Most who live in Levittown, Pa are familiar with William J. Levitt and his accomplishments, but what do we really know about William J. Levitt the man? In a recent article posted by New York Magazine, Levitt’s surviving widow, Simone, gives us and interesting insight into the father of our humble town, how they lived when he was one of the richest men America and why she now lives in a small, rented apartment in New York at age 84.
Recently, I was referred to this column about Simone Levitt written by New York Magazine’s Rich Cohen and published last fall. In it, she gives a pretty detailed account of how she met Bill Levitt, their life at the top and the series of events that would lead them to lose, almost, everything.
I found the history and the narrative that Simone imparted to be fascinating as well as how Cohen portrays the interesting character telling it. You can get a glimpse of her, and her Pomeranian, in this short video for the article:
Here’s a brief excerpt:
One reason Simone had reached out to me was that she was, perhaps, a little lonely. But she also had a hunger to tell her husband’s story, which was glorious and tragic in equal measure, and which was her story too—she had unfinished business with the man, which I could help her with. She seemed to need a witness to this reckoning. “My husband always said he wanted to be the poorest man in the cemetery,” she told me, laughing. “Guess what? He was!”
There’s a lot more to her story and I highly recommend that you read the whole article from New York Magazine: