In 1973 the artist duo of Christo and his late wife Jeanne-Claude bought the five-story cast iron building at 48 Howard Street in Soho for a cool $175,000, working on their iconic monument- and landscape-wrapping projects from their home studio. Christo is still there, but his building is on the move: slow-moving construction on the adjacent lot at the corner of Howard and Broadway has caused the artist’s building to shift one inch to the east, prompting him to sue the developer 433 Broadway Co.
Courthouse News reports that according to court documents filed by Christo, since intermittent construction on the six-story mixed-use building planned for the neighboring lot became more steady in March,
433 Broadway “has caused and/or permitted gravely unsafe construction activity to take place at 433 Broadway, which has affected Christo’s ability to safely use and enjoy his home and studio, and has put the safety of Christo, his guests, and the general public in jeopardy.”
The city’s Department of Buildings issued the developer a Stop Work Order last week, Curbed reports, after excavation at the site was seen to be undermining the safety of the building next door.
Adding to this story’s art world pedigree is the fact that the other building abutting the offending construction site was, in 2008, host to a massive Banksy mural of a rat and the now differently appropriate words “Let them eat crack.”