Good day. It’s Tuesday. We’ll look at a Manhattan landmark that spent the weekend in the Hamptons. We will also meet the new police commissioner.
Like so many Manhattanites who have spent the weekend in the Hamptons, a family landmark had to return to New York City.
Astor Place’s giant cube was a huge star on Long Island’s East End, if only because it’s 8 feet tall, weighs 1,800 pounds, and was right next to the entrance to the Hamptons Fine Arts Fair in Southampton, New York
And it is no longer an immovable object. It can spin on its axis again, something it stopped doing in 2021 after more than half a century “of being spun by drunken NYU students and curious tourists,” as Curbed once put it.
Now, fresh from the equivalent of a spa treatment with some orthopedic work done, the cube heads to Manhattan. The art fair closed on Sunday; Monday morning, a crane loaded the bucket onto a truck that took it away. The city’s Transportation Department, responsible for the cube, scheduled the unveiling of the restored sculpture for this morning.
The cube’s immobility was one of the reasons it was withdrawn from Astor Place in May. He also worried that it would lean like the Tower of Pisa.
The transportation department had installed a cradle to balance the cube, horizontally and vertically. But that kept her from turning, and turning was “part of the New York experience,” as Michelle Villar, who oversaw the transportation department’s art unit, put it last year.
Just how much of the New York experience it was came as a surprise to the artist who created it, Tony Rosenthal. He had expected him to be locked in place when he was new, but he never was. He later said that he “didn’t realize that spin was such a big factor in people’s enjoyment.”
Rosenthal, who died in 2009, didn’t expect it to last either. He envisioned the cube, formally known as “Alamo (Cube)”, as nothing more than a temporary installation. But its planned six-month stay became permanent after residents petitioned the city not to remove it. Along the way, his name changed: Rosenthal’s wife, Cynthia Rosenthal, said his size reminded her of the 18th-century mission in San Antonio. Her husband’s original title was “Sculpture in the Environment.”
The restoration sent the cube to a foundry in Connecticut that makes and repairs sculpture, where the Rosenthal estate paid for restoration work estimated at $100,000. Dave Petrie, the estate’s manager, said the cube has a new weather-resistant spinning mechanism that should keep it spinning for about 20 years.
From there, it was trucked to the art fair in the Hamptons, where some attendees were shocked. “They can’t believe they’re looking at the real ‘Alamo,’” Petrie said. “They think they are looking at a new sculpture. Five coats of paint. It had even been painted on the inside, she said.
He turned it, slowly. So did Chad Johnson, the chief of staff at a nanotech company, who first pushed his weight in the early 1990s, when he was still a teenager. “We were 15 guys,” he said. “He didn’t want to move.”
He did so several years later, when he returned with a group of friends that included Jolee Sanchez, who was also at the art fair. “I don’t know if she was WD-40 down, but she started to move,” she said. “It was what had to be done. It was ‘now you’re part of New York City’. You spun the cube at Astor Place.’”
Prepare for the possibility of showers and thunderstorms, which will persist into the evening, with temperatures nearing 80 degrees. At night, temperatures will drop to 70 degrees.
ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING
Valid until August 15 (Feast of the Assumption).
The latest news from New York
Caban becomes the first Latino police commissioner
Even the setting mattered: Edward Caban was sworn in as police commissioner outside the South Bronx police station to which he was assigned early in his career 32 years ago.
Caban, 55, became the first Latino to lead the New York Police Department. Mayor Eric Adams focused on what he called the “historic” significance of Caban’s appointment as a crowd of police officers and city leaders chanted “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie.” “This is an incredible moment not only for the Spanish-speaking community,” said the mayor. “This is an incredible moment for the entire city and the country.”
Caban, who previously served as the first deputy commissioner, remained close to Adams during the 18 months Keechant Sewell spent as commissioner. Sewell, who resigned last month, did not attend Caban’s swearing in; People with knowledge of her experiences as a commissioner said that she had been frustrated in her efforts to act with autonomy.
My colleagues Maria Cramer and Karen Zraick write that the new commissioner, whose rise from the 40th precinct in the Bronx to police headquarters in Manhattan was marred by clashes with departmental oversight agencies, will take over the police department’s most largest in the country at a critical time. .
Morale has improved after successful contract negotiations with the city, but union leaders say the department is still losing officers to early retirement or other agencieswith officers feeling overworked or discouraged in the wake of protests denouncing police brutality. The police union has a new leaderPatrick Hendry, who has been a behind-the-scenes figure, in contrast to the man he succeeded as Police Benevolent Association president, Patrick Lynch, “a take-it-or-leave-it megaphone for 21,000 active members.” that he had fought mayors for almost a quarter of a century, as described by my colleague Chelsia Rose Marcius.
And crime, which became a concern in the months after Adams took office in January 2022, has declined. The shootings in New York City have dropped by 25 percent during the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. But suburban and many New Yorkers say they worry that they will be victims of crimes on the street or in the subway.
Adams, speaking at the ceremony for Caban, credited him with helping Sewell lead the department as shootings and homicides declined. Adams had pushed for Caban to become deputy commissioner last year, bypassing the ranks of department heads to give Caban the promotion. Several officials with knowledge of the relationships involved said Caban would then frequently call the mayor about police department business, eluding Sewell.
I came to the United States in 1971 to attend graduate school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.
I was working nights at a burger joint to earn some extra money. The night manager was a young man named Pete who was about my age.
We became very close and at one point we decided to take a day trip to New York City. We got off in Pete’s Camaro.
The only time I had been in the city was when I passed by on my way to Troy after landing at JFK. Pete had grown up in Utica and had never been to the city. We spent the day walking and took the subway to Canal Street and back.
When it was time for dinner, Pete stopped a guy on the street and asked where Mamma Leone’s was. I was quite surprised when the guy gave us directions to the restaurant. I still remember the wonderful dinner we had there.
When it was time to drive back to Troy, Pete stopped the car on the street.
“Hey, can you tell us how to get to Major Deegan?” he asked the driver in the car next to us.
“Follow me,” the driver said. “I’m going that way!”
I’m glad we could meet here. See you tomorrow. —J.B.
Melissa Guerrero and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at email@example.com.