Waverly Inn's Famed Mural Damaged in Fire

By Ben Fractenberg and Amy Zimmer  on June 25, 2012 10:06pm  | Updated on June 25, 2012 11:09pm

A piece of Edward Sorel's mural of Village legends in the Waverly Inn was damaged in Monday night's fire.
A piece of Edward Sorel's mural of Village legends in the Waverly Inn was damaged in Monday night's fire.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

GREENWICH VILLAGE — A piece of artist Edward Sorel's famous mural inside the Waverly Inn has been damaged after a fire broke out in the basement of the A-list restaurant's basement.

The artwork, painted in 2007 — a year after Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter opened the restaurant at 16 Bank St. — features 40 Greenwich Village legends from the past 150 years in a hedonistic frenzy, from beat poet Allen Ginsberg and abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock to erotic novelist Anais Nin and birth control advocate Margaret Sanger.

It was the subject of a 2008 book, "The Mural at the Waverly Inn."

More than 60 firefighters responded to Monday's blaze that broke out at 5:20 p.m. in the 16 Bank St. eatery, FDNY officials said.

Though the fire was under control by 6:15 p.m. and no injuries were reported — a bartender and waiter from the restaurant even helped rescue a panicking tenant from the townhouse's first floor — damage was done to Sorel's mural.

A worker, who declined to give a name, said firefighters had to break through a wall on which part of the mural sits while battling the basement blaze that sent smoke through the whole building.

Other notables featured on the mural include Walt Whitman, Willa Cather, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Jane Jacobs.

Officials with the famously hard-to-get-into restaurant did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A man outside the venue, who identified himself as its manager, said "No comment," when asked about the mural damage.

Sorel, a Morningside Heights resident and regular contributor to The Atlantic and The New Yorker, also painted a mural for Carter's Monkey Bar, which was filled with New York celebs from the 1920s and 1930s.

"Not to worry," Sorel wrote in an email. "What's on the wall at Waverly is a reproduction of my drawings which they can easily reproduce again from their digital files."

Firefighters damaged part of the Waverly Inn's famous mural when fighting a fire in the basement of 16 Bank St. on Monday, June 25, 2012.
Firefighters damaged part of the Waverly Inn's famous mural when fighting a fire in the basement of 16 Bank St. on Monday, June 25, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

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