4. Edith Wharton: 14 W. 23rd Street, 884-882 Park Avenue
The first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton was born into a wealthy family at a four-story, brownstone mansion at 14 W. 23rd street in 1862. She was baptized at Grace Church at Broadway and 11th Street. From 1866 to 1872, Wharton and her family traveled throughout Europe and returned to this address when she was ten.
She wrote about her dislike for common New York City homes sometimes, once calling this house a “geological horror” in her article “A Little Girl’s New York.” She also found the architecture painfully dull.
After Wharton’s father died in 1882, her mother, Lucretia Jones, lived at 28 W. 25th street. Edith and Teddy Wharton, who was her husband for 28 years, had their wedding breakfast here in 1885. They married at Trinity Chapel on W 25th street, and lived at 884 Park Avenue (she later purchased 882 Park Avenue) during parts of their marriage. Wharton built The Mount, her home in Lenox, Massachusetts, establishing her architecture ideas in print in The Decoration of Houses with the architect James Cogden Jr., who designed the property. In 1910, after the dissolution of her marriage, Wharton permanently left New York for France.
While the New York City homes no longer stand as they once were, people can still see the house where she lived with her mother prior to her marriage on the south side of 23rd street and west of Broadway.