Infamous NYC Weather Underground townhouse relists for $19M

2022-06-27 23:44:01 By : Mr. March Wang

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The sleepy Greenwich Village block of West 11th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues has long housed a stock of 19th-century Greek Revival-style townhouses — but one in particular, now listed for $19 million, has stood out for decades.

Sandwiched between two flat-fronted properties, the townhouse at 18 W. 11th St. has a striking-looking facade — one whose top and bottom stories lie flat, but whose two middle levels point to the street at a 45-degree angle, similar to the look of an open book on a podium. 

Its unusual appearance comes with a long, and tragic, backstory — one that involved a New York City woman who died on Sunday. 

In the late morning of March 6, 1970, five members of the Weather Underground — a radical leftist group and a violent faction of the Students for a Democratic Society that sought to combat racism and US imperialism — accidentally detonated a bomb in the basement of the 1840s-built residence, due to a mistake with an electrical attachment. Not only did the blast blow off the townhouse’s facade, which later led to the property’s full demolition and reconstruction, but it also killed three people inside.

Two women survived: Cathy Wilkerson — whose advertising executive father, James Wilkerson, owned the home and was on vacation in St. Kitts at the time — and Kathy Boudin. 

Boudin, who later spent some two decades in prison for taking part in a fatal 1981 Rockland County robbery of a Brink’s armored truck — and who ultimately became a professor at Columbia University, plus the co-founder and co-director of its Center for Justice — lost her seven-year battle with cancer at age 78 over the weekend. 

Her death marks the latest update in the ongoing saga of the Greenwich Village property — and it comes as the 6,000-square-foot home still seeks a new owner to take it into its next chapter. It most recently re-listed for that $19 million sum in January. That’s down from the $21 million the 21-foot-wide residence asked in late 2019, and the $19.9 million it sought from 2020 to 2021.

Miguel McKelvey, the co-founder of WeWork who declined The Post’s request for comment, has owned the home since 2015. He purchased it for $12 million from a financier named Justin Korsant, who had his own reconstruction plans for the townhouse that ultimately never materialized.

The genesis of the current home traces back to its own extensive reconstruction. In June 1970, the architect Hugh Hardy, who died in 2017, and the Steuben Glass executive Francis Mason, spent $80,000 to buy the lot — which had beams running across it to support the neighboring townhouses — from the Wilkersons. The goal was to construct a boundary-pushing two-family home, and Hardy mocked up the angular appearance the townhouse has had ever since. But the year before the blast, the immediate block became part of a historic district — meaning that any new structure rising in its bounds had to filter through the approval process of the city Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

Hardy’s radical plan passed by one vote, but the lot spent eight years sitting vacant. In 1978, Hardy and Mason abandoned their plans and sold the site for a breaking-even $80,000 to a Pennsylvania couple, the now-late David and Norma Langworthy, who decided to keep Hardy’s inspiration alive. Not only did they have the angled facade built, but they also had the home constructed in split levels, making for what appears to be 10 floors total. (Korsant bought the home in 2012 for $9.25 million from the estate of Norma Langworthy.)

These modern features largely remain, but following his purchase, McKelvey enlisted VonDalwig Architecture to open the split-level layout with glass to create an atrium with more visibility between the separate floors.

The listing additionally has capacity for four bedrooms, though it’s being used as a three-bedroom. Features include an open staircase between the levels that’s topped with a skylight, as well as a 20-foot glass wall at the rear of the home that looks to a garden. There’s even a private elevator, an open kitchen that has a large island, a laundry room and plenty of built-in storage.

Compass’ Clinton Stowe, who also declined The Post’s request for comment, represents the listing.