Neighborhood Intel

Durst's Harlem townhouse, also Jinxed?

By Jennifer Laing  | March 16, 2015 - 4:15PM

We're still recovering from the hot-mic drop that rang around TV land on last night's finale of HBO's The Jinx, coupled with the fact that Robert Durst himself was arrested over the weekend. Which led us to think: Where does he live in the city? And what secrets does this house keep? In keeping with the notorious reputation of its owner, Durst’s Harlem townhouse, located at 218 Lenox Avenue, has also had a colorful  past.

First, the good: Back on March 1, 1893, according to the New York TimesMrs. Abraham Steers hosted a colonial tea in her home at 218 Lenox Avenue for the benefit of the Colonial Chapter Charity Fund of the Daughters of the Revolution. Admission was $1 and $500 was raised for the charity. The ladies were dressed in gowns of their great-grandmothers and all visitors received a souvenir cup and saucer.

Then things took a turn for the seedy: On October 21, 1921, two men and a women held up 50 patrons of the s. and s. dining room—a restaurant, located in the basement of the building—at gunpoint. The woman, described as “well dressed” by The New York Times, wore a seal-skin coat, but no hat. The men were caught and held on $25,000 bail. The woman escaped—with $122. And from February of 1960 to May of 1961, Mrs. Augusta Redman, the then-landlady of the building, was charged and fined repeatedly for multiple dwelling law violations.

Since then, things seem to have been relatively quiet for the landmark mansion that’s currently divided into three rental apartments and one commercial unit. It’s been charged with only one violation, per, for a garbage/rubbish issue, dating back to 1988. Given the current owner, who knows what other secrets could be concealed within its walls?


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