This morning, workmen dismantled the clock at the corner of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue that generated headlines last week when the British street artist Banksy graced it with one of his distinctive rat stencils. Hyperallergic contributor Melissa Stern spotted the workers using a lift at the site around 10:20am.
“There were four workers outside the building and I think two inside — they had to dismantle the clock motor and mechanism from the interior, which was very difficult,” Stern told Hyperallergic. “A foreman told me that the owner had decided to send the clock to auction before the building comes down in demolition. He didn’t know any other details, he would not say who owned the property.”
Stern says the crowd at the scene shifted during the time she stood watching the workers. “At its height, I would say there about 50 people just standing on the corner. In the course of the 50 minutes that I was there, several hundred passed through the intersection. There was a general air of disgust that the owner was auctioning off the clock,” she said, adding that the workers were very freely and candidly telling everyone what was going on. “One ‘protester’ was [standing on a nearby traffic island and] playing the trumpet and reciting ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ with altered lyrics. He declined to give me his name. [There was also] another fairly unhinged woman screaming about gentrification and how it’s destroying NYC. It was a very lively scene, to say the least.”
The building was already slated to be demolished, and when it finally comes down a 45-unit condo designed by ODA Architecture for owners Gemini Rosemont will replace the single-story former bank and post office building.