Monday, August 29, 2005


pointe lookout

I object on principle to any development that calls itself "______ Pointe". "Pointe" is a ballet term that has somehow found its way into land speculation and corporate naming schemes. It reads, surely, as "point". I will refrain from rehashing jokes about what the extra "e" is for. To those few people who actaully follow the ballet, use of the term "pointe" is meant to connote sophistication. For the rest of us, it's supposed to sound vaguely European, and thus as class-stratified and exclusionary as we expect Europe to be.

Still, pointes that are not built at any discernable point are mystifying and cause cognitive dissonance. Grove Pointe is going up at the intersection of Marin and Christopher Columbus, which is a point on the map in the way that an individual Lite Brite bulb somewhere in the middle of a clown face is a point of illumination. There is nothing distinctive about this property besides its proximity to the PATH Train Station.

I have heard good things about both the developers and the development: how they are complying with city regulations and contributing to the clean-up of a PATH plaza that had largely become an open-air derelict holding bin. The new PATH station on Marin, which has probably shaved more than ninety seconds off of my trip to Brooklyn, was built in part to accomodate the expected swell of new residents. I appreciate the convenience. It saves me the trouble of becoming enmeshed on Grove Street in conversations with people I know. Nobody pleasure-walks on Marin.

Yesterday afternoon, Rikki Reich, who owns the Gallery on Morgan Street, called me. Grove Pointe was, for her, a breaking point. She objected to the developer's decision -- backed, apparently, by the City government -- to cut down three trees on Marin that had stood for centuries. One was already gone, another two were in jeopardy. This was, to Reich, more than a metaphor for overdevelopment. She was brought up in the West, she told me, she has respect for all living things, and killing these trees was entirely unnecessary. I thought of the stump that now stands in our courtyard. The City and the developer, suggested Reich, were behaving like bullies, killing simply because they could.

Reich told me she would chain herself to the trees if she had to. She said that a Shade Tree organization from the Heights told her that the City had quietly removed scores of trees this summer. If this is true, I haven't noticed; I'm not a tree person. But I do miss the tree from our courtyard, and thought that the trumped-up charges on which the City saw fit to put it to death were outrageous.

I don't know if Reich actually did chain herself to the trees this morning, or whether she reached some kind of settlement with the developer or the City. But it is only a five-minute walk from here to the Pointe. I have my camera, and I am going to find out.

Read the accompanying article on The Tris McCall Report.

I too have heard rumors of the city doing excessive tree removals lately -- something along the lines of a contractor (probably a friend of someone important) getting paid according to how many trees they cut down, so of course, they're going overboard. If this is true, it's a real shame.

I know of 2 trees removed from my block this summer, and both were dead. What troubles me is the city doesn't seem to plant a new tree in place of each it removes. The number of empty tree wells in the sidewalks of this city is embarrassing.
Tris, you're gonna issue a complete judgement on a Councilman over the fate of one tree?

Yeah, it sucks that it was removed, but I hope that this gives people the opportunity to see what the city's shade tree ordiance says. Too many towns - not just Jersey City - ignore it.
anyone who followed fulop's campaign and the brief aftermath knows that his disregard in this instance was symptomatic, not at all isolated. i take tris's point to be that fulop has acted here in precisely the way he's led us to expect he'd act -- the issue couldn't advance his career, and hence he ignored it.
jeff -- breaking news is that fulop is about to bail rikki out. i certainly hope he does.
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