Developer Honors Dorothy Parker With Building She Would Have Been Evicted From

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The Parker West is a mostly glass-faced new building on West 72nd Street. It’s named for the fact that Dorothy Parker—the great short-story writer, poet, and wit—grew up in the house ... More »

Curbed | Love where you live

The Parker West. Photo: Parker West

The Parker West is a mostly glass-faced new building on West 72nd Street. It’s named for the fact that Dorothy Parker—the great short-story writer, poet, and wit—grew up in the house that occupied its site. And if you can say one thing about Dorothy Parker, it’s that she loved real-estate developers.

Well, no, she didn’t. She was a full-on leftist, one who in her later years was consistently half-broke. At her death in 1967, she left her modest literary estate to Martin Luther King Jr. (Who, by the way, had never heard of her until then. Her friend Lillian Hellman, who expected to receive Parker’s publishing rights, was furious.) But the builders who tore down her childhood home have definitely, positively honored her memory. The building’s “natural materials” and “light-filled design,” SK Development’s people told the Post, convey what the paper calls its “non-flashy roots.” (A one-bedroom here costs 1.3 million non-flashy dollars.) There will be a photograph of Parker in the lobby and a plaque. Given her spiky relationship with authority and significant drinking problem, a better tribute might be a photograph of her biting the developer’s hand alongside an eternally refreshed tumbler of Scotch. Or a few apartments that a half-broke writer, rather than a financial-services professional, might be able to afford.


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