Locals Take to the Trees

For well over a year now, the trees on Troutman Street, between Irving and Knickerbocker Avenue in Brooklyn, have been strewn with all sorts of ‘decorations.’  Toys, flowers, pictures and signs all hang from majority of the trees on this block, in a variety of measures.

The tree located closer to the middle of the block has the most decorations.

The tree with the most decorations, located closer to the middle of the block. 

The trees catch a decent amount of attention from passerby, and many wonder if there is any meaning behind their look.  Lucia Reed, a photographer living in Bushwick, also photographed the trees on Troutman St.  Reed mentioned that, “When asked what the decorations were for, the response was simply ‘to make our neighbourhood look nicer.'” [1]  However, some of the signs seem to add more value, beyond strictly entertainment purposes.

Citation of Psalm 61:1

Citation of Psalm 61:1

Portrait of Christ

Portrait of Christ

To the Block Association, "We'll never forget."

Regards to The Block Association, “We’ll never forget.”

Asking to respect the neighborhood

Asking to respect the neighborhood


And maybe just a good laugh after all…

Graffiti art already lines most streets in this neighborhood, so how might taking a further look into the symbol of the tree substantiate the nature of the neighborhood within these branches?  ARAS (The Archives for Research of Archetypal Symbols) has a collection of 17,000 images and 90,000 pages of cultural and psychological commentary.  The archive provides insight as to how symbols have been used throughout the span of art history.  The organization digitized their collection, which is accessible upon membership, and published The Book of Symbols through Taschen a few years later in 2010.  Within the text, I found this quote:

The tree shows us how, from a tiny, bare seed of potential, the self can come into existence, centered and contained, around which occur incessant processes of metabolism, multiplying, perishing and self renewal.

From The Plant World chapter

Of course, this infers reflection within an individual, however the roots of a community can be considered within a similar  context.  The identity of Bushwick has shifted inevitably within the past ten to fifteen years due to gentrification within Brooklyn.  Although some ‘Real New Yorkers’ are antagonistic in approach, such as the blogger behind Die Hipster, some locals within the neighborhood have brought life to the streets through a colorful embrace, despite these changes.  The objects attached to the trees reflect the individuals who live in the surrounding buildings.  This display may then serve as a celebratory reminder to passerby of the eclectic neighborhood in which they live.

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