Fake Ivy Continues to Flourish in Greenwich Village

It’s now been almost a year since the owners of Nos. 47 West 8th Street and 62 West 9th Street illegally installed fake ivy on their buildings. Because both buildings sit well within the boundaries of the Greenwich Village Historic District, any changes made to their facades are subject to the rules and regulations of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).

47 West 8th Street

We wish we could say we digitally enhanced the color of the plastic ivy all over the front of 47 West 8th Street, but in the sunlight is actually does shine this bright. Last year, the owners were issued a warning letter from the LPC because they installed the entire pseudo-Mediterranean storefront facade – permastone, balcony, ivy and all – without permits. In response, the owners applied to legalize the changes (read all about that here). Though the Commission was far softer on them than we would have hoped (considering the owner blatantly and knowing skirted the law), they were told they’d need to remove the plastic ivy. Apparently the owner is still in negotiations with the LPC about where to go from here, because the plastic lives to see another day.

62 West 9th Street

This trend was apparently very popular in the Village in 2010. One block over, at 62 West 9th Street, is another restaurant partially covered with fake ivy. Its owners were also issued a warning letter from the LPC last year, and they too were denied legalization of the ivy. It too survives to this day, though its presence is in fact still illegal.

You can take part in helping ensure that illegal work does not detract from what makes the Village special. If you see something which you believe may be a landmarks violation (destruction/inappropriate alteration of or unpermitted work upon a landmark structure or structure in a historic district), GVSHP’s Preservation Watch Program can help. We want to ensure that landmarks violations are reported and acted upon as swiftly and thoroughly as possible. That is why we want you to know how you can report a landmarks violation to the City, and how you can report it to GVSHP to help advocate for its solution.


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avatar Elizabeth Finkelstein is GVSHP's Director of Preservation & Research.