A few years ago, Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro got Landmarks permission to build the now-popular Greenwich Hotel (which houses the foodie mecca Locanda Verde). But, like the badass gangster he plays in movies, De Niro built a different building, with a penthouse on top much larger than allowed. Shockingly, one day someone at the Landmarks Commission walked by and happened to look up and notice. De Niro tried to go back and retroactively get permission for the hooded structure but was rejected with the threat that he would have to tear the rooftop structure down if he didn't get approval for a new version. Yesterday he did so, scoring permission for a tasteful, greenery-strung penthouse of a much smaller size. It was a victory for everybody! Hooray for urban contextualism!
It kind of makes you wonder whether, if the Robert De Niro of Taxi Driver met the Robert De Niro of today, the former would punch the latter in the groin.
Landmarks Panel Approves Change to De Niro’s Hotel [City Room/NYT]