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NYC’s Astor Place cube now buckled down as city mulls repair

Spun right into the ground.

A beloved black spinning cube at Astor Place is in such sad shape that it’s now saddled in a metal brace while city moguls mull repair of the massive art installation — and neighbors rail at the blatant neglect of a nearly half-century old treasure.

Cynthia Rosenthal, the wife of Tony Rosenthal, who designed the “Alamo” cube, is incensed at the inaction, telling The Post.: “I think it’s a crime.”

“It should not be in this state of disrepair at this point,” she said.

First installed as a temporary exhibit in 1967, the “Alamo” cube has been a fixture in the East Village, where New Yorkers and visitors from around the world could spin the 15-foot-high, black cube as they moved about the city.

“It looks like it was hit by a truck,” one passerby muttered while walking through the traffic island near the buckled-down installation.

But others explain its pathetic plight wasn’t so simple.

Astor Place cube.
The art installation is in a state of disrepair as the city mulls restoration plans.
Kyle Schnitzer

In May, braces were placed around the structure to keep the cube from spinning, local outlet The Village Sun reported. The decision was made by the Department of Transportation, which oversees care for the “Alamo.”

And the cube has had previous repair work done in 2016.

Dave Petrie, the director of Tony Rosenthal’s estate, admits the cube has seen better days, explaining fatigue on the cube’s metal caused enough concern for the cradle to be placed around the structure.

“A truck didn’t back into it,” he said.

One 22-year-old East Village resident, a project manager who wanted only her first name revealed, recalled times seeing children spin the cube as they walked past the interactive piece.

Astor Place cube.
In May, braces were placed around the structure to keep the cube from spinning.
Kyle Schnitzer

“It’s stupid!” Julie S. scoffed.

“Just get rid of it — it’s a piece of junk! It’s not even upright correctly. It doesn’t even look like art anymore.”

Not everyone agrees.

Former New Yorker Nigel Phillips, who was visiting from Arizona, popped by Astor Place to show his friends his old hangout spot before buying clothes on St. Marks.

“If we went east, we pushed it that way. When we’d leave, we’d push it the other way,” Phillips, a 30-year-old photographer raised in Jamaica, remembered of the “Alamo.” “It was our thing — every time we came here, this was the block that we had to hit; we always turned it.”

He said he was stunned to see the cube in its current condition, rust now visible where the cube stands.

Astor Place cube.
The Department of Transportation said the brace is only temporary.
Kyle Schnitzer

“It looks horrible — they messed up the piece,” he declared. “It’s a bummer because I wanted to have my friends push it and record them doing that. It kinda put a damper on the mood because it was the spot I always used to go to.”

The Department of Transportation said the brace is only temporary.

But for how long remains unknown.

“DOT is planning a repair to restore The Cube to its original, spinning condition. This brace is keeping the structure stable in the meantime,” DOT spokesperson Vincent Barone said. 

“We’d love to see it so people can spin it again,” he added. “That’s what Tony wanted — he wanted it to be enjoyed and not to be put in a cradle.”

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