5-Story West Village townhouse reflects the history-rich character of Commerce Street

On the history-rich Commerce Street in the West Village, a 5-story townhouse built on land that was once owned by Queen Anne is now up for grabs.

Georgie Mihaila
5 Min Read
Photo credit: Carli Biryla courtesy of The Agency

With its rich historical background and sharp, nearly 90-degree turn — an unusual bend that aligns with similar curves in other nearby streets that follow an old property line established in 1633 — West Village’s Commerce Street is a unique piece of New York City history.

And the many historically significant buildings that surround it are proof of that.

The nearby Isaacs-Hendricks House at 77 Bedford Street is one of the few remaining 18th-century buildings in Manhattan, dating back to 1799. Neighboring it at 75-1/2 Bedford Street is a narrow 9-1/2 feet wide house built in 1873, once home to poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.

On Commerce Street proper, we find the Cherry Lane Theatre, the oldest continuously running off-Broadway theater in New York City.

And the buildings at numbers 41 and 39, built in 1831, are known for their mansard roofs added in 1873, but also for the folk tales that surround them. The twin houses are said to have been built by a sea captain who had two feuding daughters, so he built them identical, separate homes with a shared garden.

At 48 Commerce Street, we find another West Village gem — one that’s currently on the market and looking for an architecturally inclined or history-loving owner.

48 Commerce Street, New York. Photo credit: Carli Biryla courtesy of The Agency

Originally built in 1844, the 5-story townhouse was built on land once owned by Queen Anne, the younger daughter of James II, who reigned over Great Britain and Ireland at the dawn of the 18th century.

According to our sources, Queen Anne later sold it to Trinity Church, after which architect Alexander T. Stewart — an Irish immigrant who created one of the first department stores in America, The Marble Dry-Good Palace — bought it and built the 5-story structure at 48 Commerce Street.

The West Village townhouse, now listed for $10,000,000, sits on an expansive lot with almost 5,000 square feet of living space and a width of 20 feet — and can accommodate at least 6 bedrooms, each with its own office and walk-in closet.

With 8 full baths, future residents and guests will get to enjoy comfort and privacy in one of the city’s most desirable locations. Features include 9 wood-burning fireplaces, a rear patio, a front garden, and rooftop space that allows for a deck with skyline views.

Photo credit: Carli Biryla courtesy of The Agency
Photo credit: Carli Biryla courtesy of The Agency
Photo credit: Carli Biryla courtesy of The Agency
Photo credit: Carli Biryla courtesy of The Agency
Photo credit: Carli Biryla courtesy of The Agency
Photo credit: Carli Biryla courtesy of The Agency
Photo credit: Carli Biryla courtesy of The Agency

Norman L. Steele, the current owner of the property — who’s also a former real estate mogul that once worked for IBM — restored the building in 1994.

He’s now ready to part ways with his West Village townhouse, offering one lucky buyer the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind dream home in a beloved Manhattan location or to split it into several units and maximize their investment.

48 Commerce Street is listed for $10 million with Michael Biryla of The Agency New York.

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With a decade-long career as a digital content creator, Georgie started out as a real estate journalist for Multi-Housing News & CPExecutive. She later transitioned into digital marketing, working with leading real estate websites like PropertyShark, RENTCafé and Point2Homes. After a brief but impactful stint in the start-up world, where she led the marketing divisions of fintech company NestReady and media publisher Goalcast, Georgie returned to her first passion, real estate, and founded FancyPantsHomes.com