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The Strange Case of NYC's Graffiti'd, 72-Room Mansion

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"The greatest real estate coup of all time." "A 72-room Bohemian dream house." These are some of names bestowed on 190 Bowery, the mysterious 37,000-square-foot bank-turned-private-home of photographer Jay Maisel, who purchased the building for a mere $102K in 1966. When the property finally sold for an undisclosed amount in September (though it's been valued at $50M), it looked like the developer who snatched it up would surely convert it into luxury condos or an art gallery, familiar fates for old buildings in NYC. But as Curbed NY reports today, the building is already back on the market, adding another perplexing piece to this lingering enigma.

Washed in graffiti on the exterior, the building might look like an abandoned ruin to passersby, but as exposed in a New York Magazine feature years ago, the six-story house is actually more like an artist dream world, where "hallways go on forever" and entire floors are used as gallery spaces and workshops. As liberating as the place is, it's also openly crumbling. The interior's been left mostly unchanged since its bank days, and a stellar sign of the Maisel's patchwork approach to upkeep is perhaps the house's "air conditioning" system comprised of "a building-wide network of giant plastic tubing."

The big change-of-hands in September came after months of courtship by RFR Realty. Seemingly determined to turn the building around, RFR co-founder Aby Rosen told the Times, "The building is in terrible shape. There's no heat, Jay lives in just a small area of the building, another winter is coming, and it was time." So why flip before winter even arrived? Curbed NY suggests it could be that RFR was able to negotiate a lower-than-market-value price. Whatever the case, the mystery of 190 Bowery persists for now, and probably will until it's turned into condos...eventually.

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· Graffiti-Covered Bowery Home Already Back on the Market [Curbed NY]
· All 190 Bowery coverage [Curbed NY]
· NYC's 72-Room 'Bohemian Dream House' Was Just the Cutest [Curbed National]