Friday, May 23, 2008


....And the Sawyers Came ...

History begins with contention . These two flags are both claimed to have been the flag at the top of the tower .

Graywolf's plot was spared damage . He stands with his flag

At the appointed time the sawyers arrived and set about their task . Eddie's Tower of Toys -- a monument to the exuberant defiance of rules , order , decorum and the law of gravity -- was to be dismantled , brought to earth and hauled away .
Buzzing saw in hand the sawyers sliced and pared away at the tower removing the good wood and the bad . Some toys were saved , some weren't . The task took 3 days .
In the process some of the garden plots near the tower were damaged but Parks Dept . personnel declared that the damaged plots would be repaired .
There were of course different opinions about taking the tower down or even whether it needed to be taken down but since the Parks Dept. claimed that nothing taller than 10 feet tall could be insured most of the debate was moot .
The lucky toys were placed in repose on the stage , their first time out of the rain and other elements in a very along time . The unlucky toys were hauled away with the rest of the rubble and sawed and broken timber.
A friend a few months ago told us a story about Eddie . He told us that he had talked to Eddie , at length , one afternoon a year or so ago just outside Tompkins Square Park . He told us that he mentioned his conversation with Eddie to someone that knew Eddie . Our friend told this person that he had talked to Eddie but that Eddie did not seem well and that he was quite pale . This other person declared that it is not at all surprising that Eddie appeared pale considering that he had been dead for a week .
With this tale in mind and considering Eddie's considerable talent and capacity for the unusual we have been taking walks past the pile of wood that remains in the garden these last two nights . We have been hoping to perhaps glimpse and photograph a spectral barefoot materalization wearing a string of beads climbing about this wood pile .

Thanks for these photographs--I was hoping you'd post about this. (Mine of this sad event pale in comparison, of course.) I spent some time watching the tower's destruction, listening to resulting conversations between the non-sawing sawyers and the general onlookers and still can't determine whether taking it down was necessary or not. I still miss Eddie and his string of pearls, although he was often pretty abrupt about where I should put my kid's stroller whenever we visited the garden. I always figured it was my Utah meeting his New York.
If the primary concern is public safety then without major intervention the tower was and was becomming even more un-safe .

Eddie took care of the tower for years minimizing the deterioration but of course he is no longer around to do so now .

There were things that could have been done to preserve the tower but they all required time and were of course expensive .

The structure was to a considerable extent rotten with good wood interspersed . Because the tower was built with a largely redundant structural system whem one piece failed another piece smoothlytook up its load .This process could not go on forever though .Eventually there would be a failure ,partial or complete . Just determining when this was likely to occur was the difficult part of the analysis to determine .

The tower would probably have stood as it was for some time ....but note that I say probably . That is , there was a chance of some unforseen failure mechanism by which the towere in part or in whole could come down unexpectedly injuring someone .

This tower was not a readily analyzable structure . All that looked at it from an engineering perspective were making decisions based on their experience and intuition . You cuold not calculate what was going on structurally but in the grossest terms with eddies tower .

The tower had moved recently and was noticeably leaning . That concerned everyone that had been summoned took look at the tower and render a professional opinion .All seemed to agree that at the very least the upper third of the tower should be removed .

What really mattered in all this is that the Parks Dept. wanted the tower down . Thier engineers had said that it should be removed .the Parks Dept. also claimed that thier insurance would only insure structures 10 feet or less in height .

This is just another one of the sad changes that we have to deal with . At least St Brigids will be saved .
I walked by there and it is so empty now--I saw the association vigorously replaning/replanting the site--RIP
RIp east village, or at least, a chapter of it. Wanted to share with you that there is hope rising out of the ashes, and so after talking to you today, point you to
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