The Devil Wears Prada…and Writes Strongly Worded Letters

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Forget the September Issue. Anna Wintour has moved on to a real estate issue. The Vogue Editor-in-Chief is protesting the development of a new building at 178 Bleecker Street in her Greenwich Village neighborhood.

Last year, the five-story house occupying the address and the dating back to 1861 was demolished to make way for a new John Wu condominium. The Greenwich Society for Historic Preservation called the event “a terrible blow” for the integrity and history of the neighborhood.

The new condominium would block the light on the private MacDougal–Sullivan Gardens, which is reserved for the residents of about twenty townhouses in the area. Wintour’s Sullivan Street townhouse is one of them.

Although the Greenwich Society for Historic Preservation failed to sway the Landmarks Preservation Commission last year, Wintour is trying her luck with them. She wrote a letter that called the development an “unwelcome intrusion”, “totally out of scale” and “inappropriate.”

She also allegedly wrote the letter on Vogue Stationery, which may give it a little more clout. (In November, President Obama appointed Wintour to his Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Perhaps Wintour can get a hold of some White House stationery for her next letter?)

Earlier this month, the Department of Buildings decided Wu would have to address the residents’ complaints when moving forward. Whether Vogue’s February issue will officially call developer John Wu “out of style” remains to be seen.


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