Falling for a work of art: Plants knocked down in hurricane used for tree house

for The Brooklyn Paper
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If a tree falls in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, give it to an artist.

Sculptor Roderick Romero has built a large tree house — which looks like a giant wooden dais — from some of the rarest materials a builder could ask for: exotic tress from the Brooklyn Botanic that hurricanes Sandy and Irene felled.

“Since [the garden] is basically a museum of plants and trees, I got to work with ‘museum pieces,’ ” said Romero. “I would never have had access to these kinds of wood, ever.”

The end product is called “Sandy Remix.” It is the artist’s first work intended for the public’s enjoyment and it is a display of fierce imagination. The twisted boughs and different hued walls are wild and beautiful. It isn’t a house suspended in a tree, but Romero likens it to a giant bird’s nest that has fallen from its perch after a hurricane hits.

“It goes flying through the air like in the Wizard of Oz before crashing in the grass. I think that’s kind of what it looks like,” said Romero of his installation.

That being said, his unorthodox tree houses have captured the attention of clients such as Sting, Donna Karan, and Julienne Moore. Romero’s projects span across America and myriad countries overseas including Morocco, Italy, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

Although Romero built his very first ‘adult tree house’ in 1997, he and his two older brothers picked up the craft in their childhood days.

“We would scale the trees carrying plywood, and nail two by fours to make little walls and windows, which was actually a really bad way to do it,” said Romero. “Then we’d read comic books and hide away from our parents.”

“Tree House Installation: Sandy Remix” at Brooklyn Botanic Garden [150 Eastern Pkwy., 990 Washington Ave., or 455 Flatbush Ave. entrances in Prospect Park, (718) 623–7200,]. Open Tues.–Fri., 8 am–6 pm, Sat.–Sun., 10 am–6 pm.

Updated 10:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
Saw this a few weeks a go at the BBG. It was actually scaring children. Some of them were scared to go near it. It's ugly and looks like a collection of wood that will soon be set ablaze to burn witches. Only a hipster would think this is ART ART ART ART ART ART ART ART. Adult tree houses indeed. This guy is a fraud. Emperors new cloths. See for yourself if you must. BBG is always a nice place to visit, but don't go there to see this. Far and away the ugliest thing in the whole place. BBG should use this pile of wood to make a BBQ
May 7, 2013, 3:55 am
ty from pps says:
Swampy - Can you really be this utterly miserable of a person?
May 7, 2013, 8:37 am
SwampYankee from runined Brooklyn says:
Ty, were you always such a "Mr Busy Body" as a child or is this new behavior? If you would take the time to go see the thing like I did (with a group of 100 photographers, many of whom are pros, all hated it and pronounced it junk) you would realize just how ugly this mess is. I am not kidding. Young children cry when their parents bring them near this thing. It is ugly and scary and has noplace near impressionable children. kind of like you.
May 7, 2013, 8:58 am
ty from pps says:
Swampy -- I was really pointing at how much of a whiny douchebag you are, not so much the success or failure of this piece. (I have seen it and I didn't like it either... if you must know.)

How is the success or failure of a piece of art all of a sudden fuel for your juvenile hipster whining.

"Only a hipster would think this is ART ART ART ART ART ART ART ART. Adult tree houses indeed. This guy is a fraud." -- You honestly think that is a constructive or even relevant comment? Sounds more like a nutjob who, for some reason, thinks "hipster" whenever he doesn't like something. BQE was backed up, damn hipsters! My eggs were overcooked, damn hipsters! My dog ran away, damn hipsters!
May 7, 2013, 10:05 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
now that you mention it the BQE was backed up Sunday. Now I'm not saying that all cyclists are hipsters but there is definitely some cross-over. So technically your point has some validity. Hipsters did contribute to a back up of the BQE on Sunday. Thanks for pointing that out!
May 7, 2013, 10:27 am
ty from pps says:
By the way, some of this guy's work is actually quite wonderful and not "scary."

"This guy is a fraud." seems to be only true in your little dumb head and based on ONE piece of art. He failed this time. Hardly a reason to dismiss someone and a lifetime of work. Not everything Rembrandt was commissioned to do is spectacular either...
May 7, 2013, 10:31 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
so "Adult Tree-houses" are not hipster whimsy? OK, Like Yah!
May 7, 2013, 10:34 am
ty from pps says:
You are a sad, pathetic man...
May 7, 2013, 10:37 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
That "treehouse" looks like a pile of ——, just sayin'
May 7, 2013, 4:57 pm
MRatchik from Fort Greene says:
Please come to Ft. Greene Park, we have a ton of down trees!
May 8, 2013, 2:39 pm
Samantha from Carroll Gardens says:
Everyone is missing the point of the project. Mr. Romero built a symbolic structure out of what was torn down. The abstract and windswept look was inspired by the very force of nature that brought him there in the first place. His creativity is unbridled.

I personally saw children enjoying the tree house during my visit. A little girl was begging her mother to join her at the top because it was "the highest, amazingest thing ever."
May 21, 2013, 12:04 am

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