Inheritance For Sale: This Chelsea Townhouse May Be the Best Deal in Real Estate History—Also, the Saddest

As it turned out, Ms. Greenfield couldn’t even afford to stay in Chelsea. And even with her extended deadline of 11 months, it was difficult for her to leave the house where she’d lived with Ms. Molloy for decades.

“I had to get out in a hurry, I had to get all my things in a mad rush,” she said. “It was terrible.”

Fortunately, she was not without friends. Jassondra Luchtman, the home health aide who had nursed Ms. Molloy, then helped to care for Ms. Greenfield as her health declined, invited her to move in with her. The women now share an apartment in Queens.

“Since I’ve known them we were always like best friends,” Ms. Luchtman said, who has spent more than 14 years caring for the two women.

“Marion couldn’t do without this lady at all,” Ms. Luchtman continued. “She’d leave for one moment and Marion would be looking for her, asking for her.”

“I would never let her go in the street, I would never let her live in a home,” Ms. Luchtman said. “We live like family.”

Ms. Greenfield remains committed to her music; right now, she’s working on a musical about Mary Lincoln. She still plays the piano, even though she doesn’t have one in her new apartment.

“The piano was Marion’s, it was a concert grand,” Ms. Greenfield said. “I don’t need a concert grand but I’m without the piano and trying to get one for reasonable.”

She paused.

“It’s one of the things I miss, the piano.”

When we reached Mr. Guerrieri on the phone a few weeks later, he was willing (or resigned) to discuss the history of the house. To him, the transaction has more to do with Chelsea, and how it has changed, than anything else. It was a real estate investment that had panned out.

“The simple version was that we had a contract to buy at the market value,” he said, noting that the courts had resolved the question and ruled that he was correct.

But was it fair, we asked?

“That’s what we agreed to and they agreed to; it’s what the parties could agree to.”

But was it fair?

A long pause. “Yes,” he finally replied. “Some areas grow in value, some don’t grow in value, some go down in value.”

“It worked out for them,” Mr. Guerrieri explained. “Marion got to live there her whole life and so did Lucille, really.”

Inheritance For Sale: This Chelsea Townhouse May Be the Best Deal in Real Estate History—Also, the Saddest