Moving His 9/11 Art West, Mosaic Man is Now ‘Spread Over Both Villages’

IMG_2821Stephen Rex Brown Jim Power’s planter honoring the 9/11 first responders at its new home on Seventh Avenue.

A 9/11 memorial in the West Village got a surprise addition to its collection on Saturday. In a frenzied mix of patriotism and general disgust with the state of Astor Place, “Mosaic Man” Jim Power decided to move his planter dedicated to first responders from its original spot.

Mr. Power said the decision came to him after learning that the Walk of Remembrance honoring Rev. Mychal Judge, a firefighter who died while giving last rites to a comrade at the World Trade Center, would pass by the Tiles For America memorial at Seventh Avenue and 11th Street.

The assorted tiles honoring those who died on 9/11 was a perfect fit for Mr. Power’s planter dedicated to the F.D.N.Y. and N.Y.P.D., which he said he quickly put together in the days after the attacks.

“I hope no one misses the planter – it went to a better spot,” said Mr. Power, 63.

But the artist behind the East Village’s iconic light-pole mosaics said there were other bonuses to his moving the planter. For one, his art would now be in a high-profile location outside of his usual stomping grounds. “I’ve crossed lines now,” Mr. Power said. “I’m spread over both Villages — it’s a new day.”

And just as importantly, he was getting sick of Astor Place, anyway.

“That planter has been there for 10 years and not a single person has planted a single tree. They can’t appreciate what I’m doing for the city,” Mr. Power bellowed.

And don’t even get him started on the flaming cactuses that were installed on Astor Place light poles in late July.

“What is that? It’s not art! That’s going to be put in the garbage and choke some mammal somewhere,” Mr. Power said. “I look around and go, ‘This garbage is good enough for you people? Wow. I’ve put 25 years of my life into this.'”

Controversy aside, Dusty Berke, a West Village resident who is helping organize a gathering at the Tiles for America on Saturday to reattach many of the mini-murals that were taken down because of Hurricane Irene, said that Mr. Power’s planter is a welcome addition.

“It’s beautiful, it’s nice to see it there, and it draws more attention,” Ms. Berke said.