Ta-Nehisi Coates, the award-winning journalist and author specializing in racial justice and black poverty, has cancelled plans to move into the posh Brooklyn brownstone he recently purchased for $2.1 million, citing personal safety concerns amid a storm of unwanted media attention.
The New York Post was first to report on the purchase, which was conducted through a limited-liability corporation established by Coates and his wife in an effort to conceal their identity.
Coates has become a prominent thought-leader in part due to the success of his 2015 memoir, “Between the World and Me,” a letter to his son about the history of racial injustice in America. It was one of the most discussed books in the country among university faculty members and New York Times subscribers, and won the National Book Award for non-fiction.
Coates, who used the proceeds from the successful memoir to finance the purchase of the brownstone in the Prospect-Leffert Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, expressed dismay at having to abandon his dream home:
[Y]ou can’t really be a human being and not want some place to retreat into yourself, some place to collapse, some place to be at peace. That’s just neurology. One shouldn’t get in the habit of crying about having a best-selling book. But you can’t really sell enough books to become superhuman, to salve that longing for home.
Coates explained that, after his purchase of the home was publicized, his family would not be able to live there due to safety concerns and the perpetual stream of fans “showing up at your door (this happened once) or waiting for you on your stoop.”
“Our old neighborhood was not as quiet as we thought,” Coates wrote. “Nothing is quiet anymore—least of all us.”
The New York Times published a sympathetic write-up of Coates’ decision to cancel the move without mentioning some of the criticism directed at the author for his expensive taste:
T. Coates pimped them white liberals all the way to a $2.1 million crib in Brooklyn.
— Ella Septima-Hamer (@Jbrous14) May 7, 2016
Just read about the harrowing story of the violation of Ta-Nehisi Coates' $2 million safe space. #MarxistProblems
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) May 10, 2016
Unbelievable. Only Coates could make himself a victim after a 2 million dollar home purchase. https://t.co/kKxwhlBmvr
— Wizzy Womack (@WizzyDizzymite) May 10, 2016
The $2.1 million brownstone is “nestled on a quiet, tree-lined street,” and boast original hardwood floors and fireplace mantels, ornate wedding cake moldings, modern dine-in kitchen, garden terrace, and a “roomy backyard.”