Dear Westview Editors/Writers,
Congratulations on the rebirth of Westview and your recommitment to covering our neighborhood and local affairs! I am enjoying your meaty December issue and look forward to future editions.
With that in mind, I would like to pass along a concern I suspect I share with others in this neck of the woods: the Tiles for America bus that remains rooted on 7th Avenue South at Greenwich Avenue after many years, if not decades.
Inasmuch as the original, worthy effort of exhibiting dozens of tiles as a memorial to the 9/11 attacks seems defunct—no tiles have been on view for years—and the seemingly abandoned condition of the bus, I continue to wonder what purpose it serves, if any. And I wonder why, in the absence of any clear purpose, it continues to claim residence as a traffic obstacle and eyesore.
When I posted an inquiry on my NextDoor feed a while back, I got numerous messages echoing my befuddlement, but none of those folks had any more of a clue than I do.
There is no clear explanation on the supposed organization’s website as to its current status, purpose or activities.
Back in August I shared my concern with Assembly member Glick. I received from her office a gracious response with a promise to investigate the matter. A month later I followed up to see if anything had been discovered. This time I got no response. (Our email string is attached below, FYI.)
I know you’re inundated with urgent story ideas and issues vying for your attention. But now, as the Village (and the entire city) grapple with how best to share our precious sidewalk and street space with restaurants’ outdoor dining, I hope the puzzle surrounding this bus, a stuck-in-place obstruction, will resonate with you.
Thanks for your time. And best wishes for your continuing journalistic mission!
(Hamilton) Frazier Moore
To: Tracy Jackson <email@example.com>
I contacted your office recently concerning the 9/11 Tile bus on 7th Avenue South. I wonder if anything has been discovered regarding its mysterious presence. (One new note: the battered planter parked in front of the bus, which previously had dead plants, seems now to be displaying a few healthy ones. Someone is clearly around, at least from time to time; I’m beginning to wonder if someone has taken up residence in the bus). Stranger things have happened in this city!
Thanks again for your attention.
On Tue, Aug 30, 2022 at 10:38 AM Tracy Jackson wrote:
Thank you for contacting our office. Assembly member Glick agrees that the status of the bus ought to be resolved, and we are reaching out to the Council Member and the NYC Dept of Transportation to learn more.
Our understanding is that a longtime resident of the Village collected the tiles as they were moved (either for some construction at the site, or in preparation for Hurricane Irene) and then began storing/displaying them in the school bus with hopes of turning it into a permanent museum. The endeavor appears to have long been in limbo, and the bus has been allowed to stay.
I will keep you posted as I learn more.
Tracy Jackson, Chief of Staff
NYS Assembly member Deborah J. Glick
On Tue, Aug 30, 2022 at 10:43 AM Hamilton wrote:
Thank you so much for your and your office’s attention on this matter! I look forward to getting your updates.
Message: Dear Ms. Glick —
I’m writing to inquire about the TILES FOR AMERICA bus planted on 7th Avenue South at Greenwich Avenue.
As a longtime resident of the West Village, I have passed this bus more times than I can count, and each time I ask myself, What’s it doing there?
Finally I have come to you for help.
Like you (I’m certain) I remember all too well the tragedy that gave rise to the worthy 9/11 Tiles for America movement, and the inspiring tiles that were arrayed on the adjacent fence.
But the majority of the tiles are long gone … the organization, if not defunct, seems to have no functioning website or social media account to explain its current objectives … and the bus—a traffic obstruction and, I think you would agree, an eyesore—sits, apparently abandoned, flying its tattered American flag, month after month, year after year.
If the bus is serving any purpose, I would certainly be interested, and perhaps even support it. Otherwise, it seems to be little more than an ongoing nuisance whose presence continues to puzzle me.
If you can shed any light on this matter, I —and I know many other Villagers—would be very grateful. Many thanks for your attention!
—Hamilton F. Moore