George Gershwin composed some of his best songs for the 1930 hit "Girl Crazy" at the adjoining penthouse he shared with his brother, Ira. SOURCE:

How many apartment homes can boast of being the very place where the Gershwins lived and penned many of their most enduring contributions to music history?

That’s what lives on inside this 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath pre-war cooperative at 33 Riverside Dr, where George and Ira Gershwin occupied adjoining Manhattan penthouses in the late 1920s. The place was a scene of much partying and artistic creation and collaboration.

Most famously, the penthouse is where a young Ethel Merman was summoned by the Gershwins to audition for their new musical “Girl Crazy” in 1930. George Gershwin played “Little White Lies” and “Exactly Like You” for Merman and, because the brassy singer did not immediately respond to his presentation, Gershwin famously offered:

“Miss Merman, if there is anything about these songs you don’t like, I’ll be most happy to change them.” Merman was dumbfounded at the composer’s humble inquiry and gave her oft-quoted, simple response: “No, Mr. Gershwin, they’ll do very nicely.”

These days, the Gershwins’ former home is being billed as a “rare beauty waiting to be restored and renovated to its original grandeur,” said listing agent Lisa Lippman of Brown, Harris, Stevens. However, nothing needs to be done about the views from the huge terrace, which let the eye wander in three directions with overviews of the Hudson River, the Boat Basin and Riverside Park.

It’s like treehouse living from inside the full-service, pre-war cooperative listed on Manhattan’s Upper West Side real estate market. In addition to an open dining room and kitchen, there’s a master bedroom suite on the main floor. A spiral staircase leads to a lower level which features two bedrooms, a home office and a marble bath.

As Ira Gershwin wrote, and Merman sang: Who could ask for anything more?



About the Author

Laura Vecsey is a former sports columnist, news reporter and politics writer and has worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Baltimore Sun, Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union and Harrisburg Patriot-News. She was also a regional editor with She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.

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