Greenwich Village preservation group calls for interior landmarking of White Horse Tavern

March 11, 2019

Via Wikimedia

A Village preservation group on Monday called on the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the interior of White Horse Tavern a landmark. In a letter to LPC Chair Sarah Carroll, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) wrote that “the potential loss of the interior of this tavern from a recent change in ownership would be a devastating loss, not only to New York City, but to the country and the world.” The request comes less than a week after the 140-year-old West Village bar was sold to notorious landlord Steve Croman, who once served jail time for tenant harassment.

Via Wikimedia

As 6sqft learned last week, the bar, which opened on Hudson Street in 1880, will be run by restauranteur Eytan Sugarman, who co-owns the Hunt & Fish Club with short-lived Trump administration official Anthony Scaramucci. Sugarman is also known for his Made in New York pizza shop that faced backlash for selling an eerily similar square-shaped pepperoni slice to that of Prince Street Pizza.

When it first opened, the White Horse Tavern catered to Irish immigrants and other dock workers coming from long days of labor on the Hudson River. Later, in the 1930s and 1940s, unions and communist organizations also used the tavern as a meeting spot to exchange ideas. During the 1950s, the bar became popular with writers and artists, with literary patrons including James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac, Bob Dylan, and Dylan Thomas.

While the exterior of the bar is landmarked, the interior of “The Horse” contains woodwork, tin ceilings and fixtures “dating back generations,” according to GVSHP.

“There are few more historic locations in New York than the White Horse Tavern, a legendary gathering spot for some of the great mind of the 20th century,” Andrew Berman, executive director of GVSHP, said in a statement.

“With the building sold and the bar coming under new ownership and management, it’s critical the Landmarks Preservation Commission ensure that treasured piece of New York and world history is protected, and won’t be going anywhere, regardless of who owns or runs it.”

As Eater NY reported, Sugarman plans on taking the bar’s historic details into account. “We are only focused on preserving the rich history and legacy of this iconic institution for New Yorkers,” Sugarman said. Infrastructure upgrades will be made to the historic haunt, but no other renovation plans have been announced.


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