Dorothy Parker’s Childhood Home Could Be Torn Out

parker Dorothy Parkers Childhood Home Could Be Torn Out

Parker's place and the offending highrise next door (Photo from DNAinfo)

Although Harold Ross’ home may soon find a new loving owner, it seems that a residence belonging to his friend and colleague Dorothy Parker will meet a more tragic fate. An Upper West Side home, located at 214 West 72 Street, where the author and literary critic lived as a child, may soon be demolished, DNAinfo reports. The home suffered heavy damage during the construction of The Corner, a massive highrise recently erected next door.

Apparently amidst The Corner’s construction, a wall of Parker’s former home was punctured, this adding to cracking plaster and a flood-prone basement. The landlord is using this as the perfect opportunity to replace the four-story rowhouse with a 12-story apartment building. Was New York so crazy during Parker’s time?

While some Parker enthusiasts and literary aficionados lament the plan, others say that the home is of little historical import. The author lived in several New York homes throughout her life, many of which have been better preserved. Parker lived in the building on West 72nd Street only for a few years as a child, and apparently had very unhappy memories of the place. Marion Meade, an Upper West Sider who penned a biography of Parker explained the context to DNAinfo:

The writer’s mother died while she was living in the West 72nd Street house, and Parker, who later attempted suicide and struggled with alcoholism, spent her entire life trying to overcome the trauma, Meade said.

The Parkers moved out of 214 W. 72nd Street because it carried too many bad memories, according to Meade.

Nonetheless, Dorothy Parker was one of the most significant characters in New York’s Jazz age literary scene, and historians will likely put up a fight over the building. In any case, the conflict gives us just one more reason to hate the neighborhood-consuming highrise that is The Corner.

eknutsen@observer.com

Comments

  1. Marion Meade says:

    “…a home chamber of horrors, modified a bit for family use.” –Dorothy Parker, “The Wonderful Old Gentleman”