With House in Harlem, Maya Angelou Called NYC "Home"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Maya Angelou, the acclaimed author and poet who died Wednesday at her home in North Carolina, could also claim to be a New Yorker, having lived in Brooklyn and on Central Park West before buying a home in Harlem. Ida Siegal reports.

    Maya Angelou, the acclaimed author and poet who died Wednesday at her home in North Carolina, could also claim to be a New Yorker, having lived in Brooklyn and on Central Park West before buying a home in Harlem. 

    She often spent the holidays at the four-story 1881 home on 120th Street in Mount Morris Park, and would travel to the city by private bus -- a trip that took 10 hours.

    “I never agreed with Thomas Wolfe,” she told The New York Times in 2007. “I never thought you can’t go home again. I’ve been coming home to Harlem for 50 years.”

    The 3,500-square-foot brownstone with an elevator and a wine cellar was in bad shape when she bought it in 2004 -- it had been set on fire and vandalized, and taken on rainwater.

    "I redid everything," she told The Wall Street Journal in 2012. "I put a lot of money in it."

    She decorated it "to look like a bowl of summer fruit," with walls and floors in watermelon pink, tomato red and plum. Rooms are accented with furniture in lime green, yellow and royal blue. 

    Angelou was able to preserve the home's original oak moldings, the Journal said.  

    According to the Journal, she didn't do her writing at any of her three homes, but would instead check into a hotel when she wanted to work.