Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homewood's Change of Scenery

Anyone who lives in Birmingham can agree with me here:  the weather has been STELLAR!  To celebrate yet another sunny, perfect–temperature day, I called up a friend to meet me for an early dinner at my favorite local Mexican place: Pinches Tacos. 

If you haven’t been to Pinches Tacos in Homewood, quite frankly, you’re out of the loop.   If you like easy, casual dining and consistent, fresh fare (not to mention great vegetarian choices), then you like Pinches. The atmosphere manages to walk that nearly-impossible line of being simultaneously kid-friendly yet cool.  There is even a mural inside the building by the “You are Beautiful” artists.  Oh, and did I mention the outdoor seating?  There’s a nifty little patio made for this amazing fall weather.  And it's super-easy on the wallet.  I like Pinches so much, I go just about once a week.  This is not at all in character, but I do it.  I highly recommend the ”regular” veggie burrito.  It never fails.  I’m addicted.  I get it every time.  Again, not in character.

Therefore, you can imagine how strange a feeling it was to be driving down Oxmoor Road yesterday and then almost miss the turn!  How many times have I taken that turn?  I’m serious.  I had to do a triple take!  My brain shot off neurons that shouted something along the lines of:  “Is this it?  Wait?  No.  There’s Pinches.  That’s it.  That’s the patio.  But what?  Where are the…?  WHAT?  Wait a minute…”

What my brain was looking for without realizing it was a dense row – a canopy, if you will – of large, gorgeous shade trees that lined 19th Street S at the corner of Oxmoor. 

You know the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”  Well, these trees, across the street from Pinches, were G-O-N-E.  Yesterday was Tuesday.  I had just been there on Friday night!  I KNOW they were there.  Right?  Was I imagining this?  I mean, unless I’m crazy, those trees were big! 

What stands there now is a long green temporary fence.  Behind that fence is an impressively large construction site.  

Here’s a picture:

I discovered that seven large trees were taken from the site on Monday.   Seven!!!   To get an idea of this, imagine if your back yard had seven trees that had been growing there since, oh, 1960.  That’s over 50 years ago.  And then you woke up one morning, and they were gone.  The only difference here is that the trees pretty much lined the street.  One would think this made them city property.  But…I guess not.  Arlington Properties, who is building an apartment complex at the site, owns the land, and therefore owned the trees.  Therefore, it was their right to cut them down -- affecting all of Homewood with it. 

Supposedly, the trees were removed because the roots were quite large.  I understand this.  Roots on large trees can cause problems.  This is why it is so important for the “right tree” to be planted in the “right place” in a city environment.  Yet I still find this cause to be “curious.”  I intend to research the reason for these trees’ removals.  After all, when you remove a gorgeous tree that has been living for at least forty years, you are taking away forty years of beauty, shade, and oxygen, as well as homes for birds and other fair creatures.  Multiply this times seven, and it’s impact is hardly recoverable, at least not in an adult's lifetime.  In the least, the citizens of Birmingham need a thorough explanation of why these trees were killed, and what Arlington Properties is going to do to make it up to us.  

NEWFLASH: After writing this piece, I decided to glance on Google Maps to see what the canopy looked like before the bulldozers came in.  I hope you are as shocked as I am.  I'm wondering if I am way off with the "seven" count.  What do you think?

Pinches is the round-like protrusion on the white-ish building on the right.  The trees lining the street were the ones cut down on Monday.  THINK:  anywhere you see green on this photo would appear as red dirt (aka construction site) by a helicopter-cam today.  

Now check this out -- I panned out to see a bigger view of SoHo.  Wow.  Seems like this no-green is a trend in the business district.  Not good. 
That expanse of trees in the lower right hand corner is now GONE.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn that sucks, when people short citedly see profit over charicter of a place it's always a bad thing.