Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tower of Toys

VANISHING

Awful news just came in from a tipster who is affiliated with the community garden at 6th St. and Ave B: Eddie Boros' famous Tower of Toys is coming down. Here's the official announcement from the garden's executive committee:


photo by Goggla

"Recently the NYC Parks Department has determined that the Tower of Toys is unsafe and has ordered it be removed. Parks Department will begin dismantling it soon. As the tower's future is now very uncertain, the 6 & B Garden would like to invite all admirers of the tower and its creator, Eddie Boros, who passed away a year ago, to spend an evening in the garden with each other and celebrate this landmark of the East Village."


photo by Gammablog

How ironic that this should be done at the time of LES street-artist Keith Haring's 50th birthday. This makes me sick to my stomach. I guess the new residents of the EV don't like it in their view. Before it's gone, come to An Informal Celebration of the Tower of Toys, Sunday, May 11, 7pm - 9pm at the 6th Street & Avenue B Community Garden.

P.S. You can get a DVD about Eddie Boros and his artistic process by contacting Sally at One Gun Press.

33 comments:

anon. said...

Let me guess, the tower of toys will be replaced by a replica of: a condo; NYU dorm; Starbuck's; a bank; John Varvatos store; pharmacy; or, statues of the characters from SATC -- a la Mt. Rushmore.

"We are a city of mirrors within mirrors. Surfaces reflecting onto other surfaces. What depth will be left when all is glass?"

This should be in Bartlett's book of quotations.

Anonymous said...

That thing is a terrifying eye sore. I am so glad it is finally coming down. I don't really care what they build in its place.

Jeremiah Moss said...

...what did i tell you?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you offer to dismantle it and pay to have it rebuilt somewhere else so it doesn't have to get trashed?

anonymous3 said...

How is that an eyesore? This is one of the many (that are disappearing)that makes NYC NYC, gives the city character. The condos being built are an eyesore. The generation 0, them yunnies, in their cellphones and huge bags, are an eyesore. The SATC girls clones/wannabe are an eyesore. Yes, perhaps if the tower were in the suburbs, it can be considered an eyesore. Oh wait, NYC is being suburbanized by these suburbanites -- my bad. You "don't really care what they build in its place"? How about a mirror?, so that you can admire your vanity and the cold emptiness of your soul.

Anonymous said...

What do you suppose it is like to live in a neighborhood like the East Village and have complete disdain for its unique qualities?

I think the ABC blocks contain some of the most visually intriguing details in Manhattan.

It's hard for me to imagine someone being frustrated by murals, mosaics and sculpture gardens to the same extant that I am by people screaming inanities into iPhones. It makes even less sense to me that someone would pay good money to live in an area so full of "eyesores".

There are many places in the world where you can romp around getting drunk and acting like a fool. There are other neighborhoods with a high concentration of restaurant options.

Anon#2, why would you choose to live here? Please enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

ummm yeah, 10 yrs ago it was cool. today its a rotting piece of crap that's about to collapse. better to remove it safely than have it come crashing down. no disrespect to the artist, but it's time is over.

Anonymous said...

sorry, i've been looking at it for years and have always seen a rotting pile of trash. a polished turd is still a turd. but i must say that i do find it thoroughly entertaining that you people think that because i don't love that big, heapin' mound of garbage, i must have no soul.

dislike garbage on display = no soul.

please, i implore you, please try to realize how ridiculous you sound.

sorry to call your baby ugly, but that's my opinion and i live here too. i've been waiting a long, long time to see the east village *finally* get cleaned up.

Joshua said...

Anon #5, Anon #7 just explained why people would pay good money to live in an area so full of "eyesores". The come with the full expectation that they will soon be gotten rid of. If they wait longer than expected, they become all the more frustrated.
To give an example of this thinking, when a yunnie in a gentrifying neighorhood is asked why he came (like in a New York Times realestate article or something), and he says because the place is "in transition" and will soon be cool. That is, he came with the full intention that his presence be an aid to getting rid of whatever was there before (and the people who like it), the better to make the neighborhood atractive to others like himself (and thereby raise the potential resale value of the property).
That's really all there is to it.

Kiry said...

Well, that's a shame. While it is a rotting piece of crap to some, I'll always remember that that was the view from my apartment window. And I'll remember the times that Eddie gave me his usual, "Hello, darlin" from the top of that tower, after blowing a horn that was strapped up there, while I was sitting in my kitchen/livingroom/entrance/diningroom eating or grading papers at the table by the window that was about 5 feet from that "eyesore." It's too bad it's coming down, though I always remember worrying about Eddie falling off of it or about it falling down--especially the year of that hurricane (what was that, like, 99 or something?). I remember the garden people always had beef with Eddie and his tower, especially my downstairs neighbor, who was a real, real, pain, and a total idiot, despite being a part of the "greening" of the East Village. Sigh.
And, btw, Jeremiah, the whole polished turd idea reminds me of something else I loved in the EV back in the day...the person I never knew who used to put rainbow sprinkles on dog turds on the sidewalk. Talk about polishing a turd!

Anonymous said...

you've got to be fucking kidding me. this breaks my heart. almost as depressing is that new york is now filled with soulless fucks who do not see the beauty in this. makes me almost want to cry.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the fact that it's been on the intro on NYPD Blue or Law & Order one of those popular cop shows for the last ten years....if it can't be landmarked for the neighborhood maybe the Mayors Film Office canbasedon the amount of times it is shown on TV. I am sure the garden didnt make a dime off of that...

d2p said...

heard there is a plan to rebuild it in Las Vegas . . .

Anonymous said...

Instead of complaining, perhaps we should try to come up with some useful suggestions for a replacement.

Anonymous said...

"a polished turd is still a turd".

Well, you may take the whore out of the neighborhood but you can not take the neighborhood out of the whore. So, regardless where you move or live, whether your new neighborhood have been or you want it sanitized, regardless of that dockers/Varvatos clothing/manolo blahnik shoes or whatever it is you wear to emulate the characters in SATC and hide your insecurities -- you are still a whore. Or, in your case, "a polished a*#^%*^e is still an a*#^%*^e".

Commenter said...

"ummm yeah, 10 yrs ago it was cool"
and "dislike garbage on display = no soul"

You need not to love the tower of toys nor have to appreciate it, just acknowledge that it is a piece of art. Art should be timeless and inconsistent; you may not like it now but the next generation might, or might not, but it is art, nonetheless. I do not love all the collections at MOMA, Guggenheim,...but I recognized the worth of the illustration of the abstract thought and its expressions.

NYC has other places to offer, like the museums, but apparently you'd rather spend your time, and money, in that wine bar, Starbuck's, that new trendy restaurant/clothing boutique, etc., to get your piece of art, and a*% in these people cases.

Not only is the city full of museums, it is a museum. But then again, this city is being transformed into a mall, from a museum, and you prefer it that way.

Anonymous said...

I don't really see the City as a museum because that would imply that the City should never change. Sure, there's a good handful of people out there who rail against, for example, the Disney-fied version of Times Square, but let's face it - the old Times Square was seedy and dangerous and in need of a serious overhaul. And I'm sure there's no shortage of people out there who lament that Tompkins Square park is no longer a dangerous squatters haven, but there's far more people happy to see it's now cleaned up and safe. And yes, these things do have an impact on our wallet and our investments in property. Bottom line -- if you want see the Tower of Toys preserved, move it to a museum where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

Times Sq and Tompkins Sq park may have been seedy, but they had character. And, which people are you talking about when you say "there's far more people happy to see it's now cleaned up and safe"? The yunnies?, narcissists?, who have run the previous residents out of the East Village.

Having the tower of toys where it is now gives that neighborhood character and its identity. Having it preserved in a museum is a good idea (if any of the politicians, curators, will take up on that); however, in a macrocosm point of view, it's just like saying that the Statue of Liberty, or the Empire State building should be moved to another state or country to have it preserve, should the yunnies deem them to be an eyesore, and the NYC Parks Department has determined them to be unsafe.

Anonymous said...

Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this.

[And this whole idea of "yunnies" -- do you call black people "niggers" too?]

For the record, I (or my "type") did not run anyone out of the neighborhood. (Note *the* neighborhood, not *your* neighborhood. Crime went down. Businesses began to thrive. Developers moved in. The area became attractive to people who didn't previously find it attractive. Demand for housing soared. Rents went up. People got priced out. And on and on. Last I checked we've had a capitalist economy since pretty much the inception of our nation, and that would include this "magical" period of time when you say the City once had "character." Well, you say "tomato," I say "tomatoe."

The City is changing, and will always be changing, like it or not.

It's high time this little parcel of land housing the tower of toys see some change.

Get out of the past already and evolve with the rest of us, or simply get left behind with everything else that eventually becomes obsolete.

(Was that too narcissistic for you?)

ShatteredMonocle said...

I always like the obligatory reminders about how capitalism works (last they checked).

Last I checked, the federal government forked over a subsidy for a Bear Stearns buy-out, and the Atlantic Yards project was also being subsidized with tax-payer dollars. We take these violations of the free market for granted lest Brooklyn should go without a sports team or should the collapse of BS send the entire economy into a tailspin.

So given that we actually don’t have a purely capitalistic economy, I’d like to suggest that the “bottom line” in financial terms may not always be the optimal moral yardstick for our society. In the case of NYC, greed and egocentrism are ruining a way of life.

Apart from that, the comparison of the yunnie label to the word nigger, and the suggestion that the superficial and hyper-materialistic direction of our culture is somehow a righteous evolutionary step are far beyond narcissistic.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me... "businesses began to thrive" are you kidding? It seems as though the turnover of businesses is constant. Where is the butcher and the fishmonger in the East Village? Oh yes, replaced by GNC and coffee shops and more coffee shops and restaurants and bars and restaurants, and bars. You have to go to Essex Street to get a fresh piece of fish. But if you want a knick knack or an imported beer, you are in the heart of it all.

Anonymous said...

It's time for you all to shut up. :)

Joshua said...

Wow, “It's time for you all to shut up. :)”. How’s that for a sophisticated argument?

Anyway, in regards to Anon #15’s comments, when he says “businesses began to thrive” he’s not kidding, he really thinks that. Remember, the excuses yunnies (and their apologists) use to justify gentrification often depend on a rather selective, naive view of pre-2000 urban life. One of these, repeated quite often, is the idea that before their “discovery” these neighborhoods contained no economic activity whatsoever. That before the first yunnie set his flip-flopped foot in any of these places they contained either “nothing” or some Dante-esc hell hole. This doesn’t stretch believability for them because, unlike the people they displace, most yunnies have never lived in a neighborhood before gentrification began (and growing up in Capeside, MA watching “Death Wish” and “Escape from New York” on TV obviously frightened them a great deal).
Likewise, with the issue of crime (they stopped it), and that weird thing about “demand for housing” for which there apparently was none during our “magical” period (remember those huge swaths of the city where only one or two people lived?), and so on. A bit silly, but self-serving fantasies can be attractive when the facts make you look bad.
He also gets into the “gradual and natural” excuse of gentrification while touching on “change is inevitable” (though he made it more interesting with his command to “evolve like the rest of us”, whatever he means by that). How “change” that makes it virtually impossible for the average person to participate in the city’s economic life in any meaningful way represents progressive evolution (or capitalism working well) is beyond me. I guess we should all be buying $40 pounds of imported butter and $800 jeans, or else we’ll fall behind in our evolution. Makes sense, right?
Still, like he says, if “some people” get pushed out in the process of evolution, well hey–that’s capitalism. This is probably the most honest statement he made, though it’s revelations are not very pleasant. How this utopia of perennially spiraling costs is going to work for the rest of “the rest of us”, he doesn’t say, but I get the impression that it doesn’t particularly concern him. But then, I think that’s what is meant in calling his “type” disturbingly narcissistic.
Finally, I don’t know what to say about that “niggers” question, other than that I never thought about yunnies as being in the forefront in any struggle against racism. The comments they leave after articles on the web about blacks being pushed out of the city by gentrification never gave me that impression.

Wonderful article as always, Jerry!

Jeremiah Moss said...

love you joshua.

Jeremiah Moss said...

p.s. joshua, will you please start a blog in which you select a yunnie comment from another blog and then craft one of your well-considered responses? that would be amazing.

i'm serious.

Joshua said...

Sorry, no time for a blog of my own, though I thank you for the suggestion. I'm perfectly content to be an ally to JVN, which fills a very important void (to use a MASSIVE understatment).
Thank you again ;)

Joshua said...

Oh Jeremiah, I nearly forgot: I love you too, man.

Zzz said...

why do you spell yuppie with n's?

Zach said...

ohh...

I love that tower. Is there anything I can do to save it? perhaps chain myself to the top when the dismantlers come

Joshua said...

Zzz, we use “n” because yunnie and yuppie are two different acronyms. Yunnie standing for “young urban narcissist” instead of “young urban professional”. So, our word describes a personality type rather than employment demographic. It is particularly useful in that respect because not all yunnies are in occupations that are considered professions (or any occupation at all, for that matter).
Also, Zach, chaining yourself to the tower would certainly generate publicity. They wouldn't be able to just kill the tower off quietly, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Censoring the yunnie, are ya now? Tsk tsk. That's not very blog-friendly of you.

Don't worry. I know you it infuriated you. :)

Jeremiah Moss said...

what infuriated me? i don't think your yunnie comment came through--please, infuriate me...

jhs71@yahoo.com said...

Hi, my name is Caroll.I grew up on e.5th st. # 536, Eddie lived in 540.Eddie knew my whole family. As my brother and I became old enough, along with other neighborhood friends,we hung out in the neighborhood bar, on 5th st. Chic Chocs. Eddie, also hung out there. It was a gathering every night of so many neighborhood people, friends and family. Even if you didn't drink alcohol, it was still our spot to meet and have good clean fun.. I could tell you so many stories, about Eddie, and all of our great times shared throughout the years. As far as the neighborhood goes, and people complaining about the tower, and these supposed New Yorkers, I am sorry to see my old neighborhood overtaken by those who would rather not preserve what the LES is all about. I have my initials carved on more sidewalks in the LES than these people have friends on FB. The LES is and always will be, (if only in spirit, after everyone destroys it), a place of art, and diversity, culture, a grassroots kind of experience. People, real people of substance, moxy and dedication to an area that speaks to our hearts and souls. I can go on forever, but those who know... feel what I am saying. The rest of you cannot comprehend, unless the LES is a part of you and lives in your fondest memories... If there are any friends out there, anyone who has an interest in the old days, and Eddie etc, please feel free to respond... Thank you....
Caroll