The Mysterious Stonehenge on West 22nd Street

I was walking north of 21st Street on Tenth Avenue when I noticed something odd…

Stonehenge - 01

…A pair of stones, each about three feet high and set into the concrete.

Stonehenge - 02

Strange, and none of the surrounding establishments (an auto repair place, a restaurant) seemed associated with them. I turned onto West 22nd Street and found that there were quite a few more…

Stonehenge - 03

Four at the beginning of the street…

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…and a lot more as I walked on.

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I started to realize that each boulder was paired with a tree…

Stonehenge - 07

But still no explanation. I’ve often come across enormous boulders lying on the sidewalk in industrial sections of Brooklyn, which I’m told are left behind as a memento of sorts by construction crews digging foundations…But I’ve never seen them set into the sidewalk. Maybe it’s all some sort of art installation?

Stonehenge - 08

Then it hit me: what if there’s some sort of occult group at work, and they’ve managed to install a Stonehenge-like monument in the middle of the city for use in some insidious ritual?? This primal graffiti could be evidence of that:

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As it turned out, there was an answer, if you knew to look on the window of this building on the left:

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Yep, it’s all just an art installation, inspired by artist Joseph Beuys as an extension of his “7000 Oaks” project. Over the course of five years beginning in 1982, Beuys planted 7,000 trees in the city of Kassel, Germany, each with an accompanying basalt stone column (intended to illustrate the opposing characteristics and yet harmonious co-existence of tree and rock, apparently). After his death, the concept was brought to West 22nd Street.

Stonehenge - 10

OK, so the occult theory goes out the window. Still, in the tradition of New York’s numerous “Little’s” (Little Italy, Little Korea, Little Germany, etc.), I propose West 22nd Street at Tenth Ave be referred to as Little Stonehenge.

Stonehenge - 09

-SCOUT

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11 comments

  1. Neat find! But now I’ve got that Spinal Tap song stuck in my head.

  2. LOVED this! great find! we need to get you a book deal…you know this would sell.

  3. Yes! I thought of Spinal Tap too “the little people of Little Stonehenge”!

  4. Cool! I’ve often wondered what these stones were about and figured they must have something to do with the art scene, but never found that sign. I was kinda hoping they were left over from some ancient Manhattan cave-dwelling settlement….

  5. My first thought was that they looked like protection for the trees from runaway cars!

  6. Nice basalt as well. If you find yourself without a knife, just knock a corner off one of the stones–basalt makes great stone tools.

  7. Very interesting.

  8. this is an amazing project by Joseph Beyus. Check it out:
    http://www.diaart.org/sites/main/7000oaks/

  9. corey williams

    i know the man who carved that picture into the rock, his name is kenichi hiratsuka, his website is kenrock.com

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