Hard to believe, but it’s now been over a year since our beloved Astor Place cube was boxed up and unceremoniously hoisted onto a flatbed and hauled off. We were briefly consoled by a human cube on Halloween, but mostly there’s been a hole in our heart — or, at Astor Place, anyway — where the cube used to be. This week, however, excavation of the future Astor Plaza finally commenced, and the city tells us the reconstruction should be completed by spring.
In the meantime, we’re told, the cube is being restored in New Jersey. Meaning, that both CBGB and the iconic Alamo are on the wrong side of the PATH train. Obviously, this needs to be corrected, stat.
Last time we checked in with the massive Cooper Square reconstruction project, in April, work at the cube site was on hold pending the MTA’s approval of construction above the Astor Place subway station. According to an MTA spokesperson, plans to build above the roof of the 6 line were rejected because additional engineering were required. In early October, Department of Design and Construction contractors submitted revised drawings that “eliminated that portion of the work from their contract,” the spokesperson said. The MTA then lifted the Stop Work Order that had been delaying construction.
Since then, there’ve been crickets at Alamo Plaza. But that changed Monday, when diggers finally met pavement. Shavone Williams, public information officer at the DDC, told us that, weather permitting, construction along Alamo Plaza should be completed by spring. The cube, she added, is “currently being restored in a conservation facility in New Jersey.” The statement went on: “The contractor has just begun work operations along the Alamo Plaza, and will begin excavations on Monday, January 11th, for the Subway Plaza. Pending conservators work, and completion of the plazas, the Cube will then be re-installed back to its rightful place.”
In the meantime, work is really coming along at Cooper Square, where the sidewalk on the west side of the square has been widened and new lampposts have been installed.
Across the street, Peter Cooper Park is looking nattier than ever.
We’ll keep you posted as work progresses right here outside of B+B HQ. In the meantime, remember the Alamo!
Additional reporting by Joshua Alvarez.