EAST VILLAGE — A mosaic-decorated traffic-light pole that commemorates the firefighters who died on 9/11 has been temporarily removed from Astor Place because of construction.
The city's Department of Transportation recently took down part of the pole — one of dozens in the area adorned by Jim "Mosaic Man" Power — and will reinstall it after utility work in the area is complete, a DOT spokeswoman said.
The pole, just south of the 6 train subway entrance on the Astor Place pedestrian island, was emblazoned with the letters "FDNY" as well as a listing of nearby firehouses, including Engine Company 28 and Ladder Company 11 on East Second Street. The words were surrounded by a sea of broken tiles.
"I did it right after 9/11," Power, 65, said of the artwork. "It was a tribute to them [the firefighters] for every day when they drove past. They work hard every day."
The Vietnam War veteran and East Village resident has been plastering dozens of light poles, bus stops and even stoops in the neighborhood with his vibrant tiled artworks for more than 25 years.
The 9/11 traffic light pole is part of Power's goal of creating a grand "Mosaic Trail" of 80 tiled murals in the East Village.
He said he last saw his decorative FDNY pole intact last week, but a few days later, on Saturday, he posted on his blog Mosaic Man NYC that the top 4 feet of the pole had disappeared. The base of the pole, which Power also decorated, had been detached and now sits next to the pole on the sidewalk. The disappearance of the tiled 9/11 memorial was first reported by Bowery Boogie.
DOT spokeswoman Nicole Garcia declined to say when Power's decorated pole would be replaced and whether any others would have to be removed as well.
"The 9/11 pole was temporarily removed from its site and will be re-installed after utility work is completed," Garcia wrote in an email.
It was not immediately clear whether the pole's removal was part of the larger Astor Place redesign.
Power previously raised concerns that a redesign of Astor Place, proposed in 2011 to open up more space for pedestrians, would displace or even destroy his artwork.