NYU spares Poe home facade, plans to commemorate author

January 24, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A vestige of Edgar Allan Poe's one-time home in New York City will be spared demolition under an agreement negotiated this week by New York University, which owns the building and wants to raze it to erect a classroom building, preservationists say.

The facade of the rowhouse at 85 W. Third St. in Greenwich Village will be preserved and renovated to re-create the way it looked when Poe lived there in 1845 and 1846, and incorporated into the new law school building that NYU will build on the site. Poe-era artifacts will be saved and used inside the new building in an area that will commemorate the author.

Poe advocates treasure the building because the author lived in the house during a particularly satisfying part of his life. His famous poem "The Raven" was first published in book form during this time. Previously, it had been printed in a New York newspaper. Some scholars believe that he might have started work on his short story "The Cask of Amontillado" while living in the Village.

The preservationists had sued NYU to halt demolition of the Poe house. Although a judge ruled in NYU's favor last fall, the school agreed to delay demolition and try to work out a compromise.

The agreement also preserves the facade of a neighboring building that was designed by the renowned architectural firm, McKim, Mead & White. And it scales back NYU's original plans for a 13-story building, which will now be about 25 feet shorter and set back from the street.

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