MAYA ANGELOU has lived in New York many times. She has had apartments in Brooklyn and on Central Park West and Riverside Drive. But three years ago she decided it was time to buy a brownstone in Harlem. It was to be a retreat from her full-time residence, an 18-room house in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she is the Reynolds professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. Ms. Angelou wanted a space in which to entertain her legions of friends in New York, dating from her first visit to the city in the early 1950s. Unlike most second-home owners, she was looking for a getaway to the city — not from it. And she soon found it. "This was the first and only house I looked at," she said one mild morning in December as she sat in her breakfast nook in Harlem, sipping a glass of ice water and looking chic in a V-neck black velvet chemise and a triple strand of freshwater pearls, her gently curled salt and pepper hair framing her unlined face. She used the verb loosely. In fact, no one had "looked at" the four-story brownstone at all. Longtime friends, the musicians Nick Ashford and… Read full this story
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