The story of the tiny houses in the shadows of Rockefeller Plaza

It’s a heroic tale of holding out against big development

TRD New York /
Oct.October 29, 2016 06:24 PM

Hiding in plain site, two townhouses stand amongst the skyscrapers of Rockefeller Plaza. But why? How did they survive? We have answers.

Apparently back in 1892, Paddy Daly, Daniel Hurley and Connie Hurley signed a long-term lease on the property at 1240 Sixth Avenue where they opened a popular Irish pub called Hurley’s. It even operated as a speakeasy during prohibition, according to Scouting NY.

Rockefeller then acquired the building during his Midtown buying spree at the end of the Great Depression. However, the pub’s lease was rock solid.

The pub owners made asked for a $250 million buyout — the initial estimate of what the entire Rockefeller Center complex would cost to build, according to Scouting NY. Obviously, Rockefeller said no. So they stayed.

The other building at 1258 Sixth Avenue was owned by a man named John F. Maxwell, who refused to sell to Rockefeller. So, Rockefeller was forced to build between the two tiny buildings. [Scouting NY] –Christopher Cameron

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