Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Perry Street Was Flourishing Romantic Mecca For Love & Art

Far and Away: Harold Eliot Leeds and
Wheaton Galentine NOT on Perry Street.
(Photo: Harold Leeds Estate)
"The house where Carrie Bradshaw lived, supposedly on the Upper East Side but actually at 66 Perry Street in the West Village, still draws a steady stream of Sex and the City fans. They snap photos of the row house, which was built in 1866, as if to partake in the fictional life of a New York writer and the foibles of her quest for lasting romance. But a real New York romance played out at the house next door, No. 64, whose plainer facade served as Carrie’s building for the first three seasons of the show, said Tim Gunn, the fashion executive who lived in an apartment there for 16 years. It lasted almost six decades, linking two men from their first meeting at the Rockefeller Center skating rink during World War II until one of them, Harold Eliot Leeds, an architect and professor of interior design at
Sirens of Perry Street: Carrie Bradshaw on left (played by
Sarah Jessica Parker) and Tim Gunn on right.
Pratt, died in 2002. Inasmuch as Sex and the City opened a window on a certain kind of life in New York, so too does that town house, now on the market for $8.5 million, with its connection to a Village that persists only in memory and imagination, a place that was a magnet and haven for people living outside the mainstream at a time when the idea of two men, or women, marrying was inconceivable....Mr. Leeds, who designed the Paris Theater, the Caribe Hilton in San Juan and Martha Graham’s dance studio, and Mr. Galentine, who made documentary films, many focused on architecture, turned their visual sensibilities toward the house, restoring its architectural features but adding distinctive modernist furnishings. Over the years, Mr. Leeds, who is remembered as a big man with a big,
The most famous exterior on
Perry Street today: Number 66 .
broad personality, taught interior design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he helped establish the graduate school of interior design. Mr. Galentine was quieter, but possessed what the couple's longtime neighbor described as a puckish sense of humor. Endlessly hospitable, the two liked to entertain, playing host to neighbors stopping by for tea or a cocktail, and having dinner parties with the artists, writers and poets who populated their neighborhood, talking about opera or ballet or the theater. They also liked to travel, Mr. Skovgaard said, to Martha’s Vineyard, all over Europe and eventually Southeast Asia." [Source]