Treechery: Crook steals arbor sweaters

The Brooklyn Paper
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Don’t call him a cold criminal.

A thief made off with four “tree sweaters” knit by a Park Slope artist who had fashioned the outfits for arbors to “make the dullest, coldest months feel warmer.”

The sweater-snatching rascal swiped the handmade garments from a strip of leafless trees on 16th Street, leaving them embarrassingly naked and prompting an all-out yarnhunt.

“We have searched the immediate neighborhood in case they were dumped somewhere,” said Laurie Russell, who spent months conceiving and crafting the street art. “We have put up signs.”

The crook removed the colorful, cylindrical garments — which resemble sweaters for giant wiener dogs — around 3 pm on Sunday between Sixth and Seventh avenues, Russell said.

Russell, a 58-year-old painter, first hung the grandma-goes-graffiti art four years ago, adding new pieces in orange, blue and pink each winter since. She hoped it would urge passers-by to “rethink their environment.”

“It’s a gesture of compassion for the tree even though I know it doesn’t actually do anything,” she told The Brooklyn Paper in January.

A police spokesman for the 78th precinct said he had no information about the disappearing arbor outfits and two city agencies — the Parks Department and the Department of Sanitation — said the city isn’t responsible for stripping down the newly nude trees.

Russell is now turning to neighbors for help.

“If you hear of anything,” she said. “Please let me know.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Dave from Park Slope says:
It's a depressing reminder of the mean spirited people out there. I hope they turn up somewhere.
Feb. 6, 2012, 3:28 pm
Patti A says:
Tree stewards are authorized to take those things off and toss them. If those get wet and remain on the tree, that area is susceptible to infection/damage. Also, the please do not hang signs with tacks/nails/staples on the trees, as someone has done to the tree on 16th, particularly young ones.
Feb. 6, 2012, 3:37 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Trees don't need sweaters. Maybe they cast them off themselves in this mild winter, just like the trees shed their leaves in the fall.

Or maybe the attention starved "artist" took them, because nobody was paying attention.
Feb. 6, 2012, 3:39 pm
Dock Oscar from Puke Slop says:
Wow, there are some meanies out there.

My son and I would pass by them every Sunday on the way to get bagels at Terrace Bagels. Visually, they were fun and cool in a knit kind of way.

If they are bad for trees, then a note would be nice first.

If the artist was really attention-starved, I think she could go the Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton and make a video, not knit tree sweaters.

Feb. 6, 2012, 5:17 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Art my ass. One of these trees is making oxygen for this waste of flesh. He should find that particular tree and thank it
Feb. 7, 2012, 8:16 am
Jackie from Park Slope says:
SwampYank & Or

You're pathetic attention starved trolls and your "Artist hipsters and Yuppies are ruining Brooklyn" bit is old and tiresome.
Why don't you just pack up and a move across the river to be with your own kind in Jersey?
Get over it and move on please.
Feb. 7, 2012, 9:39 am
Clyde from Carroll Gardens says:

It's precisely the sort of twee nonsense of knitting sweaters for trees and your ludicrous defense of same that is behing The New Yorker's declaring that Park Slope is dead. Also, not for nothing, but if I move across the river, I end up in Manhattan, not Jersey; or perhaps Queens.
Feb. 7, 2012, 10:27 am
Jackie from Park Slope says:
Jersey is on the other side of the Hudson you twit.
Feb. 7, 2012, 1:44 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:

I tend to agree with Jackie sans the name calling. If you aren’t happy with Brooklyn, then why not move somewhere else?
Feb. 7, 2012, 2:31 pm
Dock Oscar from Puke Slop says:
I don't like the expensive, twee, Park Slope as much as anyone but c'mon...this is an article about sweaters on trees. Lighten up. Geez.
Feb. 9, 2012, 3:30 pm
sslope from south slope says:
I've lived in this neighborhood for years, and the influx of so-called yuppies and creative types is a good thing IMO. At least the newcomers know how to use garbage cans and don't spit on the sidewalk every other step. The sweater lady is awesome, and I much prefer her creations to the droppings left by the troupe of drug dealing porch monkeys hanging around 355 16th St who used to dominate that block until recently. It's a pleasure watching that part of the 'community' slowly but surely get shipped off to Staten Island, along with the rest of NYC's trash.
Feb. 10, 2012, 2:19 pm
prillis says:
sslope, do us a favor and deport yourself alongside the 'porch monkeys.'
Feb. 10, 2012, 3:24 pm

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