The co-founder of Rockstar Games was the one who shelled out $12.5 million for the old house where Truman Capote once had an apartment—the most expensive sale in Brooklyn history. The identity of the buyers of 70 Willow Street were unknown earlier this month. “We’re not celebrities. We’re just a boring family,” the lady of the house told the Brooklyn Paper. But the Observer now identifies the buyer as Dan Houser, who helped started the video game company that has brought us Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption.
Capote describes the mansion, owned by a friend who asks him over, in “A House in the Heights”:
I was most impressed; exceedingly envious. There were twenty-eight rooms, high-ceilinged, well proportioned, and twenty-eight workable, marble-manteled fireplaces. There was a beautiful staircase floating upward in white, swan-simple curves to a skylight of sunny amber-gold glass. The floors were fine, the real thing, hard lustrous timber; and the walls! In 1820, when the house was built, men knew how to make walls—thick as a buffalo, immune to the mightiest cold, the meanest heat.
French doors led to a spacious rear porch reminiscent of Louisiana. A porch canopied, completely submerged, as though under a lake of leaves, by an ancient but admirably vigorous vine weighty with grapelike bunches of wisteria. Beyond, a garden: a tulip tree, a blossoming pear, a perched black-and-red bird bending a feathery branch of forsythia.
In the twilight, we talked, my friend and I. We sat on the porch consulting Martinis—I urged him to have one more, another. It got to be quite late, he began to see my point: yes, twenty-eight rooms were rather a lot; and yes, it seemed only fair that I should have some of them.
That is how I came to live in the yellow brick house on Willow Street.
No doubt the Housers came by a very different route.
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