Get Your Checkbooks Ready: New York’s Iconic Cliffside “Pumpkin House” Is Now on the Market

Pat Finn Pat Finn

Hudson Heights is one of New York’s hidden treasures. Located along the northwest coast of Manhattan, the Heights is known for its architecture, including the Castle Village and Hudson View Gardens housing cooperatives. These complexes were built in the 1920s and 30s and combine eclectic Tudor Revival styles with iconic Art Deco buildings that define the tiny neighborhood’s visual identity.

Amidst the Art Deco Castle Village stands an even more distinctive building: the so-called “Pumpkin House.” Branching out from a cliff just north of the George Washington Bridge, this one-of-a-kind residence was built in 1925. At first, the house was a proud and solitary sentinel in a fairly undeveloped portion of Manhattan. Today, the building is joined by Castle Village and other structures, but its outward-facing, cantilevered form ensures that it remains as visually singular as ever.

The property today

Early shots of one of Manhattan’s most distinctive residences

In a city where real estate swaps hands more often than used books, the Pumpkin House is unique in having a fairly light provenance of only five owners over the past 90 years.

Now it’s hit the market once again, this time at a steep price point of $5.25 million — substantially more than it went for the last time it was soldin 2011. Still, depending on your budget, this house could be a steal. Located near the highest point in Manhattan, the building offers unparalleled views of both the George Washington Bridge and the verdant shores of the Garden State.

Residents enjoy stunning views of the George Washington Bridge.

The interiors of this three-story building are appropriate to its historical stature. As a bibliophile, the aspect of this house that called out to me most was the cozy library, which is tastefully appointed with vintage rugs and furniture. Others might be more drawn to the kitchen, with its tiled ceiling and industrial-size oven. Most of the house is covered by parquet floors, a hallmark of prewar architecture in the city.

More than just a striking exterior, the Pumpkin House features comfortable, livable interiors.

The Pumpkin House’s unusual name comes from the façade, which is said to resemble a jack-o’-lantern when lit up at night. However, the second-to-last owner of the house, William Spink, wasn’t so convinced. “I guess if you’ve had enough quaaludes, it might look like a pumpkin,” he told the New York Times in 2008.

Floor plans of the one-of-a-kind residence

Whatever you think of the name, it’s clear that New York is a richer place due to the presence of the Pumpkin House. While the price may be too steep for most readers to put in an offer, I still highly recommend a day trip to Hudson Heights to see it in person.

Image via The Uptown Collective

What do you think? Does the house resemble a jack-o’-lantern when the windows are lit? Would you splash the cash for this cantilevered curio? Share your thoughts in the comments.

All images via Gothamist unless otherwise noted

Pat Finn Author: Pat Finn
Pat Finn is a high school English teacher and a freelance writer on art, architecture, and film. He believes, with Orwell, that "good prose is like a windowpane," but his study of architecture has shown him that a window is only as good as the landscape it looks out on. Pat is based in the New York metro area.
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