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Murray Hill's Most Famous Residents
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Murray Hill's Most Famous Residents

Murray Hill's Most Famous Residents


October 23, 2018 | By Dan Bamberger & Aaron Gordon


Notable Neighbors

Long before they moved into the White House, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt took up residence as a newlywed couple at 125 East 36th Street.
Like New York City itself, Murray Hill has gone through multiple transformations since it was originally settled over two hundred years ago. And as the climate in midtown Manhattan evolved over time, Murray Hill's position as a residential neighborhood attracted different types of people with each passing generation.

What was once farmland in the 1700s became "uptown" in the mid-19th century. Where quaint row houses once stood during the Civil War, handsome brownstone townhouses were erected at the turn of the century by New York's mercantile elite. Over the course of the 20th century, Murray Hill hosted the sons and daughters of American political dynasties; artists, actors and writers rented apartments in the dawn of their careers; and today, a diverse group of young and old, post-graduate and retired professional, bachelors and families collectively call our neighborhood home.

Today we're highlighting a few of our more illustrious neighbors throughout history, including details from their time living in Murray Hill. We hope you enjoy.
Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt


Being New York City's most famous political family (Theodore Roosevelt was himself born in NYC and served as the state's 33rd Governor before going on to serve the nation as Vice President and then President), it should come as no surprise to see a few Roosevelts on our list.
Eleanor Roosevelt is particularly worth mentioning, having been born at 56 West 37th Street, mere minutes away from what we consider the heart of Murray Hill today.

Sadly, both of Eleanor's parents died when she was still a child, forcing her to relocate to live with her grandmother in Trivoli, New York, and later to England.

Eleanor would return to Murray Hill in 1904 for the early years of her marriage to future President Franklin Roosevelt. During these formative years, the young couple took up residence at 125 East 36th Street while Sara Delano Roosevelt (mother to Franklin) paid their rent to support their fledgling marriage. That townhouse still stands today.

Ayn Rand

Known most famously for her doorstop-sized novels and philosophy of Objectivism, it might tickle you to know that Miss Rand lived in apartments all around Murray Hill for the majority of her adult life.

The Fountainhead was written primarily at 139 East 35th Street between 1941 and 1942. After a stint in Los Angeles writing the screenplay adaptation for that same book, Rand and her husband returned to Murray Hill in the fall of 1951, taking up residence at 36 East 36th Street-- just across the street from the Morgan Library. It was here, in Apartment 5B, that she wrote the second half of Atlas Shrugged. Rand continued to churn out nonfiction and philosophical essays at her 36th Street address until 1965, when she relocated to her final residence at 120 East 34th Street, Apartment 6G. 6G became ground zero for her landmark Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. It's no exaggeration to say that Objectivism was born in Murray Hill.


Andy Warhol



About a decade before his art found its home in the now-famous "Factory" studio at 231 East 47th Street, Warhol sublet an apartment at 242 Lexington Avenue (now home to the Murray Hill House). The year was 1953. He was just 25 years old, and at the time employed as a designer by shoe manufacturer Israel Miller.
John Coplans, photographer and contemporary of Warhol, described Warhol's work during this period in the following way: 

"Nobody drew shoes the way Andy did. He somehow gave each shoe a temperament of its own, a sort of sly, Toulouse-Lautrec kind of sophistication, but the shape and the style came through accurately and the buckle was always in the right place. The kids in the apartment [which Andy shared in New York] noticed that the vamps on Andy's shoe drawings kept getting longer and longer but [Israel] Miller didn't mind. Miller loved them." 

Warhol's ink shoe drawings (or his "Murray Hill Phase," if we may be so bold) were among his earliest artwork put on display at the Hugo and Bodley Galleries in NYC, when Warhol began exhibiting his work towards the end of the 1950s.
 
A magazine spread featuring Warhol's shoe designs for Israel Miller.

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If you're thinking about buying or selling in Murray Hill , let's discuss your situation. It's completely free and there's absolutely no obligation.

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