In 1910, a play by the title of Pomander Walk debuted in New York City. Pomander Walk took place on a fictional English street containing tiny row houses, typical for London’s streets constructed during the late 1400s through the 1500s (commonly referred to as the Tudor period). Eleven years later, it became reality — in New York City. A night club owner wanted to turn a block of Manhattan’s Upper West Side into a hotel but was short on capital. In the interim, he built twenty houses, some of which can be seen, above.
The houses are still there, off a private walkway tucked behind iron gates on 94th and 95th Streets between Broadway and West End Avenue. And yes, people live there.
Named Pomander Walk (of course!), this little alley way goes unnoticed by most everyone not previously aware of its location. From the main street (see the 94th Street view here and the 95th Street view here), most passersby would walk by without ever thinking that this picturesque little mini-village exists in the Big Apple.
The houses are tiny. Each is divided into two one-floor apartments; each apartment measures roughly 700 square feet. By necessity, some have kitchenettes (instead of full kitchens), using a closet to house the refrigerator. And some of the houses have external dumbwaiters, designed (most likely) as makeshift garbage chutes.
Pomander Walk became a New York City Landmark in 1982, and underwent restoration which completed in 2009. As recently as 2008, one of the houses — converted into a single home measuring 1,550 square foot, with three bedrooms and two and a half baths — was listed for sale at $2.295 million.
A slideshow of more photos of Pomander Walk, via amNewYork, can be found here.
Bonus fact: A store called “Bodega,” in Boston, looks like a convenience store from the outside — and continues to do so when you go inside. But go to the Snapple machine and you’ll find a staircase to the true business — a boutique sneaker and fashion store. (Pictures? Here.)
Related reading: The play, Pomander Walk, for those so inclined to read it, is available on Amazon.