Nearly two years to the day it was hauled off and taken to New Jersey for restoration, the beloved Alamo is made its rightful return to the East Village today, and the Astor Place cube is once again on Astor Place. Around 2 p.m. this afternoon, workers were affixing its base to the newly redesigned Alamo Plaza as Tony Rosenthal’s 49-year-old sculpture waited nearby on a flatbed truck.
Eventually, the cube was hoisted into the air.
And lowered to the ground.
The cube was officially single and ready to spindle. (Yes, that’s lube on the pole.)
After some wood planks were placed underneath it to get it at the right dangle angle, it was hoisted into the air again.
The construction worker who guided the cube onto its pole looked almost like a farmer helping horses mate. (Don’t ask me how I know.)
There was a smattering of applause as cube met base, and then the hoisting mechanism was taken off of the sculpture.
And with that, Department of Design and Construction workers were ready to take it for a spin.
Here’s video of the whole thing, via our YouCube channel.
Today Dan Leibel, a spokesperson for the DDC, explained to us what took so long: “You have to be very thorough in renovating and conserving the cube,” he said. “There were years worth of grime and graffiti and just damage from weather, damage from humans. It was a very extensive process to be able to retain the structural integrity of the cube and make sure that it was exceeding our expectations.”
And now here it is, looking like a jet-black iPhone 7 before all the scratches and thumbprints.
“You know that’s not the original cube, because there’s no graffiti on it,” joked one passerby.
“Y’all looking at a cube!” scolded another in disbelief.
Damn straight we are. “And don’t ever take it away again!” another onlooker yelled.
Yes, the cube has returned! And just in time for sweater weather!
Additional reporting and video by Sabrina Franza.
Update, 4pm: This post was updated to reflect that the cube has officially been installed, glory be.
Update, 6:30pm: This post was updated with comment from the DDC and video of the cube’s glorious return.