[Photo from Aug. 5 by EVG reader Brian P.]
In recent months, Jim Power has been putting up signs around the neighbor to rally support to save his mosaic-covered lampposts from being permanently removed during the reconstruction of Astor Place.
And the campaign seemingly worked. The Villager reported the following on Tuesday:
The Village Alliance has been getting calls from concerned residents as well, according to executive director William Kelley, who contacted the city Department of Transportation, resulting in a commitment on the D.O.T.’s part to salvage and store the poles until they can be re-incorporated into the streetscape at a later date.
The planned Astor Place redesign will commence this fall and see the temporary removal and storage in a D.O.T. facility of seven of Power’s mosaic poles, according to an emailed statement from the city agency.
“The D.O.T. is working closely with the artist Jim Power and our partners City Lore and the Village Alliance to incorporate the light poles into the new plaza design,” the statement further read.
“I had a meeting with Jim to tell him that we are interested in helping to save them,” Kelley said on Tuesday, adding that there is no immediate danger to the artworks. He said the signs started appearing about two weeks ago, but that “nothing precipitated that” in terms of specific developments in the construction works.
However, despite these assurances, Power began "tearing down his multicolored mosaics from lampposts around Astor Place Wednesday as a preemptive strike against the city," DNAinfo reported yesterday.
He reportedly chiseled off the mosaic on the southwest corner of Third Avenue at Cooper Square.
[EVG photo from last evening]
Per Lisha Arino's report at DNAinfo:
Power decided to take down the Astor Place mosaics as a way to “preserve the identity of a community that is global, that is artistic [and] that is its own beauty," he said.
He plans to incorporate the removed tiles into new mosaics that he will install on lampposts on St. Mark’s Place, he said.
Said Kelley of the Village Alliance: "It's really worth preserving and it's a shame that he’s decided to do that."
You can read Jim's blog for updates here. A sign on Third Avenue at Cooper Square said the Astor Place mosaics will all be removed by Sunday.