature is a grand bay window on the third floor, part of an owner’s triplex that sits atop a two-bedroom parlour floor apartment and a doctor’s office on the garden level. Period details abound, as detailed in the Corcoran listing from Kim Soule and Lucy Perry: “The leaded front vestibule doors tastefully open onto the parlor floor apartment which boasts period parquet floors, two ornate decorative fireplaces, lovely stained glass windows, two bedrooms and a full bath. The upper triplex is flooded with light and has beautiful parquet floors, two decorative and one working marble fireplace.”