Friends: The one with New Yorkers protesting the orange sofa photo op
To mark the 25th anniversary of the sitcom, Warner Bros. Television is planning to install a replica of the sofa in Greenwich Village so that fans can pose on it for a fun photo op. But some New York City residents seem unhappy about the attraction, as it would mean shutting down an entire sidewalk.
On the show, the gang frequently sat at the sofa while hanging out at the fictional Central Perk coffee shop. Warner Bros. wants to place the replica on the corner of Bedford and Grove streets, which was used as the exterior for the characters’ apartment building.
Some area residents have reportedly spoken out about the publicity stunt, saying the photo-op will disturb locals. Seven residents attended a board meeting on Aug. 12 to protest the sidewalk closure, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 21, according to the New York Post. A resolution to deny the permit was reportedly agreed upon unanimously at the meeting.
“We have at least 400 tourists a day coming to look at that building. They take pictures all day and all night. I come outside and there’s 20 people hanging out on my stoop or taking a pee around the corner,” a resident and community board member said, according to the outlet. “To close off the street or a section of the sidewalk would make it crazy.”
Another reportedly said, “There’s no real significance to that building … for it to disrupt the residents and businesses on that block.”
Warner Bros. applied to the city’s Street Activity Permit office to fully close the Bedford sidewalk between Barrow and Grove streets, the Post reported, adding that the permit office can still approve the application.
“We are excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘Friends’ in New York City next month,” a Warner Bros. Television spokesperson told EW. “We were not aware of the community board meeting … or we would have absolutely been there to discuss the proposed event. We are hopeful we can still move forward with the permit and create a unique experience for fans.”
The sofa is just one of many installations prepared for the iconic series’ anniversary. There will be a month-long pop-up Friends experience in New York, including a recreation of Central Perk and Joey and Chandler’s apartment. Los Angeles also had a weeklong Central Perk installation at two Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations during August.