Sycamore-FruitThis morning on my way to work I was stunned to see a cherry picker going down Q street with a tree-trimming and shoe-snipping dude in the gondola. They removed the shoes from the shoe trees! I wrote about it a few months back, with some very inspired reader-submitted ghetto haikus.
The Shoe Trees are actually two separate sycamore trees in the tree boxes in front of 444 and 446 Q Street, NW. Many readers have theorized that the shoes mean “open for business,” or that they are a memorial for someone who died. I just think they’re butt-ugly and tacky, whatever their purpose. Apologists are bound to scream and cry that a great injustice has occurred, but none of these apologists live on my block. As far as I’m concerned, the shoes basically symbolize that you can do whatever you want to anything you want on our stretch of the block. The act of removing the shoes by the District Department of Transportation says otherwise. It’s a nice assertion of law and civility on an otherwise wild and potentially dangerous part of the neighborhood, and I appreciate it.
The DCist article about the de-shoeing fails to mention that the work crew was also trimming the trees down the length of Q Street as well, doing a bit of urban arborculture. Trees need to be trimmed once in a while and you might as well remove the shoes while you’re doing it. Shoes, rope swings, chains and other objects wrapped around the bark, branch or trunk of a tree can kill it through a process called girdling. Over the life span of a tree planted in an urban area, thousands of dollars can be spent to maintain the tree and thus the appearance of a city block. Wrap a pair of shoes around a branch and killing it is detrimental to the maintenance of a city tree.
Next on the agenda: an anti-litter campaign. I will continue to hope at least.

One Comment

  1. cb says:

    Whoop, dere go my shoes.
    “The Man” takin’ back my zone
    Time for new Jordans