Townhouse Owned By American Composer Highest in GV

 Highest Price Townhome in Greenwich Village

A townhouse, whose most famous owner was John Phillips Sousa, has recently been listed for sale at $31.5 million.  The American composer and conductor bought the unit in 1919.  He is famous for his marching music, the bands he conducted and for inventing the Sousaphone, a large brass horn that plays bass notes.  His New York townhouse is located at 80 Washington Place in Greenwich Village.

The current owner of the property is William Rainero.  He heads the Metropolitan Realty and Development Group, but the property is being handled by Prudential Douglas Ellman.  The agents that have the listing are Laura Mondrick and Lisa Simonsen.  Rainero grew up in the townhouse which his family has owned for some forty years.  He supervised extensive remodeling efforts in recent years.  The house was previously owned by his grandfather, a restaurateur who died in 1990 while living in Florida.  .

The $31.5 million asking price earns the listing the top rank in price for Greenwich Village Townhouses.  The number 2 and 3 spots go to a pair of adjoining townhouses at23 North Washington Square and the other at196 West Houston St.  #2 is listed at $19.5 million, and #3 at $14.95 million.

The village neighborhood has long been famous for its bohemian lifestyle.  Many artists and struggling actors lived in the locale.  They used to be attracted by the number of low cost apartments that were available.  The place began to gentrify in the 80’s and now has become quite upscale.  There is still a lively mix of artists and art galleries along with musicians and cafes and clubs that feature live performance.  The musicians who play there may no longer be able to afford to live within walking distance.

 Home has many Features

The Sousa Townhome is spacious at 8,700 square feet, but it is rather narrow being only 22.5 feet wide.  It is a classical Georgian home built in 1839.  The home features a Zen garden along with an unusual water plume made from what used to be the coal chute.  The stairwell is of white oak contained within a glass structure.  Among the rooms are those for media, billiards, and wine storage.

Sousa is probably the most renowned American composers of the Romantic Age.  He is well known for his martial music often played by marching bands.  “Semper Fidelis,” the official song of the United States Marine Corp was penned by him along with “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Sousa served in the Marine Corp as an apprentice musician from 1868 to 1875.  He served as conductor for the Marine Band from 1880 to 1892.  He was a Sergeant Major for most of this period, but became a Warrant Officer near the end of his term.

Sousa remained actively involve in music throughout his years in New York.  In addition to writing music and conducting orchestras, he toured extensively with is traveling band.  Soousa died in a room at a hotel in Reading Pennsylvania on March 6, 1932.  He was 77 years old and had conducted a concert locally the day before.

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