Legendary New York City writer Dorothy Parker once predicted that she was never going to accomplish anything, writing: “my name will never be writ large on the roster of Those Who Do Things.”
She was wrong.
Dorothy Parker’s name is all over the world, from the Dorothy Parker disco in Brazil to Prince’s famous song “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” to bottles of Dorothy Parker gin distilled in Brooklyn. And now, for the first time ever, her name is on an apartment building, too.
The new development, called Parker West, is located on 214 W. 72nd St. between Broadway and West End Avenue. It launches sales today.
This isn’t any old Upper West Side address: It’s the site of Parker’s now-torn-down childhood home, where she lived with her family before her mother died in 1899.
That gray-stone, Queen Anne townhouse was demolished two years ago and replaced with a new 22-story luxury boutique property — one that is sleek and modern, yes, but also gives a nod to the building’s historic nature.
“We went into this [project] with the understanding that it was going to be new, but that there also had to be a historic touch to the property,” Scott Shnay, principal of SK Development, told The Post about his latest enterprise.
To that end, Shnay and the rest of the development team made sure to use natural materials and light-filled design to honor the building’s classic, non-flashy roots. Each apartment is a full-floor one to three bedroom unit (prices range from $1.3 million to $3 million), and the building — which will be finished in about three to four months — also has a landscaped roof terrace with river views, a gym and a children’s play area.
“We wanted it to feel a bit more tactile and more New York-y than one of those glass boxes,” Shnay explained.
The development team is also putting a plaque in the lobby of the building that reads: “This was Dorothy Parker’s childhood home,” to honor Parker’s roots and remind residents and visitors that they are interacting with an important part of New York City literary history. There will also be a photo of Parker in the lobby, as well as images of her original home in the amenities space.
Historian Kevin Fitzpatrick, head of the Dorothy Parker Society and author of numerous books about the writer, is generally pleased with the development of Parker West — largely because of the Parker West name and the resulting plaque in the property’s lobby. But, like most historians with a fierce love for the past, he does wish the original building could have been saved.
“In Parker’s writing, she talks a lot about her childhood and growing up on the Upper West Side, so I do wish it could have been saved,” he said.
Fitzpatrick currently offers walking tours of Parker’s various Upper West Side haunts, including the Red House at 350 W. 85th St., where she lived with her father after her mother’s death, and 310 W. 80th St., which is on a landmarked block just down the street from Zabar’s that hasn’t changed much since Parker was a teenager.
Fitzpatrick even brings tour-goers to Parker’s old school on 79th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, which was a Catholic school called Blessed Sacrament during her time, but is now a Jewish day school, the Rodeph Sholom School.
“Dorothy was a true Upper West Sider and I’m happy that a lot of those historic buildings where she lived and hung out are still around,” Fitzpatrick said.
He even took her ashes for one last drive around her old stomping grounds before bringing them to Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx so she could be buried next to her mother.
“I arrived at Penn Station with the box containing her ashes, and I had to take an Uber home to my house on 99th and Broadway — so I made sure we drove past her houses on West 72nd and West 80th as a homecoming. I like to think that Dorothy Parker got one more drive around the Upper West Side.”
In the end, Upper West Side drive or not, one thing is clear: Parker’s love for her neighborhood — and her overall legacy — continues to live on.
“The mission of the Dorothy Parker Society is to keep people talking about her, so in that way, Parker West fits right into what we’re trying to do,” Fitzpatrick said. “Now, I want everyone to keep celebrating her with some Dorothy Parker gin.”