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Live Where They Lived

Barack Obama’s walk-up apartment, Ada Louise Huxtable’s Park Avenue perch, and John Mayer’s bachelor pad are all up for grabs.

Charles Mingus
Where: 5 Great Jones Street.
What: A 2,400-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath.
Monthly rent: $8,750.
Agents: Emma Hamilton Malina and Dorothy Zeidman, the Corcoran Group.

There’s a scene in Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968, a documentary about the life and times of jazz musician Charles Mingus, where he’s shown in a loft—this loft—in 1966 with his papers, lamps, and sheet music in languorous disarray. He shoots his rifle at the ceiling and, later, sits at his piano, pipe perched on his lips; he’s in no hurry. But soon the cops will be coming down his Noho street to cart his possessions away. Later, when he’s shown in front of the building, his belongings curbside, a reporter asks what he thinks of being evicted (allegedly for not paying the rent). Mingus, distraught, tells him, “I think America is beautiful.” If that’s not enough provenance for you: Sometime after Mingus left, puppeteer Kermit Love set up his studio here, where he and his crew constructed the first prototypes of Big Bird and Snuffleapagus in what’s now the master bedroom. The current owners are away for six months and have put it up for a short-term rental.

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