|Barbra Streisand lived at 1157 Third Avenue in the early sixties–credit|
In the early sixties, Brooklyn native Barbra Streisand lived in a pre-war walk-up tenement at 1157 Third Avenue in the Lenox Hill neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The $62-per-month apartment was far from luxurious with a bathtub in the kitchen and a single window, which stared at a brick wall.
|This was Streisand’s home in the ’60s–photo by Scott McCulley|
Elliott Gould, who was Streisand”s beau at the time and also co-starred in the show, eventually moved in and shared the tiny space before they were married. She said in her book, My Passion For Design, “Can you imagine? Elliott is 6′-3″ and we slept in a single bed because that was all that could fit into the room.”
|1157 Third Avenue fire escapes–photo by Scott McCulley|
The walk-up railroad space was located over the well-known Oscar’s Salt of the Sea Restaurant, which closed in the early eighties. Both the apartment and Streisand’s wardrobe reeked of fish from the restaurant below. It’s also rumored that the couple had a third roommate –a rat in their kitchen named “Oscar.” (Apparently, rats called New York home at that time too.) To avoid inviting their rodent guest to the table, the couple usually ate dinner in the living room atop a sewing machine.
|Retail lines the ground floor of 1157 Third Avenue –photo via Scott McCulley|
Unbelievably, the building has not gone co-op or condo like many of the surrounding apartments, and it is still known for its walk-up rentals, now with modern-day ground-floor retail establishments such as Unleashed by Petco, Chipotle, and Lucky, the clothing store.
Apartment units have high ceilings, exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and are on the large side by New York standards, ranging from 500 square feet for a studio and up to 900 square feet for some of the one-bedroom units. Rental prices range from approximately $1,600 – $2,400, certainly inexpensive for the Lenox Hill neighborhood.
|1157 Third is still known for its walkup apartments|
Streisand visited the building during the 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace in 1991, nearly 30 years after she inhabited the space. She was surprised to see the brick window still intact. Surely, she must have felt some level of nostalgia for those early years, that time of struggle and anonymity, living with both a tub and a rat in her kitchen, long before anyone knew her as one of the greatest singers of all time — the voice that could belong to no one other than Streisand.
|Like many New Yorkers, Streisand lived in a walk-up early on in her career—photo by JCT via Flickr|