It's been over a year since we Rumbled about the Arbor Slay at Grace Church, when four gracious old trees that stood at the corner of Broadway and East 10th Street were chopped down. At that time neighborhood tree lovers were stumped, but back in September of '05 a spokesman for the church offered some soothing words:
Four trees were taken down in August as part of site preparation for a new gymnasium that Grace Church School is constructing underneath its lawn. The fallen trees were Siberian elms with a lifespan in the city of 30 to 50 years ... these 60-year-old trees, past their expected lifespan, were structurally impaired. As beautiful as they were they would have needed to be replaced in the near future regardless of the construction project ... In the spring of 2007, when construction is finished, the gym will disappear, and a new landscape plan will incorporate a larger garden and shade trees that will thrive in an urban environment and eventually grow to maturity.Since then, the folks at Grace Church have completed the construction of a new underground gymnasium, along with an above-ground faux-Gothic addition and a something-Gothic playground for the kids at Grace Church School.
Here's what the yard at Grace Church looked like a few months back when the workmen had covered over the underground gymnasium (but before the new garden went in):
The new addition as it went up (back when one might have held out hope for limestone to match the original church building, which was designed by James Renwick, Jr. and opened in 1846):
The Epistle, the church's newsletter, says that construction and renovation will be completed this month. But they don't say anything about what's up with the trees. One little sapling has been planted near the corner of Broadway and 10th Street. And a small evergreen has gone in closer to the new play area. The playground looks a little scary with the tall black fencing looming over the playset, no? But not so bad that additional plantings wouldn't help. And with all that dryvit on the new building some more trees (perhaps a grove?) would be welcome.