53 West 9th StreetManhattan > Greenwich Village > West 9th Street
Built in 1899, this 16-foot skinny mini was perhaps too narrow to cut up into cellblocks -- er, studio apartments. Therefore, the 4-story property had remained a single-family residence. In the early 1950s, when New Yorkers were fleeing to leafy green suburbs [i.e., Levittown, Long Island], Greenwich Village became "bargain-ville." Two newly-wed psychiatrists purchased it. Soon after they moved in, a baby was born. A year later, the husband died.
• • Alice E. Fabian, M.D. kept the second floor as her office and consultation rooms, seeing patients while raising her daughter. Dr. Fabian subscribed to many medical journals and, apparently, never threw anything out.
• • In need of breathing room maybe, her daughter moved to London, England.
• • Left alone, Dr. Fabian slipped into madness, keeping a daily journal that meticulously recorded the phantoms and apparitions that tormented her. The property deteriorated as her mind did and yet she desperately held on to reality through her daily routines, for example by tending one lone tree in front of her house.
• • When she died, this daily journal crammed with sad details was turned over by Miss Fabian to a performance artist who did a site-specific indie film there - - The Mud Queen - - before four decades worth of periodicals and bric-a-brac were carted away.
• • A successful movie mogul lives there now with a pretty blonde wife. Betcha there's one film they've never seen . . . .
• • Do noisy phantoms and satanic changelings still lurk here - - such as the unearthly tormentors that Alice Fabian's journals so vividly described?
Photo: 53 West 9th has a wrought iron balcony [2nd floor]