Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Designs for urban life apparently don't include trees

We first heard rumblings of some kind of Guggenheim pop-up community center or something at the rat-infested lot on East First Street near Second Avenue.

Well! As you may have heard by now, it's happening! This summer... through October.

And this is what it will look like.

Oh. And here's part of the official news release that we received:

Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and Jim O'Donnell, President and CEO, BMW North America, LLC, announced today that the BMW Guggenheim Lab will launch in New York City from August 3 to October 16. Following New York, the BMW Guggenheim Lab will travel to Berlin in spring/summer 2012, and to a city in Asia to be announced later this year. Conceived as an urban think tank and mobile laboratory, the BMW Guggenheim Lab will explore issues confronting contemporary cities and provide a public place and online forum for sharing ideas and practical solutions. The BMW Guggenheim Lab and all of its programming will be free to the public. The new website and online communities will create and extend the opportunity to participate in this multidisciplinary urban experiment worldwide.

Anyway, there has been some work taking place in the last six weeks or so.

And workers have had some success in thinning the rat population, as you can see from this one found in the street of front of the lot.

Unfortunately, a resident who lives adjacent to the lot wrote me to say:

Just to let you know the Guggenheim project next door to my place plans to chop down a 60-foot tree [this] morning. Such destruction for a temporary art installation! That tree has been there for what must be 30 or 40 years!

A small price to pay for some forward-thinking ideas and designs for urban life?

UPDATED: A reader asks —

If I want to conduct work around a City tree, do I need a special permit? Excerpts from the City's Parks & Recreation Department website:

"Any person wishing to plant a tree on city property or do work on or around street or park trees must first obtain a permit from Parks.

"Removing a tree without a permit and damaging trees are very serious offenses, punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year."

What I don't know is if the tree is a city tree or not.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The Guggenheim wants our rat-infested First Street lot

Residents pitching in to help refurbish First Street garden


blue glass said...

the guggenheim should call con edison.
they will dispatch the tree to heaven with no problems and no need to replace it.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

Sad about the tree, but while the art installation may be temporary, the excavation and resurfacing of the lot is permanent and could be the foundation for a future community center or sculpture garden, or whatever. In the meantime, it helps clean up the rat problem that's evidently been driving the neighborhood crazy.

It doesn't seem like a bad trade-off, all things considered.

Anonymous said...

my husband works for construction and trust me they cannot just chop down a tree! his company had to pay about $25,000 to move one tree for one of his projects, and thats for moving the tree not cutting it down

Ken Mac said...

unimaginative, uncreative, and just plain damn ugly. I prefer the rats

esquared™ said...

if a tree falls in the ev and only private corporations and rich people are around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Lisa said...

This is the best BMW and the Guggenheim could come up with? A massive Havahart humane trap? Christ.

glamma said...

that tree is majestic. i protest!!!

Marty Wombacher said...

"the BMW Guggenheim Lab will explore issues confronting contemporary cities..."

I wonder if one of the issues will be uprooting a majestic tree for a temporary picnic/concession stand area?

Anonymous said...

Thanks to a resident next door to the lot, the Parks Department Commissioner has promised to replace the tree once the Guggenheim leaves. Of course, it'll be a young tree, but it's better than no tree at all. The Gugg has gotten all the proper permits and is working in cooperation with the Parks department. They'll be donating 25 trees to Parks, but those won't necessarily end up in the lot--or in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

birch tree, opening tomorrow....1pm