Barbra Streisand's Homes: From Brooklyn to Malibu
by: Matt Howe, Barbra-Archives.com
Barbra Streisand is a true success story: she had very humble beginnings in New York City, and has ended up building and decorating several homes since. An admitted collector of beautiful things, Streisand has an eye for architecture and design.
This page of Barbra Archives takes a look at all of Barbra's addresses—from Brooklyn to Malibu.
457 Schenectady Ave., East Flatbush
Barbra Streisand's parents, Diana and Emanuel Streisand, lived in Flatbush—just south of Empire Boulevard in Wingate—when Streisand was born on April 24, 1942.
365 Pulaski Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
In 1943, after her father died, Streisand's mother moved Barbra and her brother Sheldon into their grandparent's home—a three-room apartment in the Philip Arms building, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Diana Streisand's father and mother (Louis and Ida Rosen) lived on the first floor on the tenement building.
“I slept in the bed with my mother and my brother had a Roll Away cot in the same room. We never had a couch—I guess that's why I have lots of couches today,” Streisand recalled in 2004.
Barbra attended the yeshiva on Willoughby Street. And Toby Borookow, the knitting lady who lived on the first floor of the Philip Arms, took a liking to Streisand and knitted a sweater for Barbra's hot water bottle baby doll. She also took care of Barbra after school while her mother worked.
The Pulaski Street home was where Barbra sang on the stoops with the other children.
3102 Newkirk Ave, Apt. 4G, Vanderveer Estates, Flatbush
In 1950, Barbra and her family moved to Newkirk Avenue, on the corner of Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush. The building they lived in was one of New York City's larger public housing projects.
Streisand attended school at P.S. 89.Diana Kind married Louis Kind. Daughter Rosalind (Roslyn) Kind was born in 1951.
At age 13, Streisand attended Erasmus Hall High School and was a cashier at Choy's Oriental Restaurant (1850 Nostrand Avenue). Near Erasmus was the Loews Kings Theater on Flatbush Avenue where Streisand used to watch movies (pictured above). “I was 13 years old when I first started spending many a wonderful afternoon there, partly because it had double features, air conditioning and great ice cream cones,” Streisand said.
She clarified that she was not an usher there, as reported in several biographies—“I was just a kid, a paying customer, a movie lover. ”
Moving to Manhattan
Above: [Blue Circle: Shulenberg's apartment; Red Circle: The Bon Soir; Green Circle: The Lion and Barry Dennen's apartment.]
At age fifteen, Barbra Streisand started spending more time in Manhattan perusing the Fifth Avenue Public Library and taking acting classes.
She graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1959. After graduating (she was sixteen years old), Barbra moved to Manhattan and rented a small apartment at 339 West 48th Street with her acting class friend, Susan Dworkowitz for a very short time.
After her successes at The Lion and The Bon Soir, Streisand moved in with her boyfriend Barry Dennen for a while. He lived at 69 West 9th Street. (Another friend, Bob Schulenberg, stayed at 16 Gay Street).
In 1961, however, after a breakup with Dennen, Streisand was homeless for a while. She kept clothes at friend's apartments. “Some people thought I was a transvestite when they looked in that closet with all Barbra’s sequins and feathers,” Schulenberg revealed.
Streisand also slept on Elaine Sobel's couch in her one-bedroom apartment at 34th Street near Second Avenue.
Don Softness Office, 211 East 53rd Street
Don Softness—a press agent for the PM East television show which Barbra appeared on—had an office in an apartment building on East 53rd, complete with kitchen and bathroom. After Streisand was thrown out of an apartment she subleased on West 18th Street in Chelsea, she chose to sleep on Softness' office couch rather than go home to her mother in Brooklyn. “Barbra settled in,” Softness said, “and was never a problem. She slept on a couch and was up early. By the time the office opened for business at 9:00 o'clock, she was gone, making her rounds, and doing whatever she did. In the evening, the office reverted to her apartment.” Softness said she stayed for more than a year, leaving only after she became a Broadway star in I Can Get It For You Wholesale.
1157 Third Avenue, New York
Barbra Streisand was 19 years old and was appearing on Broadway as “Miss Marmelstein” in the musical I Can Get It For You Wholesale. The show's stage manager told Streisand about this $60 a month walkup tenement building at 1157 Third Avenue in Manhattan. The apartment building was situated over Oscar's Salt of the Sea Restaurant.
The apartment had only one window, and it looked out at the brick wall of the adjacent alley. The bathtub was located in the kitchen.
Back then, Barbra said, “I had no money to buy art, so I would buy old picture frames and put them on white walls, just framing space, which I thought was beautiful.”
A few months later, Elliott Gould — the star of Wholesale whom Barbra was dating— moved in. (“Can you imagine,” Streisand wrote in her book, My Passion For Design, “Elliott is 6’3”, and we slept in a single bed, because that was all that could fit into the room.”)
Gould told the press he and Streisand shared the apartment with “a big rat named Oscar” who lived in their kitchen.
“I can remember my first apartment in New York,” said Streisand in Architectural Digest, “it was a railroad flat on Third Avenue—and how I filled it with screens and lacquered chests. Even when I had no money, there was always the need to transform my surroundings.”
“I have a railroad flat ... but it’s getting too small,” Streisand told The New Yorker in May 1962, “because I just bought two marvelous Victorian cabinets with glass shelves. I got them in a shop at Eighty-third Street and Columbus Avenue, called Foyniture Limited. That’s how it’s spelled.”
In 1991 —almost 30 years after she lived there— Streisand returned to the tenement walkup with Mike Wallace for an interview segment which aired on 60 Minutes. The current tenant let the cameras in, and Streisand pointed out that the window (which looked out at a brick wall) was still there!
320 Central Park West
In 1963, Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand married, and Barbra was earning a “leading lady” paycheck starring in Funny Girl on Broadway. They moved into 320 Central Park West. The Ardsley was an Art Deco-style building by renowned architect, Emery Roth. Streisand's duplex apartment was once owned by lyricist Lorenz Hart, who lived there with his mother.
“Look, this was my first real home,” Streisand explained to Architectural Digest in 1978. “Let me tell you. I wanted Louis, Louis, Louis—as much as I could lay my hands on. And I got it: bronzes, porcelains, satin, moiré. Later I became far more sophisticated.”
Streisand tried selling the apartment in 1998 to Mariah Carey for, reportedly, $8 million in cash. The board of the building rejected her. “If an artist can't live on the Upper West Side,” Streisand said to the press, “where can they live?”
14 years after putting it on the market, Streisand finally sold her NY apartment for $4 million.
49 East 80th Street
Back in 1969, Streisand shopped New York for a new place to live and ran into a few roadblocks.
927 Fifth Avenue rejected Streisand despite personal letters of recommendation from Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz, and Mayor John Lindsay. One board member told the press she was rejected “because she'd probably give a lot of parties.”
The board at 1107 Fifth Avenue was afraid Streisand would build a recording studio in her apartment.
The wife of one of the board of directors at 1021 Park Avenue said Streisand was rejected because she was “a flamboyant type.”
Barbra Streisand ended up purchasing a 5-story brownstone in New York on March 31, 1970 for $420,000.
In June 1970 she hosted a fundraiser for Bella Abzug there — “no furniture!” she wrote on the invite.
Streisand never occupied the New York home (“That's when I moved here to California,” Ms. Streisand said, “but kept the small apartment in New York [the Ardsley]. Eventually, I also expanded that apartment when I bought the one next door.”)
301 Carolwood Drive, Holmby Hills
When Barbra Streisand first came to Hollywood to make Funny Girl and Hello, Dolly! she rented Greta Garbo's house on North Bedford Drive.
Streisand rented the house on Carolwood Drive in 1969 when she was making On A Clear Day You Can See Forever and eventually bought it.
Above: The Carolwood house with tiled roof and swimming pool.
The house had five bedrooms and seven baths in 9,500 square feet. The walled and gated Mediterranean-style home had a two-story living room, a dining room with a fireplace, screening and sunrooms, an office and a library. The house, on less than three acres, also had a pool.
“It was built in 1929,” Streisand told the L.A. Times in 2009, “ and it was Mediterranean. I don't like Mediterranean architecture, unless it's in the Mediterranean — put it that way. The living room was really a library; all the walls were books. When I bought the house, it was a hodgepodge of a room. And then I designed the room around an Art Nouveau lamp that I thought was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.”
In 1997 she put it up for sale when she moved to her new house on Malibu's Point Dume.
Below: Barbra was photographed in her backyard at Carolwood for a 1991 Vanity Fair interview.
Barbra Streisand sold her Carolwood Drive home for $4.8 million.
In 2016, after raising the original house, a 38,000-square-feet house (and several guest houses) were erected on the site.
5750 Ramirez Canyon Road
Barbra Streisand lived at Ramirez Canyon between 1974 and 1993. The property is located in a canyon off the Malibu coastline. Streisand purchased 8 acres with boyfriend Jon Peters in February 1974. She also bought the adjoining parcels of land soon thereafter for a total of 22.5 acres of Malibu canyon land.
Video of Barbra's ranch, featured in a 1986 interview with Barbara Walters:
A Craftsman post-and-beam, two-story bungalow that was constructed by Streisand as a postproduction hub for Yentl. The house is surrounded by sycamore trees, has large windows, skylights, and vaulted ceilings.
Pictured below, a 3-bedroom home with a 30-foot peaked ceiling.
Formerly a stable, Streisand converted the building to a Mediterranean-style villa. The lower two floors were a guest apartment, while the upper level was a screening room.
Art Deco House
Streisand spent five years working on her Art Deco-inspired home, decorating it in only two color ranges: black to gray, and burgundy to pale rose. She told Architectural Digest, “I thought it would be a really interesting exercise to have one theme.” Indeed, the house is gray on two sides, burgundy on two sides.
Streisand claimed that her Art Deco house project was a “five-year ordeal and by the time it was over, I never wanted to look at Art Deco again.”
Also on the Malibu property was “The Meadow” — where Streisand built a natural amphitheater backed by a terraced hillside of fruit trees for her One Voice concert.
Streisand put the property on the market in early 1990s for reportedly $19.5 million. When Streisand could not sell the property, she donated the estate to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy as a park in December 1993. She received a $14 million appraisal which was worth a 6.75 tax break at the time—and Streisand lost money on the deal.
Barbra’s “Elegant Barn”
“I wanted to downsize,” Streisand wrote in her 2010 book My Passion For Design, “sell the ranch, sell the Carolwood house, get rid of the apartment in New York ... and just have one house on the ocean.”
Barbra wrote all about building her dream house in the 2010 book, My Passion For Design.
- Hollywood: the movie lover's guide : the ultimate insider tour to movie L.A. By Richard Alleman
- Jews of Brooklyn By Ilana Abramovitch, Seán Galvin
- Streisand: Her Life By James Spada
- The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) website
- My Passion For Design by Barbra Streisand
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