Eight years ago, a preservation battle raged on Staten Island over an inconspicuous plant called Torrey’s mountain mint. It was known to grow in fewer than 20 locations on the planet, and one of them was a site on the island’s southwest edge where a developer planned to build a shopping center called Bricktown Centre at Charleston.
The plant itself was at the edge of the site and would survive the bulldozer, but its advocates argued that it would be isolated and therefore further imperiled by the construction.
The plant’s defenders lost the battle; Bricktown Centre now sprouts a Target and a Home Depot. But the little patch of Torrey’s mountain mint has survived, too.