We have a love-hate relationship with Craigslist, the home of the Missed Connection, the Second Hand Ikea Coffee Table, and the The Worst Room. The site reads like the major arcana of New York City living–curb alerts can also mean bedbugs and beautiful ‘I Saw You’ notes penned by New School Creative Writing MFAs are right there next to badly-spelled paragraphs that might be prostitution solicitations. We visit mostly for the lolz, and even though we occasionally chance upon posts that seem to promise us the holy grail of vintage road bikes or a soulmate who also transferred to the N at Union Square, in general we try not to get our hopes up.
Which is why we are not getting too worked up about a post that went up four days ago that appears to be quite legit: There’s a one-bedroom apartment available in what might arguably be considered Bushwick’s most famous building and a landmark–Catherina Lipsius House aka Cook Mansion!
Sure, there are the lofts, from McKibbin to Opera House. There are warehouses and punk houses galore, like the places you won’t get an address for until you’ve paid for your ticket and The Coolest Place on Earth, and there are GIRLS locations both from real life and from TV. But if we’re talking OG historical landmark former celebrity residences, there’s really only one place worth noting, and that’s Cook Mansion.
Cook Mansion stands at the intersection of Bushwick and Willoughby Avenues between the 666 KFC and a condo development that’s currently under construction. Even though the M train runs by directly outside one of the windows (which is visible in the Craigslist post), we can’t really hold the location against it: it’s a stone’s throw away from our hangouts Little Skip’s, Norbert’s and Happy Fun Hideaway.
It’s also beautiful. Fitted with an actual turret and a balcony, the place has withstood the ravages of age pretty well, and it now has just the right amount of ivy crawling up its red brick sides to make it look nicely spooky. Bushwick Daily did a shoot inside the joint a few years back with local burlesque celebrity Lena Marquise, and last year we were delighted when the place became a registered historical landmark. A quick read-up on the building reveals that it’s the architectural companion to the brewery complexes that Bushwick was famous for back in the day, that it was at one point a convent, and, of course, that it is the former residence of Dr. Frederick A. Cook, an Arctic explorer who discovered an island, made it to the top of Mt. McKinley, and claimed to have been the first person to reach the North Pole (and who had a mustache that could give current residents of the neighborhood a run for their money. Damn).
The Craigslist post tells prospective renters that the spot has hardwood floors and new appliances and says that interested parties will need to pass a credit test to be considered. We don’t love the linoleum on the kitchen floor, but it looks like it has decent light! No mention of any ghosts, charming or otherwise, but we’d hope that with more than a century under its belt the place would have a few spirits hanging around. After all, one must get one’s money’s worth–and the apartment costs $1,750 a month.
Would you spring for a spot in Cook Mansion? If you do, tell us all about it–and maybe invite us to your housewarming party.