Since 1976, singer-songwriter Denise Marsa has lived in her tidy studio around the corner from the house Ms. Martin once owned at 18 Christopher Street. (She can still remember the original rent: $174.24). She tried to help Mrs. Martin in her final years and urged her to make a will, but her landlord “lived in a fairy tale,” she said.
Today, Ms. Marsa, 68, the last occupant of the building, her cheerful apartment with her kitchen hidden in a closet is a textbook example of small-space living and the promise of studio life as a launch pad. She too, like Comden and Green once did, rendered her homeland in song, in a number featured on The Pass, her one-woman show about city survival that she hosted in the United Solo, a Theater, Festival performing in Manhattan in Fall 2021. (Storefronts are packed down here; John Derian, purveyor of his own brand of charming decay, took Mr. McGhee’s place four years ago.)
Back to Mr. Berman’s, the mood was festive nonetheless. The growl of a bulldozer interrupted the protesters. His driver, a private contractor, said he was there to work under the road in front of 14 Gay Street. When questioned, he said he didn’t know who hired him and backed down. Across the street, Joan Goldberg, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens, held a quasi-open house at 13 Gay Street, a modest Greek Revival built circa 1840 and owned by Margaret Kunstler, widow of civil rights attorney William Kunstler, who died in 1995 and was known for representing some controversial clients. (The home is on the market for $6.9 million.)
“It was a wonderful road to live in,” Ms. said artist. “We had big Halloweens. Sometimes we closed the street for birthday parties. The house was open; there was a constant coming and going.”