Skip To Content

Dorothy Parker’s Childhood Home To Be Demolished

Even Dorothy Parker, the queen of witty ripostes, might have had a hard time making light of this fresh hell.

The West Side Rag reports that Parker’s childhood home on 72nd Street near Broadway will be demolished to make room for a 21-story retail and residential development.

Parker, who would have turned 125 on August 22, lived in the five-floor building from 1895 to 1899 from the ages of two to six. While these weren’t her Algonquin Round Table years, they were certainly formative ones.

“Community Board 7, which covers the Upper West side, did not want to save it,” Kevin Fitzpatrick, who runs the Dorothy Parker Society and has been fighting to save the building since it was pegged for demolition in 2011, told the Forward. “[The Board] laughed at me. They said she lived there as a child. But a writer is shaped by where a writer is from, and just because it wasn’t where she was writing her famous poetry doesn’t make it any less of a literary landmark.” Fitzpatrick noted that another childhood home of Parker’s, the nearby 310 W 80th Street, has a plaque in Parker’s honor.

We don’t know what precocious verse or devastating comebacks Dorothy cultivated inside the walls of her house on 72nd Street, but we reckon they were more advanced than the typical “Roses are Red” or “I know you are but what am I?”

Sadly the incubator of Parker’s genius is expected to give way to the new order of charmless condos. As Parker may have said of the changing times: “Time doth flit; oh sh*t.”

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at [email protected].


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.