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Legendary Author E.L. Doctorow’s East Side Apartment is on the Market

By Lori Perkins


I’ve always been fascinated by the places where writers and artists created their works, so I immediately clicked on the link to the former co-op of Ragtime author E.L. Doctorow’s apartment which just went on sale for a mere $2.1 million.


The three bedroom, three and a half bathroom apartment on Manhattan’s very prestigious Sutton Place boosts a library, a dining room and an eat-in kitchen, walk-in closets (actually two in the master suite) and built-in laundry facilities. Doctorow, who won the National Book Award for World’s Fair, and 11 other novels, many of which were made into movies and plays. He wrote his final three historical novels—The March, Homer & Langley and Andrew’s Brain at the home office in this apartment.


His widow, who just turned 90, said, “My husband preferred to work in the office in the apartment instead of at his office at New York University,” where he was a professor of English and American Letters, noting that after his death, a plaque was installed on the exterior of the building in his honor. “In the mornings, he would generally do catch-up work, including calls. He spent the rest of the day writing. At 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening, he stopped, and we had a drink then dinner.”


Helen Doctorow added that the couple entertained extensively in this apartment with guests as the actors Brian Stokes Mitchell, James Naughton and Alan Alda and his wife, Arlene; playwright Terrence McNally; Broadway composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist/book writer Lynn Ahrens, who wrote the score for the musical Ragtime, which was based on Doctorow’s novel.