Yesterday, we were on hand to see the Astor Place cube, Alamo, make its triumphant return to its iconic location in the East Village. The collective memory of this location as a meeting place dates all the way back to the Native American era, where it was a crossroads between three major trails. The cube’s removal for protection and restoration during the redevelopment of the Astor Place streetscape was thus felt keenly among residents and its return has been wildly anticipated with a fervor that outsiders may find surprising for a geometric object.
Yet, Alamo is so much more than just an object and more than just a meeting location. Designed by artist Bernard “Tony” Rosenthal, who made several others (including a secret one we uncovered), it has come to also represent an East Village holdout from a time when the neighborhood forged its counter culture identity. Yesterday, those watching the installation noted how it has become surrounded by glass towers. Others felt that they were witnessing a moment in history and stayed for the nearly two hour process.
Above is a video we took of the final piece of the puzzle coming together, met by cheers by the crowd at the end. It then took its first swivel in two years. See more photographs of the installation process here.