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IvyGate: Did This Ugly Restaurant Just Ruin Greenwich Village?

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Two new Greenwich Village restaurants have taken the curious step of adorning their facades with fake ivy, and in both cases the neighbors aren't pleased, this being a historic district and all. Regarding Rabbit in the Moon at 47 West 8th Street, a restaurant that may or may not be a total shitshow, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has determined that the ivy must come down or be replaced with the real thing. But that's not enough to appease the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Cat fight!

In addition to the ivy, Rabbit in the Moon made other alterations, such as the balcony area and faux-stone facade that makes the place look like some sort of shire house. This work was carried out without LPC approval, and last month the owners went in front of the commission to seek retroactive approval for the illicit renovations. The commissioners said no to the ivy and asked the owners to work with the LPC staff to come up with a proposal to modify the balcony area and change the facade material. The ivy will probably stick around until a new plan is in place. Commence outrage!

Andrew Berman, executive director of the GVSHP, is upset by what he feels is the LPC going easy on the owners. In a letter fired off to the LPC, he writes, "The Commision runs the risk of encouraging and rewarding blatant violations of the law, and approving and introducing into one of the city's largest and oldest historic districts a grotesque and entirely inappropriate alteration." Will Rabbit in the Moon set a dangerous precedent of building owners renovating first and asking questions later? The LPC doesn't think so. They tell us that the owners have received a violation, and if they don't address the changes LPC wants made, they could be fined $5,000 per day. Here's an irate Berman at his best:

· Rabbit in the Moon coverage [Eater NY]