Stage actress Patricia O'Grady was paying just $28.43 a month for a Greenwich Village apartment for the past sixty years until she was killed in a car accident earlier this year.
In New York City, scoring an apartment in the desirable West Village area is going to cost a pretty penny. Unless you're a charming actress who moved into the building in 1955 that is.
California native Patricia O'Grady moved to New York in 1955 to pursue a career as an actress.
The fledgling star and two friends found a small two bedroom apartment on the top floor of a commercial use building in one of present-day Manhattan's most sought-after zip codes.
In exchange for sweeping the hallways and occasionally tidying the building, the three women each paid $16 a month in rent. Some sixty years later, O'Grady was still a resident in the building, parting with less than $30 a month for her lodgings.
HB Studio actress Patricia O'Grady was courageously different in every possible way. We mourn her recent passing and applaud her individuality, from her acting and dancing to the way she lived in her ridiculously cheap Greenwich Village walk-up https://t.co/Q5dzePqwD9 pic.twitter.com/K5YZQ6kPb1— HB Studio (@HBStudioNYC) May 10, 2018
In March this year, the actress was crossing the street and was knocked down and killed by a car just a couple of feet away from her longterm abode.
O'Grady's most recent landlord Adam Pomerantz, the proprietor of Murray's Bagels, told CNN he bought the building in 2002 and was surprised to learn that one of his tenants was paying such low rent.
The previous owner had passed away several years before and the executor of the estate told Pomerantz that he never raised O'Grady's rent because he liked her so much and that the two were great friends.
Sad to hear of the passing of Patricia O'Grady, who I knew during my early years of living in NYC. It feels like old NYC passed with her. https://t.co/z22R3deJdl— Michael Milliken (@Millikenmoon) May 10, 2018
He too fell under her charm. He asked her once if she would consider moving out, to which she responded, "No I would not. And please don't ask me again, Mr. Pomerantz."
He chose to never raise her rent, as the two became close friends.
"She was just a very kind woman. She was a customer in my store. Overall, she was just a wonderful tenant," he told CNN.
Pomerantz rarely managed to get inside O'Grady's apartment as she politely declined to let him in.
When a pipe burst in 2005, he realized that the woman had been living without heat or hot water for decades. There was also no shower or tub, and O'Grady would go to the local YMCA to bathe every day.
Renters beware ... Patricia O’Grady will haunt that apartment for all eternity. If you’re not prepared to live with her ghost, look elsewhere. ?— Ally Ber (@SoFedUpFL) May 15, 2018
He soon installed a $12,000 heating unit in the apartment -- the equivalent of about 35 years of her monthly rent payments.
"She would tell me, 'I'm not worthy of these repairs and these improvements. I don't pay enough in rent to warrant this ... I'm perfectly fine keeping it as it is,'" Pomerantz said. "She never used it."
An obituary that ran in The New York Times reads, "Ms. O'Grady often said that she "made a life in the theater without making a living in it," (A quote not original with her) and this was made possible by her Village apartment where she lived for over 60 years and paid under $30 per month rent! A friend once dubbed it a 'dump with character,' and as primitive as it was, it enabled her to do exactly what she wanted to do."
Wow $4972 discount & amazing story. I hope we don't lose all of the Patricia O'Grady's and their art in our urban areas because we don't build enough affordable housing:— gabe klein (@gabe_klein) May 15, 2018
“An actress lived for decades in this New York City apartment -- for $28 a month” https://t.co/pkdpd0WPuU