Houdini's Harlem House

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Bill Mullins
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Houdini's Harlem House

Postby Bill Mullins » June 30th, 2014, 9:31 pm

When Houdini's house at 278 W 113th st originally went on the market in 1896, it was listed as "restricted".

Am I correct in believing that this was intended to mean "No Jews Allowed"?

Leonard Hevia
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Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
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Re: Houdini's Harlem House

Postby Leonard Hevia » July 1st, 2014, 12:51 am

That doesn't sound...kosher. According to Silverman in Houdini!!!: "Located across Morningside Park across from Columbia University, it was one of many handsome new town houses and small apartment buildings in Harlem that beckoned to successful Jewish immigrants, who moved there in droves."

"Restricted" here might mean a deed restriction, where certain limitations are imposed on the new homeowner to maintain aesthetic uniformity between the property and neighboring properties. There might be a restriction on the use of certain colors if the new owner wanted to repaint the house. Another restriction might limit the amount of pets, the number of rooms that can be added to the property, the kinds of materials used to make any additions, and the curtailment of certain activities.

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Re: Houdini's Harlem House

Postby magicam » November 4th, 2014, 12:58 am

The reference to "restrictions" in 1896 would almost certainly be to deed restrictions. In that era, building size, paint color, and other aesthetic matters were rarely addressed in recorded documents affecting the property. Instead, deed restrictions usually related to prohibiting sale of the property to people of a certain race or religion, or to prohibiting the sale and/or consumption of alcohol on the property. Reading the deed is the only way to learn the nature of the restrictions.

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