When Patricia O’Grady moved into the top floor of a Greenwich Village walk-up in 1955, she and her three roommates helped sweep the hallway in exchange for a discounted rent of $16 a month.
The unit was bare, no more than floor and walls, so the girls, all aspiring actresses, slowly improved it themselves, installing a sink and other modest amenities. While her roommates moved on, O’Grady never left the unit, and for that she received the ultimate New York City prize: unbelievably affordable rent.
Until March, when O’Grady, 84, was fatally struck by a car just a few feet from her home, she paid $28.43 a month for the apartment.
“I consulted with an attorney to find out if this rent was possible,” recalls Adam Pomerantz, who bought O’Grady’s building, which also houses his business, Murray’s Bagels, in 2002.
It was legit, he found, but using a rent-control-formula worksheet, he was able to increase her rent a whopping $1.98 — it had previously been $26.45.
O’Grady was always early with her payments, Pomerantz says, in part because, despite the fact that his tenants can hand in their rent downstairs at the bagel shop, O’Grady insisted on mailing her check.
“She was the only one who walked to the corner to mail it,” says Pomerantz. “She was very quick paying her $28.”...MUCH MORE