The Longtime NYC Townhouse of Late Cultural Critic John Leonard Comes to Market

Based on our critique of this Upper East Side townhouse, it checks all the boxes. It’s a charming, airy pre-war residence with a history of prominent owners and outdoor space. The fact that the East 78th Street address is anything short of superb is no surprise seeing as it was long home to the late John Leonard, an influential and widely-respected cultural critic. Leonard purchased the property in 1981 and his wife, Sue, has put it on the market now for $3.995 million.

Leonard was a  literary, television, and film critic who once served as the editor of The New York Times Book Review and shared his critiques on CBS Sunday Morning for 16 years before his death in 2008. Built in 1867, his home’s story starts long before Leonard was penning reviews. In fact, New York Senator John Gilmore Boyd originally resided in the townhouse in 1890.

We give the dwelling additional points for history as it hosted literary giants like Toni Morrison while the Leonards lived there. The orange typewriter pictured in the listing photos is Leonard’s original, while the books are also originals from the publisher. These items will not be included ing the sale, but add a great authentic touch.

John Leonard Ues Townhouse Desk 5

Photograph by Eitan Gamliely for Sotheby’s International Realty

The Italianate-style abode is among a row of other picture-perfect residences with brick facades. Upon entering, the townhouse’s original character is defined by period wood floors, beams, and high ceilings. A spiral staircase connects the four sleek floors and basement. It’s painted white inside from head-to-toe, creating an art gallery-esque vibe.

Asking noticeably less than some Upper East Side homes, its size and more modest details surely play a role in that. The residence currently totals 2,700 square feet with four light-filled bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and two partial baths. With the availability of air rights and the possibility two add two set-back floors, there is plenty of room to build on and add value.

Gina M. Kuhlenkamp and Michelle Bourgeois of Sotheby’s International Realty hold the exciting listing.