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Tour Pretty Penny, Former Home of Helen Hayes

Pretty Penny Tour

Nyack’s most famous house on North Broadway was once home to the First Lady of American Theatre. On Sunday May 5 you can take a rare tour of Helen Hayes’ storied house on the Hudson, Pretty Penny, to benefit Nyack’s Edward Hopper House Art Center.

Join Elle Decor Magazine publisher Barbara Hertz Friedmann and WQXR/WNYC host and producer Elliott Forrest for a tour of Pretty Penny on Sunday, May 5, 2013 from 2-5p. For a contribution of $100 to the Edward Hopper House Art Center, you can tour the 157 year old historic house and gardens and enjoy sparkling wine and light fare. The afternoon will include talks on the house and its furnishings, the gardens over looking the Hudson River and the Edward Hopper commissioned painting.

[pullquote]”According to a 1939 article in Life Magazine, Pretty Penny was “honestly theatrical.” [/pullquote] It was full of faux surfaces, crystal chandeliers, paintings by Renoir and Degas, a basement bar from a Broadway show, and sprinkled throughout with sophisticated house gifts from celebrities like Beatrice Lillie and Norma Shearer. Today’s interiors are still high style, but the look depends heavily on reproduction moldings and door surrounds, none of which were here in the MacArthur days. It was comedian Rosie O’Donnell who, after buying the house in 1996, took it back to the 1850s — sort of. Pretty Penny today is a cross between a museum — quality reconstruction and a Fifth Avenue co-op.” 
— blog post by Graham Arder, the current owner of Pretty Penny

This tour represents is a unique opportunity to visit the restored home and gardens of actress Helen Hayes and her playwright husband, Charles MacArthur. In 1939, American realist painter Edward Hopper was commissioned by Hayes and MacArthur to paint a portrait of Pretty Penny. Helen Hayes lived there for 60 years; in the late 1990’s, actress and comedienne Rosie O’Donnell, lived there for about three years.

Pretty Penny is located at 235 North Broadway, Nyack, NY. For information about tickets for the tour, visit

See also:

Nyack Farmer's Market

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