Rachael Ray’s home life is about to get pretty yuck-o after hulking rooftop additions were approved for the buildings surrounding her Greenwich Village apartment, she says in a lawsuit.
The celebrity chef claims the oversized monstrosities would loom over her residence, creating a “major” security risk where people “could conceivably walk from that rooftop directly to our deck and enter our apartment or peer directly into our windows.”
Ray, 50, called the project “a crime against the neighborhood,” in court papers, noting the new structures will “transform our home into a fish bowl.”
She’d be forced to stop using her deck and to keep the shades drawn, transforming her $1.4 million, 1,800-square-foot pad with a private deck into a “dark, totally claustrophobic” space.
The 30-Minute Meal master and her spouse, musician John Cusimano, joined nearly two dozen Village residents in filing the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit against the city, the Landmarks Preservation Commissioner and the developer over the project, which will in part include the upward expansion of a pair of landmarked buildings at 827-831 Broadway.
The LPC should never have greenlit the expansion of 827-831 Broadway without a public hearing, Ray and her neighbors argued.
“This was a classic instance of a group of public officials, consumed by the technical details of their jobs, utterly failing to consider the real-world consequences of their decision to the neighborhood,” according to court papers.
The Commission twice sought revisions to the planned expansion to the twin, four-story Civil War-era buildings which were once home to artist Willem de Kooning. The first proposal “looked like a giant brownie wrapped in tin-foil,” according to court papers.
But the third time was the charm for architect DXA Studio, which submitted a drastically different version of the plan to the landmarks panel after the public-hearing period had closed and just days before the LPC rendered a decision, Ray and her neighbors charge.
The rooftop changes will in part span an East 12th Street non-landmarked building behind 827-831 Broadway which is outside of the LPC’s jurisdiction, said Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
“The city as a whole has reasons to be unhappy about this,” he said, calling it horribly “out of scale” for the famed area.
The LPC said it only had jurisdiction over changes to the landmarked structure, and not the larger addition planned for the East 12th Street building.
The city will review the lawsuit, a Law Department spokesman said.
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