If you find yourself strolling down historic Bedford Street in the West Village on the lookout for No. 75, don’t walk too fast—an extra step or two and you just might miss the skinniest townhouse in New York.
The iconic 1873 structure at 75 1/2 Bedford measures 9 feet across, just shy of the 18-foot average of a city townhouse. Originally a carriage entryway leading to the stables behind the neighboring property, the red brick residence is sandwiched like a thin spread of jam between numbers 75 and 77. Over the centuries, this diminutive townhouse served as a shoemaker’s shop and sweets factory before becoming home to Village luminaries like poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, anthropologist Margaret Mead and actor Cary Grant.
Looking at it from the outside, you can’t help but imagine the interior layout and how living in such a narrow domicile would feel. Would you have to walk sideways up the staircase? Or, if you light a candle at both ends (an image conjured in a poem by Millay), would you burn both the walls?
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