Posts Tagged ‘Silver Towers NYU’

Is this what pre-colonial New York looked like?

April 30, 2012

At the southwest corner of Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place is a fenced-in patch of green that appears to be part of Silver Towers, two 1960s apartment houses owned by New York University.

But it’s actually an outdoor sculpture of sorts: a landscape recreated by artist Alan Sonfist in 1978 to resemble pristine West Village terrain before the 17th century.

Called Time Landscape, the little plot features birch and beech trees, oaks and elms, and “a woodland with red cedar, black cherry, and witch hazel above groundcover of mugwort, Virginia creeper, aster, pokeweed, and milkweed,” states the Parks Department, of the city-owned land.

Of course, one person’s pre-Colonial woodland is another’s weed garden. One criticism leveled at Time Landscape is that many non-indigenous plants have taken root there.

“This is an open lab, not an enclosed landscape,” Sonfist told The Villager in 2007. “The intention was never to keep out all nonnative species, but rather to see how they come into the space with time.”