Poet Elizabeth Sargent, who "was the last tenant forced out of a rent-regulated apartment above Carnegie Hall in 2010, ending more than a century of storied subsidized housing and work space there for artists of all stripes," died April 10, the New York Times reported. She was 96. Sargent "led a quiet life there for more than four decades, during which she wrote A Woman in Love (1977), a novel based on her life, and published poems in magazines including the New Yorker and Cosmopolitan." These were collected in The Love Poems of Elizabeth Sargent and The Magic Book of Love Exercises.
"I don't feel I'm leaving the place. I feel the place is leaving me," she told the Times when she moved out of her Carnegie Hall studio apartment after 46 years in residence. "This was a magical place. Artists really had a freedom here; they developed here."
The Times noted that Mark Twain "used to smoke his pipe in the author's club across the hall from Ms. Sargent's studio. Marlon Brando entertained guests in the apartment directly below; and Leonard Bernstein read scores on the same floor. Norman Mailer penned works in her apartment, and Isadora Duncan danced down the hallway."
Before the final item, an out-of-tune upright player piano, was removed from Sargent's apartment in 2010, she "sat down and began playing 'St. Louis Blues,' and 'I Can't Get Started,' which was recorded by Billie Holiday. Construction workers stopped and watched, and the movers gathered, too, transfixed."
"Elizabeth got a beautiful round of applause," [Billy] Lyons said. "And off the piano went, out the door."