A Writer’s Book-Stuffed Greenwich Village Studio

The poet, professor, and translator Richard Howard passed away last March and spent many evenings at W.H. Auden's apartment in the East drinking and talking literature. But one night, he was distracted by Auden's library: The shelves had started overspilling, forming teetering piles. “Richard was already starting in that direction, and he decided he couldn't live that way,” says Howard's husband, artist David Alexander, who helped enforce a new rule: “One book in, one book out.” Over the years, the books that covered almost every square inch of Howard's apartment shifted almost imperceptibly. Almost nothing else did. Now, the railroad studio that Howard moved into in 1974 and bought when it went co-op in the 1980s is for sale for $525,000, a price his agent, Ippei Iwashiro, set low (the apartment directly above sold for $799,000 ) because he expects most buyers will want a major renovation. That future buyer may be drawn to nothing more than the building, an 1891 hat factory with an arched entryway that, like a French Quarter mansion, opens into a brick courtyard — private outdoor space blocks from Washington Square Park. “It's got that village charm,” explains Iwashiro, who says renovations at other units revealed exposed bricks, beams, and columns. When Howard moved in, he had already won a Pulitzer Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He came […] Books cover almost every square inch of the studio occupied by the poet, professor, and translator Richard Howard. Photo: Courtesy of Compass

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