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Cartoon CultureReal Estate

Buy Jim Henson’s Townhouse for Only $28 Million

Jim Henson's Home

If Al Hirschfeld’s $5 million Manhattan townhouse was too rich for your blood, then you probably won’t want to hear about Jim Henson’s Manhattan townhouse, at 117 E. 69th St, which is listed for sale at around $28 million. Of course, when Henson purchased the 12,000 square foot space in 1977, he paid only $600,000 for it.

For several years, the building housed “a significant portion of the New York workshop,” according to the book Jim Henson: The Works. The workshop was “installed in a bright, airy basement area that opened onto a sunny courtyard and was illuminated by an enormous skylight projecting from the rear of the main building. It was there that you would find Calista Hendrickson decorating a gown for Miss Piggy with bugle beads. It was there that you would come across Leslee Asch restoring classic Muppet figures for a traveling museum show. It was there that you would encounter Faz Fazakas tinkering with electrodes and transistors.”

The Henson family sold the building in 2005 for $12.4 million. Since then, it’s been owned by wealthy, unimaginative financiers like Brian Brille, a Bank of America executive, and most recently, Edgar Bronfman Jr., CEO of Warner Music Group and Seagram liquor heir. According to the WSJ, Bronfman doesn’t even live in the building and rents an apartment when he’s staying in New York. The paper reports that Bronfman is “preparing to list the townhouse…at a time when sales of elite townhouse properties are showing renewed vigor after falling hard during the downturn.” It’s hard to understand exactly what ‘falling hard’ means considering that the home’s sale price has more than doubled in the past five years.

Below are a couple more photos of the building’s interior circa the Henson years. Sadly, the energy and magic of Manhattan is largely inaccessible nowadays to artists like Henson, and without those artists, the island’s unique vibe is fading away, no doubt to make room for more condos to house the rich and unimaginative. Thankfully, there’s always Brooklyn.

Jim Henson's Home
  • VG

    Wow! I don’t have coins at this moment…

  • 2011 Child

    $28 million? WELL let me just uh… get my uh… wallet here one minute…

  • Clutch

    Oh to be at that place in the late 70’s…

  • Ed

    I’d love to have that house. Oh, and be in the Rolling Stones too.

  • The Flea

    “Thankfully, there’s always Brooklyn.”

    Where I can spend $1200/month for a studio? No thanks. Ha ha! :D

  • LOL

    2 major comments: (1) in the early 2000’s I visited. The staff working there at the time told me that the building had rodents and plumbing problems. Not impossible to imagine for an older building in NYC, but not ideal, either. (2) There was an AMAZING muppet stained glass window inside the building (I think it was on the first floor, near the entrance). Did this remain? Because it was frickin’ awesome …

  • I prefer Al Hirschfeld’s house, it’s closer to the subway.

  • Stephen M. Levinson

    No one should ever be allowed to own a 28 million dollar home!

    /file under: It’s okay because he’s not an executive./

    • Christina Skyles

      “Of course, when Henson purchased the 12,000 square foot space in 1977, he paid only $600,000 for it.”

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        If the value of the home is $28 million it means he owns a $28 million dollar home.

    • I like that an unimaginative executive own a $28 million home, because he’ll be paying substantial property tax on that.

      • Stephen M. Levinson

        How is this statement relevant? If John Lasseter bought a $28mm home, he’d still be paying substantial property tax.

      • It’s good that the unimaginative rich shoulder the financial burden of keeping civilization going since they make no other contribution, creative or otherwise.

  • wonder if it has anything to do with Bronfman’s $6.7 million dollar insider-trading fine from last month….


  • debra j. solomon

    holy cow there is a TREE growing in the studio !!!!

    can anyone lend me 28 mil?

  • MichaelDair

    Well, at that price Bob Iger should be able to pick that sucker up with the $28 million he earned last year, but he may not have anything left over to change out the toilet seats. He’ll have to suffer till next year. Poor thing.

  • Karl Hungus

    Brooklyn will never be what Manhattan once was.

  • And for all these years I thought he lived at the Happiness Hotel.

  • So what if all the die-hard Muppet fans out there chip in? I’m sure we could afford it. It could be the world’s most fantastic time share!

  • Pedro Nakama

    Doesn’t the actor who played Winchester on MASH own Walt Disney’s house?

  • it should be made into a Henson museum!!!

  • I expect some semblance of the courtyard of the Mystics commune or the great room of the Skeksie’s castle to be represented in the place somewhere :)

  • Earl

    There was a stained glass window of Bert and Ernie in the older E. 67th Street building they were in before this townhouse. You could see it from the street on the third floor. I don’t know what happened to it when they moved.

    • Galen

      Actually the Ernie/Bert stained glass was in this townhouse. Equally delightful was the stained glass pane of Henson and Oz *performing* Bert and Ernie that hung underneath.

  • DMcGeezus

    The world is for sale.