It was a year and a half ago that the Astor cube got boxed up and carted away, and the city hasn’t been the same since. I’m neither a psychologist nor a geologist, but I’m willing to bet that the removal of the Alamo took the very earth off of its axis, causing the mass imbalance of brain chemistry that led to the imminent nomination of Donald J. Trump.
To add insult to injury, the cube was kidnapped to New Jersey for restoration. Since then, the skaters who used to flock to Astor Place have started grinding on Cooper Square, the reconstruction of which has finally been coming together. Though the re-landscaped Peter Cooper Park remains closed to the public, sidewalks have been widened to the point where Jim Gaffigan can comfortably hold court.
The latest development is a glorious one indeed. Today, a spokesperson for the Department of Design and Construction told us the words we’ve been waiting to hear: “We anticipate the cube to be installed next month.”
That should be welcome news to those currently wringing their hands over the state of Astor Place. This past week, the new Alamo Plaza played host to the Design Pavilion, an “immersive urban experience” installed as part of NYCxDesign, the city-wide festival that also brought BKLYN Designs to Greenpoint. Jeremiah’s Vanishing didn’t take kindly to the “public activation”: “This is the new Astor Place,” the blog bemoaned. “It looks like a public space, but like many sites in Bloomberg’s ‘high-performance’ neoliberal vision of the city, it feels more and more like privatization, covered in high-end branding disguised as ‘fun for everyone.'”
Here’s hoping the cube doesn’t return as an Enron logo.