12: Built 1827.
Mayor Jimmy Walker ran a speakeasy called The Pirate's Den here, and set up his
mistress, showgirl Betty Compton, in an apartment
c. 1926. After his resignation in 1932, he got a divorce and
married Compton. Later Frank Parris,
creator of Howdy Doody, lived here, where he worked on the
puppet in the basement. Writer Ellen Raskin was another resident -- she based 12 Cobble Lane in her book The Tattooed Potato on this house -- as was Walter Gibson, creator of
14: In the basement apartment here, writer
Ruth McKenney lived in 1935 with her beautiful sister Eileen.
Ruth wrote about the peeping Toms at the window,
the fungus on the ceiling and the blasting of the 7the Avenue subway
in short stories for The New Yorker, which
were collected in the book My Sister Eileen,
which became a play and then the brilliant musical Wonderful
Eileen married writer
Nathanael West in 1940, but both were killed in a car
accident on December 22 that year, just four days
before My Sister Eileen opened on Broadway; a
distraught Ruth never saw it.
The house was built in 1827 as one of the original row houses
on the street. On December 25, 2003, a fire in the basement
killed long-time resident David Ryan, who was fighting to
protect the neighborhood from PATH train expansion.
Mary McCarthy lived in this tiny studio in 1936
after divorcing her first husband. Here, according to
biographer Carol Brightman, she had a "succession of
one-night stands that allowed her to compare the
sexual equipment of an astonishing variety of men."