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A Gently Edited Classic, Pirate Included

The New York Times
Ernie Fritz and his daughters, Madeline, 13, right, and Pauline, 10, in their apartment on West 104th Street.

Ernie Fritz and his daughters, Madeline, 13, right, and Pauline, 10, in their apartment on West 104th Street.


OF all the types of apartments available in New York City, few are more iconic than the so-called Classic 6, the mazy configuration that includes two bedrooms, a dining room and a maid’s room, complete with its own bath. For decades, the Classic 6 was the ultimate symbol of gracious living, a vivid reminder of the style in which many well-heeled New Yorkers lived generations ago.



And of course some people still live that way. Lee Rolontz and Ernie Fritz, a pair of film and television makers, have been ensconced in such an apartment for a decade, along with their daughters, Pauline, 10, and Madeleine, 13, and, more recently, their border terrier, Pirate. The apartment is on West 104th Street, just off Riverside Drive, and its owners are proud that the space has not been flattened into a characterless loftlike expanse, a fate that has befallen many Classic 6’s.

“In fact,” Ms. Rolontz said, “it’s now a Classic 7 because we divided the dining room in half to create a bedroom for Madeleine.”

Really? A Classic 7? Mr. Fritz is skeptical.

“I’d never buy that,” he said firmly. “There is no such thing as a Classic 7.”

Actually, there is, but for the most part, Mr. Fritz knows what he’s talking about when it comes to domestic spaces. As a television director whose credits include “The Martha Stewart Show,” Mr. Fritz has learned a thing or two about people’s living situations.


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