Angelina Jolie and the Ghosts of New York Past

In later decades, the building was home to companies that sold metalwork and kitchen equipment. In 1973, when Don DeLillo named his third book after the street, Great Jones Street, he added it to the canon of American writing. The main character of the book, Bucky Wunderlick, a disappointed rock star, lives in a run-down flat there: “I went to the room in Great Jones Street. It was a small, crooked room that was as cold as a penny and looked out onto warehouses, trucks, and rubble.”

A report from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission says that Mr. Warhol bought 57 Great Jones Street in 1970 as Factory Films Inc., the name of his business. In 1983, Mr. Warhol rented the upstairs loft to Mr. Basquiat (who was already a rising star in the art world) as a way to help him learn. It took Mr. Basquiat a few years to make works like “King Zulu” and “Riding With Death.”

“Jean-Michel called,” Mr. Warhol wrote in his notebook on September 5, 1983. “He's afraid he'll only be famous for a short time.” I told him not to worry because he wouldn't be. Then I got scared because he rented our building on Great Jones. What if he turns out to be a fake and can't pay his rent?”

After Mr. Basquiat's death, street artists flocked to the building's outside to leave tributes to him. Since then, his crown motif and the “SAMO” graffiti tag have been used to mark the spot.

In the early 1990s, the Warhol family sold the building. The area quickly became more expensive, and places like B Bar and the Bowery Hotel became popular places to go out at night. At that point, the address was taken by Bohemian, a Japanese restaurant that only took reservations and didn't have a phone number posted. It was hidden behind a butcher shop like a speakeasy.

Meridian Capital Group rented out the building for $60,000 a month in 2022. Property records show that the famous real estate expert Robert Von Ancken rents it out. The Trumps, the Helmsleys, and the Zeckendorfs are just a few of the wealthy families in New York who have used his services. When asked about it by phone, Mr. Von Ancken said that he bought the building with his late business partner, Leslie Garfield, and that he now owns it with Mr. Garfield's family.


Mr. John A. Barnett is an experienced News Editor at DigitalKarate. He is skilled in the art of building tales that are compelling and in ensuring that reporting is accurate.

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