Magic in Harlem!
Posted on October 2, 2014


Harlem is home to many legendary residents, present and past. One such luminary who resided uptown is the Budapest-born magician extraordinaire, Harry Houdini.

In 1904, at the height of his success, Houdini purchased a brownstone for the enchanted price of $25,000 at 278 W. 113th Street between Frederick Douglass and Adam C. Powell Jr. Blvd. The house was built in 1895, but the Houdinis were its first occupants. Houdini called the house "the finest private house that any magician has ever had the great fortune to possess."

Inside the home, Houdini made some magical tweaks starting at the front door: when you turned the knob, it seemed to mysteriously open from a side hinge. He installed a large mirror over the sunken bathtub to practice his underwater effects. Houdini also had the entire house wired for sound - including an early "wireless" radio in the carpets - so he could amaze visitors with mind reading effects. The basement was used as a workshop and storage, and somehow continued to yield undiscovered Houdini treasures into the 1990s.

Houdini resided in South Harlem with his wife until his death in 1926.


Today the house is privately owned, but that doesn’t stop Houdini fans from making pilgrimages to the legendary house and snapping pictures of the façade.