Asking rent halved for home of late ‘West Side Story’ playwright Arthur Laurents

Also on Saint Luke’s Place, Robert De Niro’s townhouse went into contract
By Katherine Clarke | June 25, 2012 05:30PM

Within 10 days of going on the rental market, 9 Saint Luke’s Place — a West Village townhouse once owned by “West Side Story” playwright and “The Way We Were” screenwriter Arthur Laurents — has dropped its asking rent by almost half.

The property, which was asking $35,000 a month when it first came on the market on June 23, is now listed for just $18,000 a month with Leslie Mason and Kevin Landers of Prudential Douglas Elliman, according to, 48.5 percent less than the original ask.

“We ultimately decided it wasn’t the right price,” Mason told The Real Deal.

The 21-foot-wide townhouse, which was owned by Laurents’ family for 50 years, was purchased by SLP Holdings, LLC earlier this month for $10 million, following the death of Laurents in May 2011. The house was sold by the playwright’s estate and David Saint, an artistic director based in New Jersey and a friend of Laurents.

The 1860s townhouse, which has an oversized living room that opens onto a large garden, is located on one of New York City’s most star-studded streets. Former New York Mayor Jimmy Walker, American artist Paul Cadmus and Modernist poet Marianne Moore have all lived there. The exterior of A Townhouse On The Street was used for the Huxtable family’s home on “The Cosby Show” (though the 1980s sitcom was set in brownstone Brooklyn).

But Saint Luke’s Place may be losing its most high-profile resident. According to, Robert De Niro, who was listing his townhouse at 14 Saint Luke’s Place with broker son Raphael De Niro for $9.99 million, has found a buyer. The purchaser went into contract on the property June 6, shows.

Raphael De Niro was not immediately available for comment.

The former Laurents property at 9 Saint Luke’s Place has four bedrooms, 4.5 baths and eight marble mantles. Laurents lived there with his partner Tom Hatcher until Hatcher’s death in 2006. It was not immediately clear when or for how much he had purchased the property – suffice to say, it was before the digitization of public records.

The new asking rent is more in line with the asking rents of comparable properties in the neighborhood, such as a three-bedroom townhouse at 61 Perry Street and a five-bedroom property at 251 West 11th Street, which are listed for $19,000 and $20,000 respectively.