Three street blocks apart—between 68th Street and Central Park West and the McKim, Meade, White designed building on the south west corner of 72nd and Columbus are two houses.
The one at 19 West 68th Street—a yellow-brick four storey walk-up just off Central Park West designed by American architect George F. Pelham—housed James Dean in Apt 5F from 1953 to 1955, the year he crashed his Porsche 550 (a spyder, no less!).
The other at 137 West 71st Street (pictured)—a white glazed brick five storey—housed James Baldwin, the great Black American writer who, in a famously televised 1965 broadcast, confronted William Buckley at Cambridge University in a debate titled Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?. (Baldwin won.)
Not far from the Baldwin house a third icon of American culture, Dorothy Parker, lived on the south side of 72nd Street just west of Broadway in her recently demolished home. The self-described wise cracker, wrote:
Say my love is easy had,
Say I’m bitten raw with pride,
Say I am too often sad —
Still behold me at your side.
Say I’m neither brave nor young,
Say I woo and coddle care,
Say the devil touched my tongue —
Still you have my heart to wear.
But say my verses do not scan,
And I get me another man!
Amble on, from downtown toward uptown finishing at Grey’s Papaya Hot Dogs on the corner of 72nd and Broadway where you can become an icon by eating one.