‘Round the Hood….Gershwin House

George Gershwin lived across from our front door for four years between 1925 and 1929. On September 22nd, 1925, just four days short of his 27th birthday, he closed on 316 West 103rd Street. With two mortgages $20,500; George owned 50%, his brother and lyricist Ira 25%, and their mother contributed the remaining 35%. He was investing his new wealth, the estimated $250,000 proceeds from his copyright on Rhapsody in Blue, which he had finished early the previous year, then performed at Carnegie Hall and recorded.

During the noisy renovation of 316 West 103rd, he rented two rooms at the Whitehall Hotel on Broadway. Finally, when the work finished, he had a five story home with an elevator, a novelty which his father enjoyed. The ground floor was a billiards room and small bedroom; the first floor was the dining and living areas with two twin Steinways. George had the top floor rooms; his brother Ira occupied the fourth floor; the younger siblings shared the third floor; leaving their parents the more convenient second floor bedroom and sitting room. The following year, 1926, Ira married and brought his new wife to the large, bustling home.

From time to time we profile the people, places, and institutions that make The Master and our neighborhood unique. Contact profiles editor J L Burcham (profiles@masterapts.com) with feedback or ideas.

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