Remember those mysterious cubeheads at Astor Place? Well, now we know what they were up to. No, they weren’t trying out the hot new headware. Turns out they were shooting a short for a campaign by the Tribeca Film Festival called “See Yourself In Others.”
Cube, meet spikes.
The Alamo returned in November and now another piece of monumental art is being installed outside of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. The sculpture, a nine-foot-by-nine-foot cube with spikes mounted on top, is by John Hejduk, an artist, architect and former Dean Emeritus of Cooper Union.
It cost a hefty $180,000 to restore the Astor Place cube, but you can have one of your own for just $30,000. Yes, it’s an original. But before you get too excited: it’s tiny. Up for grabs on eBay right now is a miniature version of Tony Rosenthal’s Alamo, created by the sculptor himself in 2007. It stands just 21” inches tall— but, hey, you can spin it. For that kind of money, one would hope so.
Just a couple of weeks after its return to Astor Place, Tony Rosenthal’s “Alamo” has been freed from the protective barrier that surrounded it while it awaited a final stage of restoration. As you can see, young lovers are already flocking to it and smooching under its aegis as if it’s the Summer of Love– which, by the way, is the year the Cube was installed as part of a citywide exhibition, Sculpture and the Environment.
The long redesign of Cooper Square and Astor Place is finally nearing completion– knock on wood. This morning, landscapers worked to plant dozens of new trees around the square. We’re told that in total about 55 trees—oaks, sweetgums, and blackgums—will be planted over the next few days, bringing some much needed greenery to the area.
Last month, the city’s Department of Design and Construction told us the Astor Place cube was set to return in June. Today was supposed to be the big day, according to a construction update noticed by EV Grieve. But alas, the newly redesigned Alamo Plaza is still as cube-less as a sad cup of iced coffee left out in the sun too long. The city now says it won’t happen till August.
A DDC rep told us today that the cube was “awaiting final inspection by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Once completed, it will be delivered and re-installed.” A spokesperson for the Parks Department, which has traditionally been involved in the upkeep of Tony Rosenthal’s beloved sculpture, added, “The City is looking forward to an installation of the Cube in August. The Cube must first be inspected by a conservator.”
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.
After months of hiding inside of a wooden box while his eponymous triangle was rebuilt, Peter Cooper has come out to smell the roses (or to smell a rat, depending who you ask). The Stanford White-designed statue, dedicated in 1897, was boxed up for its own protection last April but has now reemerged, even as the redesign of Peter Cooper Triangle continues around it. Meanwhile, over on Astor Place, construction of Alamo Plaza seems to have stalled, and it may be a while before we see the Astor Place cube again.
They tried to make the Astor Place cube go to rehab, and we said, “No, no, no.”
Remember the Alamo — because it’s going away for a while.