At Home With Broadway Producer Tracy Aron
A Spring Awakening producer shares what she loves most about her elegant townhouse in New York's Upper West Side.
With five floors, 6,000 square feet and an abundance of prewar details, this elegant Upper West Side townhouse is ideal for entertaining. Owner Tracy Aron can attest to this — the Broadway producer has hosted countless events at her home ever since she purchased it in 1996. Aron spoke to FrontDoor about her favorite rooms in the house (currently listed by Karen Kelley, SVP, of The Corcoran Group) and throwing cast parties for Broadway musicals.
Tour Tracy Aron's Upper West Side TownhouseView All 6 Photos
What do you love most about your home?
That the original detail is all intact and that it is really a strong and sturdy house. I love the proportion of the rooms. I love that it has east-west exposure and it is on a double townhouse block, so it’s flooded with light — unlike most townhouses, which tend to be dark. Light is very important to me. And it has a central staircase that goes up to a roof, which I love. I love to be on the roof. I always tell people I own the best piece of sky in Manhattan.
Have you done any renovation work over the time that you’ve lived there?
Yes. Obviously I wanted to retain all the original detail so I haven’t changed [much]. In fact, I’ve been reluctant to make any changes. But I have updated the kitchen and bathroom.
What did you do?
The house was set up as a mini mansion, so it’s set up for servants. There were two small servants’ rooms on the top floor and two small bathrooms. I knocked down the wall in between the two small servants’ rooms and made one large room, and I made one large bathroom with two skylights where the two bathrooms were. I put in a full bathroom on the fourth floor. And that’s pretty much it.
What’s your favorite part of the house to relax in?
We all gather in the library, which has a leaded-glass mahogany bookcase and a really beautiful original fireplace mantel. That particular fireplace is the one that we sit around. It’s pretty much our gathering place. It’s a very intimate room. The formal living room is gorgeous but it’s not as cozy.
What’s your favorite room to entertain in when you have guests over?
The second floor is really our entertaining floor. It’s the living room, a big giant landing and the dining room, so it’s like a full floor that’s very open.
What are some of your favorite design details?
Clarence True is the architect and all of his homes have archways and columns. And the staircase is just exquisite, especially when you’re on the second floor; this is where the Corinthian columns and the arches are on the staircase. I think the staircase is magnificent. All of the rooms in the house are full-width, which is really nice, so the staircase does not take up any of the space in the rooms. The other thing that’s beautiful is there’s a wedding-cake ceiling in the living room, which is in perfect condition. It’s something that you can’t duplicate today. You can try, but there’s no way you can make anything new look like something old and exquisite like that.
You work in theater. What do you do?
I’m a theatrical producer. I produce musicals on Broadway.
What are some musicals you’ve produced?
The one everyone knows about is Spring Awakening. LoveMusik with Donna Murphy and Hal Prince. And I just recently did a new one called The People in the Picture.
Do you host work events at your home, like cast or crew parties?
I’ve had so many cast parties and readings. The house has just been a great place for socialization, and I lend it out to friends who need a really great entertaining space. I run a relief organization and do a lot of not-for-profit work, too, so we’ve done benefits for Kosovar refugees from the Balkans and gatherings for Botswana orphans.
How many people can it comfortably entertain at once?
My son had a Halloween party and there were 400 children. I can comfortably have 200 people in this house. Usually I have a big Christmas party every year. Well, I used to. Not so much anymore, I’ve run out of steam for that. But usually there’s about 200 people at the Christmas party.
What do you like most about the neighborhood?
I love being half a block from Riverside Park and the Hudson River. It is such a delight. And I’m also close to Central Park. What’s really great is that five blocks on either side on Broadway, which is a half-block away from here, has everything. Every kind of restaurant, specialty food stores. And the subway — if I walk three blocks one direction I’m on the express line, if I walk three blocks the other direction I’m going local.
What are some of your favorite restaurants?
French Roast is open 24 hours a day and it’s a wonderful, intimate place. My son and I used to go there every night. We have City Diner, which is right on the corner of Broadway and 90th Street, which is also open 24 hours a day; it’s like the quintessential New York diner. Besides that there’s a very fine steak place called Ouest.
Are there views from any of the rooms?
Not of the river, but there is foliage outside of every single window in the house. You feel like you’re in the country.