Yesterday at the Park (Photos)

Two Squirrels enjoy the "Hanging Elm" NW Quadrant

Cleaning Up Chess Plaza - Work Resumed ?

Plants Arrive SW Quadrant

Arch Still Barricaded Off

??

Chalked Plaza -- Occupy Washington Square Park

Fall Colors or Another Fountain Tree Dying?

The squirrels in the park were in fine form yesterday … enjoying visitors and regulars, and, of course, the park’s trees — pictured at top is the famous and very old “Hanging Elm” in the North West Quadrant. …

Work appears to have resumed somewhat on construction on Phase II-B – South West Quadrant/Chess Plaza  – signs that someone was there appeared in the form of potted plants and a wheel barrow. …

The Arch is still mysteriously barricaded off. It’s hard to know what to make of that. (Think of the “poor tourists” and visitors wanting to get their pictures taken in front of the Arch! Kidding, sort of.) …

Occupy Washington Square chalked the plaza to announce the location of their meeting the other night. Next meeting is on Wednesday (tomorrow), October 26th at 7 p.m. and the community is invited! …

It’s hard to say if the remaining 3 – living – trees around the fountain — the ones that remain — are now exhibiting fall colors or are dying.

Photos: Cathryn

Part I: Why Do the Newly Planted Trees Around the Washington Square Fountain Keep Dying?

Two dead trees line fountain (third not pictured)

Updated — Everyone is asking: “What’s up with the dead trees around the Fountain?” Currently, three of 8 trees that line the Fountain Plaza are dead. Two of these, in new locations via the Park’s Phase I redesign, have been replanted and died THREE TIMES since 2009.

As part of the park’s redesign, seven healthy, thriving trees — which had survived around the Fountain for some 40+ years — were axed in 2008.

In 2009, seven young trees were planted in new locations lining the Fountain once it was moved 22 feet east to align with the Arch. Two of those newly planted trees, located on the east and north side, died later that year. I wrote about this the first time two of the trees died. They were replaced; died again in 2010, were replaced; and now both have again died just recently in 2011. The third dead tree on the western side of the Fountain is a new occurrence.

That makes 7 new trees over two years that have been planted and replanted around the Fountain and have all died. You’d think – this is the Parks Department in New York City – this could be figured out, no? There is a problem with the design and yet the Parks Department is either in denial or won’t acknowledge there is a problem and send someone in to fix it.

As for the seven previous trees that lined the fountain for 40+ years — some were destroyed to make way for the Fountain’s move to align with the Arch; others were chopped allegedly to allow the entire Fountain Plaza to be reconstructed. The only reason reconstructing the entire Plaza was necessary was likely because they had to reorient the water lines underground for the new location of the Fountain.

If plans were created that accommodated and respected living trees, those old trees, which provided life and shade for the park, would still be here and I would not be reporting this arborcide – yet again.

Part II: coming Tuesday Friday.

Photo: Cathryn

NYC Arborcidal Waterfalls “Public Art” Ended Yesterday

Public Art "arborcidal" Waterfalls Brooklyn Bridge

Arborcidal Waterfalls as Public Art

I received a bulletin from outside.in which led me to Gothamist which announced that the “arborcidal” NYC Waterfalls ended their much-publicized killing spree of Brooklyn Heights‘ trees yesterday.

Despite our Mayor’s much hyped “love OF trees,”* the artist, Olafur Eliasson “received an award for the exhibit’s contribution ‘to the public environment‘” from Mayor Bloomberg, according to the Brooklyn Paper.

I suspect the only tangible thing the NYC Waterfalls truly contributed to the public environment was dying trees in Brooklyn Heights.

Mayor Bloomberg stated initially that Eliasson’s Waterfalls would bring $55 million to the City’s economy. Not that I think that’s what public art is about but since Mayor Bloomberg does… how’d they do? When asked, our CEO Mayor’s spokesperson pointed to an increase in sold-out boat tours. $55 million = a lot of boat tours. We can expect an accounting from the city’s Economic Development Corporation but since they most likely report to the Mayor … I’m sure we can anticipate a positive outcome.

For WSP Blog previous coverage when the arborcide first occurred, click here.

* Related post: “How do you define hypocrisy, Mayor Bloomberg? 14 Union Square Trees Scheduled to be cut down.”

Photo: Wally G