Washington Heights townhouse comes with unexpected surprise: art by David Hammons

New York /
Mar.March 22, 2011 05:12 PM
From left: images from 444 West 162nd Street and 351 East 51st Street

When Pedro Noguera moved into a Washington Heights townhouse seven years ago, his children were thrilled to discover an oversized basketball hoop in the backyard.

“They were very excited,” recalled Allyson Pimental, Noguera’s wife. That is, until the family discovered that the over-sized hoop — decorated with multi-colored bottle caps — wasn’t actually meant for playing basketball. Rather, it was a sculpture by famed conceptual artist David Hammons.

alternate text

The sculpture is now for sale along with the house at 444 West 162nd Street near Jumel Terrace. Tracie Hamersley, a senior vice president at Citi Habitats, listed the 3,400-square-foot townhouse this week for $1.5 million, or $6,000 per month for rent.

Hammons is an African-American artist who became famous in the 1970s and 1980s for what he called “Dirty Art” in and around New York City. In 1978, for example, Hammons exhibited “Elephant Dung Sculptures,” balls of elephant dung on a toy cart, with toy elephants and peanuts. In 1983, he staged a sale of snowballs in Cooper Square.

Hammons declined to comment, but a spokesperson for the artist told The Real Deal that the sculpture in Noguera’s back yard was commissioned for the space for A.C. Hudgins, an investor and art collector who owned the townhouse in the 1980s. Hudgins — who was not immediately available for comment — is an enthusiastic collector of Hammons’ work, Pimental said.

A Hammons piece similar to the one installed at 444 West 162nd Street

The sculpture is very similar to one called “Higher Goals” that Hammons erected in 1986 in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn. Mounting basketball hoops on enormous telegraph poles — far too high for even professionals basketball players to reach — and covering them with multi-colored bottle caps in geometric patterns, the artist was making a statement about the difficulty urban teenagers face in achieving their dreams of basketball stardom.

“It’s an anti-basketball sculpture,” he reportedly said at the time. “Basketball has become a problem in the black community because kids aren’t getting an education. They’re pawns in someone else’s game. That’s why it’s called ‘Higher Goals.’ It means you should have higher goals in life than basketball.”

The sculpture was there when Noguera, a New York University professor, purchased the four-story, six-bedroom house in 2004, Pimental said. (According to city records listed on PropertyShark.com, he paid $1.395 million for it.)

Artist David Hammons

She added that the family has never determined how much the piece — which is still beautiful but has been “ravaged by time,”– might be worth. Because it is very firmly installed in their backyard, it would require a construction crew to move.

Intrigued as the adults were by the find, the youngest members of the family were not that impressed.

“They thought it was a cool-looking basketball hoop,” Pimental said. “The kids were very excited until they realize it wasn’t a working one — it was art.”

***

Deep-pocketed renters now have even more options to choose from.

A $50,000-per-month rental at the Beekman Regent in Turtle Bay hit the market yesterday, according to listing broker Dennis Hughes of the Corcoran Group.

The terrace at 351 East 51st Street

The duplex penthouse — on the top floor of the building — is owned by the building’s sponsor, Dennis Herman of Beekman International Center. Construction at the condominium, located at 351 East 51st Street, was completed about 10 years ago, Hughes said. Apartments there feature sterling silver and nickel faucets, and doorknobs crafted from 18-carat brushed gold.

This 4,473-square-foot penthouse has a private elevator entrance, five marble fireplaces, and river views from two wrap-terraces.

Hughes said the last time the unit came on the market in 2009, when it was listed for $39,999 per month, celebrities like Tom Cruise and Hugh Grant toured it. This time around, at least one diplomat has expressed interest so far.

“It’s a really ‘wow’ apartment,” Hughes said.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
49 East 10th Street and Barbara Corcoran (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)
Corcoran to shut down office in building partly owned by Barbara Corcoran
Corcoran to shut down office in building partly owned by Barbara Corcoran
Corcoran President & CEO Pamela Liebman (Credit: Corcoran, Getty Images)
Welcome to Queens: Corcoran opens first borough outpost
Welcome to Queens: Corcoran opens first borough outpost
Corcoran CEO & President Pamela Liebman (Credit: iStock)
Corcoran begins new lead-gen push via Facebook ads
Corcoran begins new lead-gen push via Facebook ads
(iStock)
Rents in New York and South Florida metros surged more than 30%, led nationwide rise
Rents in New York and South Florida metros surged more than 30%, led nationwide rise
How long does it take to lease an affordable housing project? Too long
Red tape keeping affordable units empty for 15 months
Red tape keeping affordable units empty for 15 months
Inventory is lighting a fire under rents (Getty)
Eviction bans squeezed supply, bringing rents to boil: report
Eviction bans squeezed supply, bringing rents to boil: report
Gov. Kathy Hochul, CHIP Executive Director Jay Martin, and RSA President Joseph Strasburg (Getty, Strasburg via Jeffersons Siegel)
Fudging the numbers? Landlords say NY gamed survey to save rent stabilization
Fudging the numbers? Landlords say NY gamed survey to save rent stabilization
The hot housing market means hefty rent rises aren’t just hitting new apartments
The hot housing market means hefty rent rises aren’t just hitting new apartments
The hot housing market means hefty rent rises aren’t just hitting new apartments
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...