Chapter Closed: Late Editor Jason Epstein’s Sag Harbor Home Sold

Jason Epstein, Sag Harbor
Jason Epstein’s home at 12 Union Street in Sag Harbor sold in early November of 2022.
Saunders & Associates/Patrick McMullan

The Sag Harbor home that long belonged to the late legendary Random House editor Jason Epstein has new owners.

The historic house at 12 Union Street, set on a rare near-acre in the village, traded for $7.3 million on November 4, 2022, recent Suffolk County deed transfers showed.

Following his death in February 2022, the house went on the market in August of 2022 for $8.75 million. Susan Penzner of Saunders & Associates had the exclusive listing. Tim Davis of the Corcoran Group represented the buyer, whose identity is shielded by the use of a limited liability corporation called 12 Union LLC.

Sag Harbor, historic house
The house hidden away on Union Street.Saunders & Associates

Epstein, who was credited with launching the paperback revolution, as NPR put it, died in Sag Harbor at the age of 93 from congestive heart failure.

His  home in the village with his wife, which he shared with his second wife, the former New York Times journalist Judith Miller, was known to have books everywhere — thousands, according to an essay from Eugene L. Meyer in the Washington Independent.

In fact, when Miller announced his death, she said he died “surrounded by his books.”

At Random House, which he joined in 1958, he edited works by authors such as E.L. Doctorow, Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal. He was a co-founder of The New York Review of Books.

“The kitchen is his favorite place,” Judith Miller told Meyer. “The real library is in Sag Harbor. With all the stacks of books and papers, believe it or not, he’s very neat. I’ve met many world leaders, great thinkers. He’s a class unto himself.”

Jason Epstein, Sag Harbor, historic house, kitchen
Epstein was often in the kitchen.Saunders & Associates

The Union Street abode was often visited by “an eclectic mix of writers, editors, artists, and even the odd billionaire,” and he often cooked for them, wrote Ivana Lowell, who inherited a house that shares a fence line from her mother, the writer Lady Caroline Blackwood, in Air Mail News. (By the way, Lowell’s house at 20 Union Street is on the market, last listed at $12.995 million).

His memoir “Eating” was celebrated the food he enjoyed in top restaurants with various celebrities or in his own kitchens.

It was no wonder that he owned a house in Sag Harbor, which has a long connection in literary greats, such as Betty Friedan, Walter Isaacson, Carl Bernstein and, of course, John Steinbeck.

Historic Sag Harbor Home

Built in 1790 for a whaling captain and his family, the new owners will only be the fourth family to own the house. Epstein had owned it for 60 years.

“It’s one of very few remaining original homes in Sag Harbor, with almost an acre of lush gardens that back up to an entrance on Jefferson Street, as well,” Penzner told Hedges in November. “This is truly a unique property.”

The 3,000-square-foot residence features two wood-burning fireplaces, wide-plank pumpkin pine floors and high ceilings. The spacious first floor boasts a double living room with a wood-burning fireplace, plus a dining room with an adjacent solarium where light pours in.

Sag Harbor, historic house

An eat-in country kitchen contains wood ceiling beams and another wood-burning fireplace. A guest bedroom with an en suite bathroom completes the first floor.

Up on the second floor, there is a primary bedroom with an adjoining sitting room/library, which Penzner has said, could easily be a fourth bedroom.

Down the hall is another guest bedroom, as well as an office and two full bathrooms. There is also a sunfilled bonus space in the attic with four windows and a wall of built-in closets. There is also a full basement.

Sag Harbor, historic house
The poolSaunders & Associates

Just outside sliding glass doors, there is a brick patio for dining, along with a built-in top-of-the-line outdoor gas grill. Specimen trees encircle the patio and there is a well-landscaped garden and lush lawn that leads to a heated gunite pool (49-by-18 feet in size), as well as a pool house with a sauna.

A carport just off the home holds two cars. There are also additional parking spaces for up to four cars with direct access from Jefferson Street.

Email with further comments, questions, or tips. Follow Behind The Hedges on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Sag Harbor, historic house
An aerial view of the homeSaunders & Associates