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Greenwich Village Tree House Wins Fight to Stay in Neighborhood

By DNAinfo Staff on October 28, 2010 9:54am

By Olivia Scheck

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — The last thing you expect to have as a child growing up in Manhattan is your very own tree house.

But one Greenwich Village family changed that by erecting a modern day urban tree house, complete with Archie comics and an old cassette boom box, behind their 1860's townhouse, the Associated Press reported.

Artist Melinda Hackett, a native Manhattanite, said she didn't really think much of it when she first decided to build the clubhouse for her three young daughters, now ages 11, 13 and 16, five years ago, according to the wire service.

"It just made sense to have a tree house at the time," the Manhattan mom, who had just moved into the home, which once belonged to musician David Byrne, from Upstate New York, told the AP laughingly.

"And now it's like, 'Wow you have a tree house in the middle of New York – that's is so cool!'

But it wasn't always cool with everyone, the wire service explained. Shortly after the tree house went up, Hackett arrived home to find police officers at her door, tipped off by a neighbor to a "suspicious structure" in her backyard, the painter told the AP.

The city then filed an injunction and ordered Hackett to appear before the Environment Control Board about the tree house, which she had constructed by professional carpenters over about five months, according to the wire service.

Six months and thousands of dollars in violations later — the fees reportedly cost as about as much as the $5,000 tree house — Hackett got word that the case had been dismissed and the tree house was "as good as landmarked," the AP reported.

Looking back, Hackett told the AP, "It's sort of the little tree house that could."