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He lived in Brooklyn. By choice.
And now, just 45 years after Truman Capote occupied the garden apartment in his famed “House on the Heights” — with its famous opening line — the Willow Place townhouse can be yours, for just $18 million.
If the 11-bedroom mansion sells, it will be the most expensive house in the borough’s history.
“There’s already considerable interest — really it’s just a privilege to sell this house,” said Karen Heyman, the Sotheby’s broker selling the three-story Greek Revival manse at 70 Willow St. “It’s really just beautiful.”
If these walls could talk, they’d tell stories of killer cocktail parties with Capote, who rented the ground-floor apartment from 1955-65, well after he had established himself on the New York literary scene. Once ensconced in the Heights, Capote set to work on his best-known books — banging out “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood” on the porch by day, and bringing down the house with his soirées by night.
The $18-million asking price may be high, but the home comes with some additional history. It was previously owned by art director Oliver Smith, who would go on to design the set for the theatrical version of“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” a year after Capote moved in.
The home is now owned by writer and photographer Nicholas Callaway — he refused to comment — who bought it in 1998 with a $1.25-million mortgage. Callaway carved out two more units in the building three years ago.
In his book, Capote describes Brooklyn Heights with sarcastic disdain: a “splendid contradiction.” His home, however, was his sanctuary.
“It stands atop a cliff that secures a sea-gull’s view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, of Lower Manhattan’s tall dazzle and the ship-lane waters,” Capote wrote.
Heyman said she’s confident about selling the most expensive home in Brooklyn — with an incredible walled garden, sunny color, its own parking garage and a back porch — but it’s had trouble on the market before. In 2007, it went on the market as a rental at $40,000 per month, after it failed to sell.
Now, brokers are taking the history angle.
“It’s like living in a country estate in Brooklyn — with a lot more history,” Heyman said.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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