Volume 77 / Number 51 - May 21 - 27, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Villager photos by Nick Brooks

Youth frown as the Avenue B Toy Tower is taken down

By Lincoln Anderson

As Parks Department workers started dismantling the late Eddie Boros’s Tower of Toys in Sixth and B Garden on Monday, students from the school across the street posed one last time in front of the iconic structure, above. Most of them were saddened at the loss of the quirky local landmark. Below, the workers piled up some of the disassembled two-by-fours.

The tower was featured in the opening credits of the TV show “NYPD Blue” and was a must-see stop for foreign tourists.

But Parks said the structure, which reached 65 feet tall, was built without permission and structurally unsound.

A mythic neighborhood figure, Boros died last year at 74. An East Village native, he was known for the tower, as well as for his artwork and making toys for local kids and decorating their bikes. He was also known for going barefoot outdoors in all kinds of weather and wearing a strand of pearls around his neck.

He built the tower after fellow gardeners complained about his spraying wood chips from his carvings all over the garden; so, instead he built straight up. However, over the years, more than a few gardeners felt the tower endangered adults and children alike and had wanted it removed.

“They wanted it down since he started building it,” said Joanee Freedom, one of the garden’s founders. “But the Parks Department said it has to come down and that’s who is taking it down. In the fall, it was starting to lean back toward Fifth St., and we had a structural engineer look at it. He said, ‘Ten, 15 feet off the top,’ because that’s what was pulling it over.”

The tower was substantially razed as of Tuesday, but about a third of it was still standing. It was expected it would all be gone by Wednesday.

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