The Abhorrence of Open Space, or, A Marketing Idiot’s Delight part 1

“What’s the first thing they see?” I imagine  marketing folks asking themselves at a meeting shortly after Blackstone took over Sty Town/Peter Cooper in late 2015. The  “they” refers to the prospective tenants led out the back of the rental office at 252 First Ave to be shown a bit of the complex and a model apartment. For more than half a century you would have seen elegant tree-lined pathways surrounding a paved unadorned open space, the perimeter of which was marked by a thin cast iron fence and park benches. The area bore a Zen-like simplicity in its from and function.  But, alas, just as nature abhors a vacuum, developers abhor an open space (and marketers can’t see the allure of “empty” space). Thus, the meeting concludes with: “We’ve got to put something there that will grab ‘em right away.”

A Tree Dies In Stuyvesant Town

I recently witnessed through my window a healthy tree in the back of my building being taken down. Two workers systematically dismembered the tree using a crane, a buzz saw, and a wood chipper. Within the span of a few hours a decades old vital tree in full  bloom was gone.  After being stripped of its leaves and branches,  its still tall rooted trunk was cut down piece by piece in approximately one foot sections, the saw inexorably slicing through the still living plant. A simple push usually sufficed to slide off the severed section but often that section resisted and the worker had to employ the crane to ram the tree to force the separation. The section fell to the ground as the remaining trunk swayed violently back and forth. Eventually,  what was left of the trunk was flush with the ground. A  few days later, all visible traces of the tree had been removed.

This was the second tree removed within a few days at the site of what turns out to be a playground renovation.