Vogue editrix Anna Wintour is pressing New York city officials to stop a developer from erecting a condo building that would loom over her private Greenwich Village garden.
Wintour, in a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, called the project "a totally out-of-scale, inappropriate eight-story building," adding that it would be an "unwelcome intrusion" to the neighboring historic district that she calls home.
The editor in chief, who wrote the February 2009 missive on Vogue letterhead, also sent an appeal as recently as last week to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The proposed building on Bleecker Street would border MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens, a private oasis accessible only from the 22 townhouses, including Wintour's, that surround it. The garden features shade trees, manicured shrubs, a lawn, a walking path and a children's playhouse.
Wintour has lived in her four-story townhouse on Sullivan Street since 1992. Financier Ronald Perelman's daughter, Debra Perelman, is a neighbor. So was Richard Gere, until he sold his house for $12.8 million in 2007. A home on the MacDougal Street side of the garden is currently on the market for $8.8 million.
Around the corner, at 178 Bleecker St., developer John Wu's plan to tear down an 1862 rowhouse drew immediate protests from preservationists.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation fought the demolition and lost. The building was knocked down last year and Wu's building plan was approved by the city in October.
The preservation organization is now campaigning to overturn the approval -- and this time, the protests have worked.
The Department of Buildings sent a Jan. 7 letter to Wu saying it intended to revoke its approval of the project if its objections were not addressed. Among the objections are that the new building would be too tall, violating the city's "sliver law" which regulates height on narrow plots.
Wu said he intends to fight the decision.
Wu said he was unaware of Wintour's opposition, or what she does for a living.
"She works for Vogue?" he asked.