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Comedian Amy Schumer reportedly in contract to buy ‘Moonstruck’ house

Landmarked building enjoys storybook history

July 5, 2022 Francesca Norsen Tate, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Drama, comedy and joy are wedded into the legacy of the “Moonstruck” house at 19 Cranberry St., and now, actress and comedian Amy Schumer is reportedly in contract to purchase the famed early 19th century house for $11 million.

Schumer, a distant cousin of New York’s senior U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, is a popular and successful comedian. Several years ago, she was the creator, co-producer, co-writer, and star of the Comedy Central sketch comedy series Inside Amy Schumer, which won her a Peabody Award and nominations for five Primetime Emmy Awards.

She won Outstanding Variety Sketch Series in 2015. Her 2016 memoir, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, was number one on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller list for two weeks.

Amy Schumer poses at the second season premiere of the Hulu series “Only Murders in the Building,” Monday, June 27, 2022, at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles.
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

If she does become a Brooklyn Heights resident, Schumer has found a home whose legacy and ambience matches her vibe.

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The 1987 movie, starring Oscar-winners Cher and Olympia Dukakis, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello and Brooklyn-born Julie Bovasso, is a romantic comedy about an Italian-American widow in her late 30s who finds herself in a love triangle —with her stodgy fiancé played by Aiello (he lacks any panache on how to propose, and then promptly runs off to his dying mom in Sicily) and his younger, tormented, impassioned brother (Cage).

Sometimes called a Brooklyn opera, “Moonstruck” features within the plot a Met performance of La Bohème. Cher and Dukakis each won Academy Awards for their performances (Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively), particularly for how they played off one each other in this movie that celebrates the importance of family.

One highly respected real-life family, Edwards and Francesca Rullman, bought 19 Cranberry St. in 1961 An architect by profession, Edward Rullman was a leader in the movement to establish landmark designation for Brooklyn Heights in 1965. Francesca Rullman had studied voice and was an aspiring opera singer; and the couple lived a life of joy and creativity before selling the house almost five decades later. Moonstruck was filmed in the late 1980s using only the house’s façade and side, but not the interiors, which were shot at other locations.

Built around 1829, 19 Cranberry St. bears a plaque on the foundation in front that reads 1833. However, the City of New York’s tax records (dating from the 1940s) and ACRIS databases, which were not extant until decades after the Consolidation of 1898, show an inaccurate construction date of 1901, as it does for many 1800s rowhouses featured in some of the architectural guidebooks by Francis Morrone and Clay Lancaster.

The house where Moonstruck was filmed is pictured during a 1940s NYC tax census.
Photo courtesy Municipal Archives, City of New York

The red brick house’s exterior was featured in several key Moonstruck scenes: Grandpa Castorini’s walking his five dogs, leading some boys to heckle him; Perry the NYU professor’s wooing the family matriarch, Rose Castorini —probably the only woman alive who did not throw a glass of water in his face; Johnny Cammareri’s hilariously hapless return from Sicily; and of course the iconic scene where Loretta, clad in red high heels, dreamily kicks a can up Cranberry Street after a passionate night spent with Johnny’s brother, Ronny.

Sharp eyes will notice the Willow Street side of 19 Cranberry as well. During one early scene, where Cosmo Castorini (Vincent Gardenia) encounters his father (played by Fyodor Chaliapin) in their private yard and drive, Cosmo pulls closed an iron gate. One can see the unusual façade of 33 Willow St. across the way, but current Google images of that side of 19 Cranberry do not show the moving gate, even with 33 Willow in the background.

City records showed that the Rullmans sold 19 Cranberry St. in 2008 to James B. Lansill and Jane Gorrell. (A Brooklyn Eagle story, published three months ago, also reported the sale of this house in 2022 for $11 million, but did not name the seller or buyer.)

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