Even though New York City is expensive to live in, one actress was able to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the Greenwich Village for only $28 a month for decades.
This actress was named Patricia O’Grady. She moved to New Y0rk City in 1955 with the dream of becoming an actress. When she and her friends arrived in the city, they didn’t know where they were going to stay. When they began their apartment hunt they stumbled upon a 2-bedroom apartment on the top floor of a four-story, mixed-use commercial building, and took it. O’Grady and her friends at the time got a sweet deal on the apartment. They were only paying $16 a month as long as they helped out with sweeping the hallways and making sure the building was kept clean.
This Greenwich Village apartment is where O’Grady stayed even after all of her friends moved out. She lived in that apartment building until she died in March of this year at the age of 84. O’Grady was walking near her home on March 12 when she was struck and killed by a car. She ended up living in her 2-bedroom apartment for just over 60 years and her rent never raised above $28 a month.
O’Grady’s latest landlord was Adam Pomerantz and he said to CNN that when he took over the building he was shocked to hear that one of the tenants was paying such low rent. The rent O’Grady was paying is especially surprising for the Greenwich Village area, which usually has a rental range from about $5,000-$7,000 for a 2-bedroom apartment, according to downtown Manhattan realtor Gary Nurenberg.
The previous owner of the building passed away years ago and when Pomerantz asked the executor of the building why O’Grady was paying such low rent, he told him it was because the previous owner liked her so much. When Pomerantz bought the property where O’Grady was paying $26.45 a month in rent, he looked into whether he was able to raise her rent or not. When he contacted his lawyer he found out that due to rent-stabilization laws he was only legally allowed to raise her rent by $1.98.
Pomerantz ended up asking O’Grady if she would move out of the building and she politely declined. So he did what he was legally allowed to do and that was to raise her rent by $1.98. He was able to increase her rent every year but told CNN he chose not to because the two became friends. O’Grady was living in the apartment and had no heat or hot water. “She would tell me, ‘I’m not worthy of these repairs and these improvements. I don’t pay enough in rent to warrant this…I’m perfectly fine keeping it as it is,’” Pomerantz said to CNN. Pomerantz stated that the apartment will be put through a full renovation before it’s put back on the market. He said that when he puts the apartment up for rent again he will be asking around $5,000 a month for it.
According to O’Grady’s obituary in the New York Times, she had a successful career as an actress in New York City. Most of her work was done in off-Broadway plays but she did perform on Broadway in Macbeth. She appeared in soap operas such as As The World Turns, and films such as Taxi Driver. She was also a finalist to the prestigious Actors Studio and was accepted into Uta Hagen’s acting class.
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