The Real-Life Apartment Complex That Inspired Hulu's Only Murders in the Building – TheThings

The series Only Murders in the Building took its inspiration from another crime-ridden apartment complex that dates back over a century.
Created by Steve Martin and John Hoffman, Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building follows a peculiarly unique plot (even Selena Gomez was shocked when she read the script).
The show’s three stars in the form of Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin share obvious comedic chemistry that forms a big part of the show (but they are, of course, getting paid a bundle to be that funny).
Season 2 of Only Murders recently premiered and the second episode itself gave fans an inside look into the history of the iconic Upper West Side apartment complex called Arconia.
The episode gave fans an insight into Arconia’s millionaire architect’s questionable history. In an episode two flashback, the millionaire’s personal lift is shown to lead to a series of peepholes that were constructed solely to spy on women’s dressing rooms throughout the complex.
While the show itself follows an exaggerated plot revolving around murder, mystery, and comedy, Arconia has been revealed to have taken its inspiration from a real-life Manhattan apartment complex called The Ansonia.
While the apartment complex from the show shares a close resemblance with The Ansonia’s history, another famous New York building features in the show. The iconic facade in front of Arconia is actually that of the luxury west side condominium building Belnord, widely recognized as one of the grandest apartment houses in Upper Manhattan.
Related:‘Only Murders In The Building’: Selena Gomez Posts ‘Sad’ BTS Photo Ahead Of Penultimate Episode
Belnord has a total of 213 units with sizes ranging from 1611 to 3138 square feet. The apartments are very steeply priced and range from $4,150,000 to $8,350,000. The complex features multiple picturesque gardens, a terrace-top clubhouse and obviously the glorious facade that forms a recognizable part of Only Murders’ Arconia.
Some of its most famous residents over the years include writer Isaac Bashevis Singer, King Creole, Walter Matthau, Broadway star Zero Mostel, and famous jazz player Art D'Lugoff.
Still, Arconia’s history from the show is closely tied to that of The Ansonia, which in its heyday was known for illegal activities, a swinger’s club, and multiple gruesome murders.
Back in the late 1800s, The Ansonia was owned by one William Earl Dodge Stokes and the property initially operated as a hotel. A lifetime New York resident, Stokes had become a millionaire by suing his own brother after the death of their father. Around the age of 42, Stokes turned from his family’s mining business to real estate and married a 15-year-old girl named Rita Hernandez de Alba de Acosta.
Related: Selena Gomez Fans Tune In As She Teases 'Only Murders '
The architect had a farm on the roof of the building, where he housed various illegal animals. These include chickens, ducks, goats, dairy cows, and even a bear. William Stokes also shot his 22-year-old mistress Lillian Graham when she threatened to release some love letters that he had sent her to the public.
Stokes had bought the land for The Arsonia from the New York Orphan Asylum and created the first luxury hotel in the area. He ended up dying from pneumonia and passed the hotel to his son, who had little interest in real estate.
The son sold The Ansonia to a crooked landlord who forced it into bankruptcy due to poor financial management. The hotel was eventually bought at an auction by current owner Jacob Starr for a mere $50k.
In the years that followed, The Ansonia became a hangout for criminal kingpins. Stokes had invited one of the drug kingpins, Al Adams, dubbed the “Meanest Man in New York” into the property. Adams made the hotel his base for all his criminal dealings for a period of two years before being found dead in Suite 1579. He was suspected to have been murdered by none other than Stokes over some unpaid dues, but it was later concluded that he committed suicide.
What’s more, The Ansonia also became the home base for the biggest baseball scandal in history after the Chicago White Sox first baseman Chick Gandil agreed to fix the 1919 World Series. Gandel met with an ex-player who had come on behalf of Arnold Rothstein, an infamous gambler. Gandil agreed to throw the Cincinnati World Series for a total of at least $10,000.
Related: How Was Selena Gomez Cast In 'Only Murders In The Building'?
Of course, while The Ansonia was one of the most infamous apartment complexes in Manhattan under the ownership of William Stokes, things went further downhill after his death. Jacob Starr allowed the building to further decline after buying it and even recommended a demolition.
Both a brothel disguised as a "cabaret club" and, at one point, a gay bathhouse later appeared at The Ansonia over the years.
Apart from the above, multiple other murders, criminal activities, and resulting lawsuits have been known to have taken place at The Ansonia. Needless to say, the building has a history that is much more peculiar than that of Only Murders’ Arconia. Of course, the show is only in its second season and still has a lot of time to catch up and answer viewers as-yet unanswered questions.
Next: What Fans Are Saying About Selena Gomez And Cara Delevingne's Awkward Kiss In Only Murders In The Building
Rishabh is a 25-year old Indian novelist with a natural penchant for storytelling. Born in Delhi, India, he has an avid interest in movies, music, and sports. “The Best of Us” is the third book that he has written, a story that he describes as one about the real youth of India, living in the beginning of the 21st century. “The Best of Us” is as much a social commentary as it is a fictitious tale, and the author believes that it is the first true modern coming of age story of the Indian Literature industry.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *