Katharine Hepburn lived for over 60 years in New York in a 4 story brownstone, making her without doubt a native New Yorker.
The house was at 244 East 49th St between 2nd and Third Aves, part of a group of row houses in a cul de sac. it is featured in the accompanying video.
After she died in 2003, the intersection of East 49th St and 2nd Avenue was named Katharine Hepburn Place i her honor.
The original interior of the house was sadly gutted after her death and completely renovated. only her dressing room was kept and it still has her mirrors hanging in it.
This house in Turtle Bay was the one she lived in during her brief marriage to Ludlow Ogden Smith, her one and only marriage, though not her one and only relationship.
She transferred flowers from her childhood home to her backyard when she started her garden there. She was also active in the Turtle Bay associatiation, campaigning vigorously to preserve the trees in the area and to halt development which would destroy the character of the area.
Prior to her death in 2003, community members banded together to create the Katharine Hepburn Garden in Dag Hammerskjold Place, very close to where she lived.It was a tribute to her love of flowers and gardening and her committment to the neighborhood.
Right through the small park there are quotes by her engraved on the flagstones which are spaced out on the grass of the park.
On May 12th, 2012, the date of Hepburn’s 105th birthday, friends and neighbors gathered in the park wearing Hepburn badges to honor her and celebrate again her committment to her neighborhood while she lived there.
She was of course a very talented actress but her house and her work in the Turtle Bay area express another part of her personality. Above all she was a New Yorker. She spent more of her life here than anywhere else. New York was her home and the city is lucky to have several tangible memorials to her brilliant presence in the city.