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Volume 77, Number 2 | June 13 - 19, 2007

Villager photos by Toni Dalton

Above, a view of Julian Schnabel’s new hot-pink high-rise at 360 W. 11th St. Below, the magenta monolith seen from another angle — through two of the Richard Meier-designed glass towers on West St.

Not so pretty in pink: Wraps come off Schnabel tower

By Lincoln Anderson

Artist Julian Schnabel’s latest, and by far largest, creation, a residential tower at 360 W. 11th St., had been kept under wraps during most of its construction. But with the work apparently nearing completion, netting that had been covering it was recently removed to reveal — a hot-pink high-rise. Andrew Berman, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s director, said he suspects the worst.

“I don’t know for sure — but my fear is that this will be the color,” he said. “I think virtually any other color would be more acceptable.” Berman called the building — with arched windows and clay roof tiles — Mediterranean style. “What it actually looks like is a house you would see in the hills above Hollywood — if it was two stories. On the Greenwich Village waterfront at 17 stories, it’s a nightmare,” he said. The preservationist thought this very may well be intentional — that Schnabel wants to punish, with pink, those who opposed him.

“It almost looks as though he went to great pains to make this building as ugly as possible and to make it stick out like a sore thumb,” Berman observed. Two years ago, G.V.S.H.P. and local residents began lobbying the Department of Buildings not to grant the project a permit, since the Far West Village rezoning, which would have prevented the height, was pending approval. Despite their protests, and videos of alleged after-hours work violations, D.O.B. issued the permit. The construction involved adding an 11-story addition atop a three-story former stable for a 167-foot-tall building.

On Monday, an assistant who answered the phone at Schnabel’s studio provided the artist/developer’s e-mail address. Schnabel did not respond to an e-mail request for comment by press time.

A building’s exterior color is not something requiring approval from the Department of Buildings, so D.O.B. has no information on what the building’s permanent color may be. The Landmarks Preservation Commission does oversee building color, but the site is not in a landmarked district.

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