Locksmith shop.

Key-Crazy Locksmith Building

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

Greenwich Locksmiths opened in 1968 in a tiny (125 sq. ft), nondescript, one-story building in the West Village. For forty years, not much changed. Then owner Phil Mortillaro decided to completely cover the facade with a swirling assemblage of thousands of keys. The project took two years, and was finally completed in October 2010. Mortillaro transformed the modest local shop into a hallucinogenic metallic masterpiece (a recycling-friendly version of the sky in Van Gogh's Starry Night).

Key Chair.

Sporting a long gray ponytail and an appropriately thick New York accent, Mortillaro is also a welder and metal artist (he works out of an oddly shaped glass-fronted studio just up the block at 62 7th Ave. S.). His decorative impulses at the locksmith shop didn't stop with its snakelike facade. He also sets out a key-encrusted chair to provide rest for the weary (although appearances suggest that it's more artistic than comfortable), and has encrusted the inside of the shop with keys as well.

In addition, two hefty black safes flank the entrance. They are labeled "Patience" and "Fortitude" -- an inside joke for New York City architecture buffs, as these are the names of the two famous stone lions that guard the entrance to the New York Public Library on 42nd Street.

Key-Crazy Locksmith Building

Greenwich Locksmiths

Address:
56 7th Ave. S., New York, NY
Directions:
Greenwich Locksmiths. West side of 7th Ave. S. between Commerce and Morton Sts. By subway take the 1 to Christopher St./Sheridan Square. Walk south on 7th Ave. S. The tiny building is south of Commerce St. on the right, past the grey fences.
Hours:
M-F 8:30-6. For best viewing, visit when the store is open. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
212-645-2858
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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