Truman Capote's Brooklyn Home Listed at Cold-Blooded $18M

Truman Capote got Manhattanites to cross bridges for his swank soirees long before the hipsters discovered that more space and cheaper rent existed -- with majestic architecture -- east of the island. "I live in Brooklyn. By choice," Capote famously penned in 1959.

Much has changed in the 45 years since Capote rented a ground-level garden apartment in this 11-bedroom Brooklyn Heights mansion. The literary great's former partying grounds was recently listed for a potentially record-breaking $18 million -- ranking at what could be the most expensive piece of real estate in the history of this New York City borough.

The "House on the Heights," as Capote dubbed the five-story Willow Place townhouse in a well-known essay, was built in the Green Revival style in 1839. It became the place for wild, glamorous cocktail parties and hobnobbing with New York's social elite.

Capote rented the groundfloor apartment from 1955 to 1965. During that time he wrote
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "In Cold Blood" while enjoying city views from his porch. Along with the porch, the 9,000-square-foot, five-floor manse has a finished basement that also includes a wine cellar; a private parking garage that accommodates four cars; 11 fireplaces; a three-story, elliptical, mahogany staircase; and a 2,500-square-foot walled garden.

Capote isn't the only notable to lodge at 70 Willow Street. Broadway art director Oliver Smith owned the entire house and rented the subterranean apartment to Capote. (Apparently when Smith was out of town, Capote would throw his lavish parties and claim the entire mansion was all his own.) The most recent owner is the very private writer and photographer Nicholas Callaway, who nabbed the residential gem back in 1998, scoring a mere $1.25-million mortgage.

Sotheby's Karen Heyman has the Willow Street listing and dreamily described the home to the New York Daily News as "like living in a country estate in the middle of New York City." This is only the third time the property has been listed for sale in 70 years. However, the legendary lair was recently a touch more accessible to the paying public. Back in 2007 it went on the market as a rental with a monthly asking price of $40,000.

Rent or buy, the top dollar price is enough to have Capote gleefully giggling in his grave. His name has brought a staggering cache to the home that "
stands atop a cliff that secures a sea-gull's view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, of Lower Manhattan's tall dazzle and the ship-lane waters."

See more homes for sale in Brooklyn, New York at AOL Real Estate.

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