Monday, August 17, 2009

In praise of the Tree Pit

A rhapsody on tree pits -- the urban answer to the lawn. (But aren't the stoop, the park, and the hell strip also the urban lawn? you rightly ask -- yes, yes, all in good time.)

Of course, I love street trees, but I'm not talking about the tree right now. Today I'm celebrating the pit itself.

The way they can be meticulously landscaped, totally covered, whimsically fenced or simply a 36" x 36" square of dust cut out of the sidewalk. Surrounded by stones, littered with trash, planted with flowers. They're almost as varied and individual as the citizens and workers and citizen workers who maintain them.

Although perhaps most of all, I love the pure ugliness of the name. Tree Pit. There's no beauty or romance in that name, just macho city grime. Maybe we need to hide our green behind the language of urban blight so we don't lose our edge.

Tree pit. Tree pit. Tree pit.