A Gowanus chef whose restaurant celebrates responsible sourcing faces criminal charges for allegedly trying to kill his neighbor’s 60-year-old maple tree in an attempt to get more rays for his solar panels.
When Adam Harvey realized his neighbor’s massive tree was blocking the solar panels he had installed on his $1.5 million row house, he allegedly took it upon himself to commit tree murder, the Daily News reports. Windsor Terrace neighbors witnessed him drilling a bunch of holes into the trunk of the massive tree and fill it with herbicide. They called the cops, and Harvey was later arrested.
Harvey is the owner of Bar Salumi in Gowanus, and he appeared in the 12th season of Top Chef before leaving about halfway through the competition. The Union Square Cafe alum’s restaurant touts “farmer’s market ingredients,” and a previous iteration of the restaurant boasted a “farm to party” ethos.
Despite the purported dedication to farms, the chef has allegedly been after his neighbor’s tree ever since he barged onto Seeley Street in Windsor Terrace following the purchase of his home last summer. Shortly after moving, he reached out to the tree’s owner, a retired city teacher who has lived in her home since 1992, and said it was dead, offering her to help cut it down, the Daily News report says.
But the owner of the tree, who claims the seven-story maple was a major reason she bought her home in the first place, responded saying that the tree was alive and that an arborist had confirmed its living status.
According to the owner and neighbors, Harvey ignored her and showed up at the maple’s property with a crew of arborists and sawed off limbs from the tree — an effort to make his solar panels more effective,. The owner sent a cease and desist. After caught literally poisoning the tree on April 30th, Harvey was arraigned on May 15th, charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespass.
Since Harvey’s home is being renovated, he and his wife don’t even live on the street yet. Still, they’ve apparently already ignited a war with neighbors: “He has outraged everyone in a half-mile radius,” one neighbor told the Daily News. “It’s really hard for me to follow what he’s thinking,” another neighbor said. “It’s arrogance and a wrong sense of entitlement to come here and destroy his neighbor’s property.”
This isn’t the first time Harvey has pissed off a neighborhood. When he first launched his restaurant in Gowanus in January 2017, it was called A&E Supply Co., and in the fall of 2017, the restaurant launched a guerrilla marketing campaign after a series of setbacks. The campaign involved tagging sidewalks and subway station entrances in Park Slope and Gowanus with the restaurant’s logo using temporary paint that’s supposed to come off in 30 to 40 days.
According to Bklynr, one neighbor called the restaurant out on Instagram, writing “what genius on your marketing team thought that vandalizing the neighborhood was a good advertising idea? Some of us actually live here and care about the neighborhood.” Earlier this year, Harvey flipped the restaurant into Bar Salumi.
This new development seemingly goes against his restaurants’ mission to be local and to pay attention to sourcing. He and business partner Ennio Di Nino billed A&E Supply Co., located in a luxury building in a rapidly developing neighborhood, as “farm to party,” using ingredients from New York farms for the menu. Bar Salumi has a similar outlook.
Harvey is set to return to court to face his two misdemeanor charges on Friday. The fate of the tree remains uncertain: Half of its leaves have wilted, and an arborist told the owner she’ll have to wait and see if it will survive.