The 72-Room Bohemian Dream Home

Abandoned building? Nope, actually only three people live in this building (and no, they are not squatters).

A few years ago, New York Magazine revealed that this graffiti-covered old bank on the Bowery (that we all probably thought was abandoned or filled with bums) is in fact a single-family-home. Yes, you read that correctly. Single-family home.

The old 30,000 square foot, bank was bought in 1966 for a mere $102,000 by photographer, Jay Maisel – who still occupies the  now 72-room dream home with his wife and only daughter. Today, real-estate brokers estimate it’s worth at least $50 million.

New York Magazine was given a peek inside the Bohemian dream home, here are some of the incredible photos from the tour:

The Master Bathroom
Originally office space. Maisel designed it, putting down a plywood floor and installing a marble shower stall.

The Dining Room
The bankers had their meals here. It’s at one end of the open living room. The pressed-tin wall is original.

Amanda’s Bedroom
Maisel built the platforms so his daughter can look at the skyline while lying in bed.

The Kitchen
The Maisel kitchen is on the site of the bank’s original kitchen, where staff cooked for the bankers.

The Kitchen

The Maisels on the Roof
Linda has a small garden in one corner; this year, she grew tomatoes, basil, peppers, and parsley. The building’s copper trim is still intact.

The Fifth Floor
The plastic tubing runs along the ceiling and carries cold air. Part of Maisel’s collection of curiosities lines the hallway.

The Elevator
Maisel used mirrors to enclose the original copper elevator cage for safety.

The Third Floor
Once bank offices, now gallery space. The original door frames are oak.

Maisel stores his work in the original safe-deposit vault.

Pretty incredible right?

images via

21 thoughts on “The 72-Room Bohemian Dream Home

    • We visited Jay Maisel’s building in the late 60’s when I established The St. Adrian Bar/Restaurant at Broadway
      near Bleecker St. My friend John Marshall, a photographer who often worked with Jay, and Robert Indiana who lived
      in a similar building at Bowery and Spring St was there. The Bowery in those days was drab, depressing, shabby,
      and somewhat dangerous. Jay paid about $100,000 for the empty bank. He had a vast collection of props he used
      in his work, and had an impressive cadre of beautiful wooden file cabinets, so many that he had one file cabinet
      that catalogued everything in all the others. You can imagine that with that vast space there was much to be done
      to transform it for living and work. He renovated slowly over several years until The Bowery has become chic and
      all sorts of galleries and even museums have moved in replacing the dozens of kitchen supply stores and lighting fixture
      showrooms. We got the grand tour as Jay explained how things would be transformed. Et Voila!

  1. Thank you for posting this!! I walk by this building everyday on my way to work, and have taken pictures on several occasions… but I always assumed it was abandoned! These pictures are fantastic, I think I’ll have to re-blog!

  2. Wow that is awesome! lucky dude. Really appreciated you stopping by the meeting tonight! My roommate and i have always wanted to take off an live on the road for awhile. look forward to reading more about your travels!

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