We received an urgent message in our inbox this morning from Jim “Mosaic Man” Power informing us that some of his public artwork is threatened by the Astor Place redevelopment project that’s currently underway.
“D.O.T. AND THE VILLAGE ALLIANCE.ORK PLAN TYO REMOVE ALL THE MOSAICS LIGHT POLES FOR THE RE DESIGN…AND THE TOP OF ST MARKS PL TOO,” he wrote, imploring the e-mail’s recipients to protest to the Village Alliance and to contribute funds to his work. (Not the first time the Mosaic Man has issued a cry for help.)
Power’s mosaics, which the neighborhood legend began installing around 1985, are scattered about the East Village. But the 3-D street art pieces are highly concentrated along the stretch of Eighth Street betwixt Third Avenue and Lafayette, which also happens to be the very Bermuda Triangle of city planning that is on its way to either beautification or sterilization– only time will tell.
Neither the Department of Transportation nor a representative from the Department of Design and Construction (the agency managing the project under the auspices of the DOT) returned our emails and calls today, leaving us to speak with the Village Alliance, one community organization that’s contributing to project oversight. Terri Howell, the Business and Community Services Manager at Village Alliance, said she feels as if her organization is being “targeted” unfairly. “We’re really working hand in hand with DOT to make sure [the mosaics] are preserved.”
Howell was adamant that she’s spoken with Jim Powers personally and assured him that his mosaics would not be destroyed. “They are going to be saved,” she explained. “But they have to be removed, and how they go back– that’s another issue.”