New York City

Manhattan Woman Had Dream Rent — $28.43 Per Month

Her rent went up by $12 in more than six decades

In a city where rents have gone through the roof, one tenant held on to a real steal: $28.43 a month for a Manhattan apartment.

The New York Post reports that's what Patricia O'Grady paid for the Greenwich Village walk-up where she moved in 1955. She stayed until she died recently at 84.

O'Grady lived there with three other aspiring actresses who swept the hallway in exchange for their $16 rent.

The space was initially bare, without furniture, a sink, a bath, hot water or heat. But they had two fireplaces and a stove. They later installed a sink and other basic furnishings.

The other women moved out long ago, but that's pretty much how it stayed till March when O'Grady died after she was hit by a car near the apartment on Sixth Avenue.

By then, her rent had gone up by $12 in more than six decades. She refused offers for improvements from the building's owner, Adam Pomerantz, who runs his Murray's Bagels at street level.

O'Grady was adamant about any changes in her home, saying, "Please leave the apartment as is," according to Pomerantz.

When her single light bulb went out, she lived by candlelight.

During the day, she could be found at the nearby 14th Street YMCA, where she swam, showered and read The New York Times.

O'Grady always paid her rent early, Pomerantz said.

"I consulted with an attorney to find out if this rent was possible," he told the Post. He just had to tweak it a bit, using a rent-control worksheet to come up with a $1.98 increase.

O'Grady appeared in dozens of theater productions, as well as TV soap operas, the movie "Taxi Driver," and she took dance classes at the Joffrey Ballet School.

Fellow actors remember using her living room as a rehearsal space, with a Siamese cat roaming around.

Pomerantz now plans to gut and renovate O'Grady's lifelong home into a two-bedroom apartment, according to the Post.

The new rent? Maybe about $5,000 in today's New York City.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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