Brow Beat

At Last, You Can Live in the House Made Famous by the Heartbreaking Documentary Grey Gardens

“Little Edie” Bouvier Beale outside the hot property.

The Criterion Collection

In the classic documentary Grey Gardens, two once-wealthy women live in squalor among the decaying ruins of their family’s ancestral home. Now, for a mere $20 million, you, too, can live the life of Big and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, as their former East Hamptons home is on the market for the first time in 40 years.

Sadly, the house is no longer the picturesque death trap depicted in David and Albert Maysles’ film, having been purchased shortly after Big Edie’s death by Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and his wife, Sally Quinn, who according to Newsday “spent the month of August at the home most years until Bradlee died in 2014.” But on the plus side, property values are way up, thanks to the Maysles’ documentary, the musical and the HBO movie based on it, the high-fashion collections it inspired, and the Rufus Wainwright song about it, to name just its most prominent pop-cultural descendants.

It’s a little weird to think about someone with $20 million to drop on a summer house being attracted by its association with a movie that is, among other things, an empathetic and occasionally troubling portrait of mental illness and the way wealthy families abandon or bury their unpleasant secrets. But hey, it’s got great bones.

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