A Gowanus chef who brags about his restaurant's eco-friendly sourcing has been arrested for attempting to poison his neighbor's seven-story maple tree, in an apparent attempt to direct more sunlight toward his solar panels.
The Daily News reports that Adam Harvey, who owns Bar Salumi and appeared on the 12th season of Top Chef, stands accused of drilling holes into the tree's trunk last month and stuffing it with herbicide. The beloved maple, owned by a retired school teacher in Windsor Terrace, is now on the verge of death, according to an arborist who spoke to the tabloid. Prosecutors have charged Harvey with criminal mischief and criminal trespass, and told him to stay away from the ailing tree.
"The tree has a right to be and has a right to survive," the tree's owner told the News. “Why would you have solar panels and try to take down a tree? That to me is the linchpin of everything. It says a lot."
The allegedly arborcidal Brooklynite has previously highlighted his own restaurants' commitment to responsible sourcing. Bar Salumi currently promises “farmer’s market ingredients,” and a previous version of the space, called A&E Supply Co., boasted of a "farm to party" ethos, according to Eater. It's also not his first time pissing off neighbors; when A&E Supply Co. first came to Gowanus, they were accused of "vandalizing" the neighborhood, after mounting a guerrilla marketing campaign that involved using a chalk-based paint to tag their logo on nearby sidewalks.
The Seeley Street residents, where the tree has lived for decades, already despise Harvey too, even though he's not even moved in yet. He reportedly purchased the home for $1.5 million last summer, but has been waiting to move in until renovations are complete. Neighbors say that he's now tried to kill the tree on multiple occasions. According to the maple's owner, "The neighborhood is in mourning because of that tree suffering."
We've reached out to Harvey, and were told that he has no comment at this time. We'll update if that changes.