In 1861 a row of eleven brick houses was built on the north side of East 78th Street at numbers 157-177 between Lexington and Third avenues. Today five of these landmark houses remain including Number 159. To read the history of this house is to engage in a fascinating study not only of the building itself but of a tumultuous New York City. Storm clouds of the Civil War had gathered and war broke out affecting both the city and its residential development. Masses of soldiers now populated the city and an ever-expanding growth to the upper east side had begun. Just two years earlier, a few blocks west of the house, the city had purchased an extensive parcel of land and transformed it into the green oasis of Central Park as splendidly envisioned by Olmsted and Vaux.
Today, one enters 159 at street level into an entrance hall complete with powder room and coat closet. The eye is immediately drawn to the distant view of the house’s private garden. This floor also consists of a large eat-in-kitchen and a formal dining room with a wood burning fireplace that is now used as a combined dining and sitting room. Large picture windows with a sliding glass door overlook the beautifully landscaped and tranquil garden. Up the staircase one flight is the expansive double parlor floor with its impressive 10’8” ceilings and two wood burning fireplaces. There are three full length French doors facing both north and south allowing for lovely light and tree top views. The house was originally built with steps leading to the second floor. That stoop became unfashionable with the passage of time and later removed. A remnant of the original stoop is found at the foot of the southeastern French door on this floor. The living quarters of the house begin on the third floor with a beautiful bedroom (now set up as a home office) facing south with the fourth wood burning fireplace and ensuite bath. Overlooking the garden on the northern end are two side by side bedrooms that share a hall bath. The fourth and top floor is a private sanctuary consisting of a light filled primary bedroom suite that opens onto a south facing terrace with open city views. There is also an ensuite bath and an adjacent large dressing room. The renovation of the house has been well maintained and includes two zone central air-conditioning. The living area of the house consists of +/-3240sf. The house also has a finished basement of approximately 900sf that includes an exercise room, bonus room with ensuite bath, laundry room, mechanical room, and abundant storage. There are an additional 900 square feet of exterior spaces including the garden and the terrace.