It was one of those apartment deals that seemed too good to be true. And there was indeed a snag.
“The guy was illegally subletting to me,” Leithauser says of the apartment where he lived for eight years. “It was all city-subsidized housing, and he was making just a huge profit off of me. He was paying the city just $300 a month or something, and then he stopped paying the city because he’s just an idiot, so the sheriff starting writing letters to him.”
Anna Stumpf and their baby, Georgiana, live in Brooklyn." title="Hamilton Leithauser, wife Anna Stumpf and their baby, Georgiana, live in Brooklyn." width="300" height="300" src="/rw/nypost/2012/05/31/home/web_photos/31R.CoverHamilton.c--300x300.jpg" />
Hamilton Leithauser, wife Anna Stumpf and their baby, Georgiana, live in Brooklyn.
This led to a four-year court battle during which Leithauser and his wife, Anna Stumpf (a producer/video editor who’s working on her first feature-length film), lived rent-free.
“I was there for much longer than I would have liked to be, but it was like winning the lottery,” Leithauser says.
When the building was converted to luxury rentals and the rent nearly tripled, the couple decided it was time to move to Brooklyn.
“I guess we just sort of knew this area because we’d come over and hang with our friends,” Leithauser says. “This is called Clinton Hill, but when I told our accountant when we were doing our taxes — she’s from here originally — she said, ‘That’s Bedford-Stuyvesant.’ So I think it might be like some Realtor dug it up and, you know, tried to cutesify the area or something.”
After renting a floor-through apartment in a brownstone for a year, Leithauser and Stumpf, both now 34, found a two-bedroom, 1,065-square-foot condo just off the G-train Classon stop in June 2010.
“I’m glad we didn’t buy right away because over that year we were renting, the prices really dropped,” Leithauser says.
Then a new-construction building in the neighborhood hit the market, and the couple decided it was time to buy.
“We were the first people in the building,” Leithauser says.
The apartment, which was in the $600,000 range, features two terraces and a private, fenced roof deck. They use the small front terrace to grow geraniums and the larger back terrace for relaxing in two Adirondack chairs, but their private roof-deck space — with a barbecue grill and a dining table — is where most of the outdoor living takes place.
“It’s nice to sit out here when it’s warm,” Leithauser says.
From Leithauser’s roof, the neighborhood’s many brownstones and expansive projects can be seen.
“Biggie Smalls is from right over there on St. James Place, 226 St. James,” Leithauser says, pointing off in the distance. “We used to live five doors down from him. I listened to his music a lot. I like him.”
Hamilton Leithauser, Michael SofronskiHamilton Leithauser, Anna Stumpf, Leithauser, the Walkmen, apartment