Is This Legal? "Savvy Boutique" Breaks Out a Chainsaw <<<UPDATES>>>

NOB HILL--There is one less tree on Central Ave. this Monday morning.  Why?  Apparently because "Savvy Boutique at Nob Hill"  didn't like it and chopped it down on Sunday.  Savvy Boutique is about to open their store on the corner of Central and Wellesley NE, former site of "Objects of Desire."

The store windows are papered over announcing the store will be opening soon.  However late Sunday morning two workers were cutting down a tree in front of the store with a chainsaw.  The tree was growing in one of the "bulb-outs" that were added to the Central Ave streetscape by the city about ten years ago.  The trees, as well as ornamental grasses and flowers that grow in the bulb-outs, are regularly maintained.

Sunday Lumberjacks
That anybody would be cutting down a street tree on a Sunday morning is suspicious in itself.  In fact, it was my wife who came home after a walk with the news that someone was cutting down a city-owned tree.  And as we all know, those trees belong to ALL of us--the people of Albuquerque.  That a local business would chop one down was inconceivable to me.

However, MaryAnn had pictures.  One showed two men in front of the store.  One man was holding two branches in his arms.  The other, who appeared to be talking to him, had a red-handled chainsaw and was working on the stump.  The stump was all that was left of the tree.  Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.

The age of the tree was the same as the one kitty-corner across the street--in front of Gertrude Zachary.  It was of a good size.  By the way, the tree that was cut down was the only tree on the north side of Central Ave. in the whole block.

What Tree?
I had to go down the street and see this for myself.  Well there was no tree in front of Savvy and no sign of one either:  no chips, no stump, no nothing.  I went around to the back of the store.  There was nothing in the dumpsters, nor any other sign of a tree or its removal.  Was there no evidence?  Nothing but a memory?  Nothing to even provoke a question?

I went back to the front of the store and scuffed the dirt away with my foot.  There it was:  The Stump!  It had been cut off level with the ground.  it was about a foot in diameter.

The Stump
That's all that is left of ten years of watering.  A community made a decision to plant and support this tree.  For ten years it withstood heat, cold, drought, and pedestrian abuse.  However, it could not survive the chainsaw attack of this Sunday morning.

Savvy?  Hardly.
Why was it done?  I guess it was going to interfere with a sign for Savvy.  Who knows?  But I will tell you this:  a Sunday morning chop job on a publicly owned tree does not speak well for any business. 

***Update!!!  Neal Copperman reports that Savvy's Facebook account has the following message:  "We apologize to those offended by the cutting of the tree outside of Savvy. We were unaware that the tree was going to be cut down. We will gladly be replanting a new tree!"

***Update!!!  By 2:00AM that message had disappeared from their Facebook page, but a couple of humorous comments referring to it remain.

***Update!!!  Edith Grove reports a new message on the Savvy Facebook page:

I would have never guessed that cutting down a tree would affect so many people but now that I see it does, I would like to offer my sincere apology, I am truly sorry.
The intentions were to help the visibility of a new locally owned store. I am sure that doesn’t make sense to you and I’m pretty sure whatever I say, to help explain my actions, wouldn’t. So again, I apologize for not thinking in depth, before acting.
In leu of restitution and in an attempt to try and make peace, I would like to offer to plant a new tree where ever you would like me to.
I will be honest and state that any message that does not come through a private message will not be taken seriously and will be erased. I do realize that I made a mistake and I hope my offer is sufficient, and I can assure you that this will never happen again, on our behalf.
Savvy Boutique

There are a lot of unanswered how could they have not known.  Stay tuned.  Meanwhile, a big Congratulations and Thank You are in order for the DCF community.  What an outpouring of concern.  Every tree still standing on a public right-of-way thanks you!  As do the birds and bees, the shade seekers, and those who like a more human-friendly place to live and shop.  Gracias.

Views: 13352

Comment by Krista on January 21, 2013 at 10:30am

What the what?  I hope the city notes this post and looks into it; possibly with a follow up fine.  and a replacement tree.  In the summer, the shade of trees and buildings adds to the walkability (aka allure) of Nob Hill.

Comment by Phil_0 on January 21, 2013 at 10:40am

Wow - they cut down a city tree, in city landscaping? I agree, someone at the city needs to look into this and a fine (and probably paying for a replacement) is in order.

Comment by Krista on January 21, 2013 at 10:50am

I wonder what the value of the tree (simply monetary, nothing more) was in terms of water used, labor on the maintenance of the landscaping, etc.  That should be the fine and I think it would be a rather high number.

Comment by amecus j on January 21, 2013 at 11:05am


Comment by Johnny_Mango on January 21, 2013 at 11:12am

Anything you guys could do to give this story some legs would be appreciated...say linking to it on Facebook, Twitter, email lists, or sending it to friends or your elected officials.  Thanks.

Comment by hettie on January 21, 2013 at 11:17am

WTF, indeed. Glad MaryAnn got some pics and I hope the city follows up on this right away. Assuming Savvy is responsible (and they seem to be the only ones who might "benefit" from taking the tree down), it certainly doesn't make me want to check out their new business. You can be local and still be a jerk.

Comment by The Bindi Queen on January 21, 2013 at 11:22am

Shame on Savvy.  I hope the consequences are severe.  I will not be shopping with them.

Comment by Johnny_Mango on January 21, 2013 at 11:27am

MaryAnn said the workers went in and out of Savvy.  In the pictures you can see the door to their business is open.

Comment by Athena_Sword on January 21, 2013 at 11:28am

This is a travesty.  Trees, especially urban trees, are a treasure. May this business-- if indeed that's who's responsible--get what it deserves: no business.  If they make some trite gesture, like planting a sapling, in response to what I certainly hope is a lot of public outrage it won't be good enough.  An immature tree can never replace one that took that long to grow. Maybe somebody should call KOB tv and have Gadi Schwartz interview the owner and get the real story. 

Comment by the hand model on January 21, 2013 at 12:09pm

I just emailed Gadi Schwartz and he replied he would start "poking around."


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