They are all over the city. There are so many tree guards, their omnipresence goes unnoticed. But once you take note of them, you'll observe how they all differ. Sometimes they can vary even within the same block. This is because they are privately owned, they don't belong to the city. Typically, the owners of adjacent property are the ones responsible for making sure that something is constructed so that the trees are protected. Wood. Iron. Cylinder. Square. In some shape or form, a construct needs to uphold the trees from all the passersby.
I know this information from speaking to the forestry group of NYC. I sought this information because someone saw these tree guards as potential art. The wrought-iron could be bent beautifully, the wood could be carved intricately or the shapes could be formed uniquely, he thought. I thought it would have made a special birthday gift to give someone a piece of New York City sidewalk. But I knew that if I gifted that, I would be walking by that tree up and down Elizabeth Street where the tea cafe once was.
Putting my guard down to put another up. Hard to do. Unspeakably hard. There have been many passersby and when you finally meet someone you want to stand still with the guard is up. But what does it protect?