- By CHRISTOPHER KOMPANEK
- Last Updated: 4:21 AM, December 13, 2012
- Posted: 10:13 PM, December 12, 2012
Erbe also opened up her Brooklyn condo to the castmates and crew of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” on which she starred as hard-boiled detective Alexandra Eames for a decade, until last year. During the WGA writer’s strike in 2007, when production ground to a halt (and just a few months after she’d purchased the place), Erbe had more than 40 of the cast and crew members over for a meal.
“I like just putting a big pot on the stove. Easy stuff. I don’t have lofty aspirations as far as cooking goes. It was awesome,” Erbe remembers. “Plus, we had just moved in so there wasn’t that much stuff around.”
Previously, she lived in a Park Slope townhouse with her ex-husband, actor/director Terry Kinney. She’d wanted to stay in the neighborhood, but “finding a three-bedroom that was affordable, relatively speaking, in that neighborhood was very difficult,” she says.
Erbe had been in contract to buy an apartment, on Seventh Avenue and St. Marks Avenue, and was in the middle of a bidding war but had to walk away from it when she learned the owners built an extension disregarding the historic preservation laws. “It had a little thing on top with a private deck where we could see the water,” she says. “They had to take it off. When I saw that, I walked away.”
It became clear Erbe would have to extend her search, and that’s when she discovered Cobble Hill. “There was a tornado in Brooklyn five years ago, and Maeve and I went apartment-hunting on that day. This was the first place we looked at, and we looked at each other and said, ‘Oh, this is it.’ ”
Housed in a former church, the space is dramatic. From the three-story master suite, whose ceiling soars a whopping 75 feet, to the large, stained-glass window in the loft-like living room, the three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom triplex feels more like a country house than an urban dwelling. This feeling is accentuated by Elena Madden’s lush waterscapes (five oil paintings and two digital prints), which hang in the living room amid cozy antique furniture. Her great-grandmother’s couch, which has been passed down through generations and survived a flight from Nazi occupation, sits in her office on the second floor.
Much of the city can be seen from the top floor of the master suite, which offers 360-degree views. The vistas include Governors Island, lower Manhattan, Staten Island and both the Brooklyn and Verrazano bridges, but the water has a particular draw for Erbe.
“I love water, and I love looking at water,” says the Boston-area native. “When I thought about trying to find a place that’s my own with my kids, one of the things I really wanted was to be able to see water. I didn’t know how I would accomplish that in New York.”
The water reminds her of childhood summers spent on Goat Island, a small island in Newport, RI. “The one place I like to go doesn’t take dogs though, so I don’t go anymore.”
Erbe is quite attached to her two dogs, Lilah and Tallulah, rescues from the North Shore Animal League. She even takes them to work, which most recently was Union Square’s Vineyard Theater, where Erbe played Pat Nixon in Douglas McGrath’s acutely observed drama, “Checkers.” (The play, which also starred Anthony LaPaglia as a dead-on Richard Nixon, just finished its run.)
Erbe was so comfortable in the first-lady costume, she wore the extensive getup outside the theater. “I walked the dogs in my costume, wig and everything,” she says. (And the acting bug even rubbed off on Lilah, who has become the poster dog for North Shore, promoting the virtues of shelter dogs.)
And while Erbe and her kids were initially reluctant to leave Park Slope, they have embraced Cobble Hill.
“It reminds me of the way it used to be in the Meatpacking District,” an area where Erbe spent a lot of time acting in plays pre-“Law & Order.”
“I love doing theater more than any other acting because it’s so instant, so hard and so fleeting.,” she says. “The things that make it difficult almost make it more worthwhile.”
Kathryn Erbe’s FAVORITE THINGS
- Her children’s artwork
- Her family photos
- The 360-degree views
- The couch that once belonged to her great-grandmother
- A Wedgwood Wellesley china set
Oh yeah, we get a tiny view behind the curtain. So cool that Kathryn invited the press to her home. I really enjoyed my Brooklyn visit in 2010 and would love to enjoy this 360° view. I'm overwhelmed, 3000 ft² are 280 m²...wow!