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NYC Trees - and Politics

  • Subject: [cg] NYC Trees - and Politics
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 16:19:03 -0500

 OK, kids, we have to pass a NYC Council Ordinance requiring all developers, Utility Providers, anyone who digs up the streets, to have a CITY MANDATED horticulturalist/arborist scope out their trees and set out a plan of work that will preserve them. 
I'll reach out to Chris Quinn, the City Council Chair, who's my councilperson - are the rest of you ready to go to work on this INTRO?
Adam Honigman 
-----Original Message-----
From: dlogg60798@aol.com
To: Adam36055@aol.com; community_garden@mallorn.com; cybergardens@treebranch.com; cyberpark.@treebranch.com; urban.parks@topica.com
Cc: Corktree03@aol.com
Sent: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 15:08:47 -0500
Subject: [cg] Re: (Urban.Parks) The Final Word on those Brooklyn Trees

Not the final word, I hope we hear that the trees are replaced and that some 
action is taken to insure this does not happen again. Someone issued a permit 
for the work. Maybe a Parks Horticulturalist or Landscape Architect should be 
required to be onsite.   As Mr. Glaeser knows, this is not the first time this 
type of thing happened.

Vol. 13, No. 11June 15 - 28, 2000


THE STATE OF OUR PARKS -- Sixth in a Series

Decade After Tree Massacre Parkway Back on Track


It's been 10 years since a city contractor notoriously cut down over 30 maple 
trees on Mosholu Parkway in the midst of a lengthy sewer and water main project. 
The incident, which came to be known as the Mosholu Parkway Tree Massacre, 
sparked a loud and angry community outcry and ultimately changed how the city 
undertakes such projects. 
Today, Mosholu Parkway, which runs from Van Cortlandt Park to the New York 
Botanical Garden, shows little trace of the decade-old destruction. The parkway, 
lined by wide, tree-filled lawns and a newly paved bike path, is a popular 
recreation area with improvements fueled by community volunteer efforts and 
implemented by the Parks Department. 
Tree Massacre Spurs Action
It was 1988 when Perez Interboro Asphalt, Inc. began a project to install a new 
sewer and water main system in Norwood. "That project was a disaster from day 
one," said Myra Goggins, who lived in Norwood at the time, and is now president 
of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.
Goggins recalled that the contractor dug a six-foot hole in front of her 
building on East Mosholu Parkway North and left it there for the whole summer. 
"There was so much dust and dirt, you couldn't even open your window," she said.
The dirt was such a huge problem that traffic could hardly move on Bainbridge 
Avenue when it rained, said homeowner Bill Friedheim. The huge holes dug in the 
streets were also unguarded, posing potential danger to children, residents 
But the last straw came one day in November of 1989 when construction workers 
cut down the trees from Webster Avenue to 206th Street. "They were bringing in 
these chainsaws," Friedheim said. "My wife and I ran out and told them they have 
to stop."
When Goggins came home from work that day, her phone was flooded with calls from 
neighbors. "They were sawing them at the base and putting them in the chopper," 
she said. "Then they were ground into wood chips." 
For residents, the trees were a trademark of Norwood's beauty, and also had 
historical value, having been planted 70 years ago in memory of soldiers who 
died in World War I. 
Mobilizing quickly, residents and members of the Mosholu Woodlawn South 
Community Coalition called the Bronx borough president and urged him to get the 
Parks Department to halt the work. The company stopped work at about 4:45 p.m., 
but that was after the 33 trees were killed.
Residents were outraged, especially since they had already complained that trees 
were being damaged by the work. "Even we could see things weren't installed 
properly. [Using big machinery], they were banging into trees and damaging the 
roots and branches," Goggins said.
City Admits Fault, Changes Policy
The incident erupted into a scandal covered in the citywide media, as details 
emerged that the city was grossly negligent in its planning and that the 
construction company had a checkered past.
"They [Perez Interboro Asphalt, Inc.] had a record of poor delivery on contracts 
and just a history of problems," Friedheim said. "They did incredibly sloppy 
work ... constantly cutting into gas lines, all as a result of careless work."
Both the Parks Department and the Department of Transportation (DOT) admitted 
they made big mistakes. The Parks Department had given the contractor the 
go-ahead to remove the trees after the company had improperly installed new 
sidewalks, which were too low to support the trees' roots. 
A DOT memorandum investigating the incident stated bluntly, "Our consultants ... 
were sloppy, irresponsible and thoughtless. Our own employees provided little or 
no direction and seemed disinterested and ill-equipped. Our management spent too 
little time on this job and displayed insensitivity toward the community." 
The DOT also revealed that the resident engineer falsified on his resume that he 
was a registered professional engineer.
The city altered its policy so that tree consultants would be required for all 
major construction projects. 
"It's an historical event because general contractors have all heard of the 
Mosholu massacre," said Carsten Glaeser, a plant biologist at Lehman College and 
a tree expert. Glaeser is hired by construction companies to "ensure damage to 
trees is minimized" and works as a liaison to the forestry division of the Parks 
According to Glaeser, contractors need to have a tree consultant full-time 
during excavation work, either on site or on call, to assess the project, so 
that root damage, limb breakage and bark wounds can be prevented. 
"By reducing damage by construction, you increase longevity of trees," Glaeser 
said. Tree damage invites decay, fungus and parasites, and can cause a tree to 
rot within five to seven years, he explained. 
Following the tree fiasco, the city did a new landscaping of the parkway, 
planting bushes and replacement trees. The trees are still much skinnier and 
sparser than the older ones, but residents say the area is generally in good 
Taking on Mosholu Maintenance 
The parkway is used for a variety of recreational activities including jogging, 
picnicking, tanning and sledding. The recently renovated Kossuth Playground and 
the relatively new Knox- Gates Playground, both on the parkway's north side are 
popular destinations for neighborhood youth. 
The Bedford Mosholu Community Association (BMCA), a volunteer community group, 
and the Friends of Mosholu Parkway, a group affiliated with the coalition that 
has been inactive recently, have worked over the past 10 years to help maintain 
the area, holding cleanups and plantings, and pushing for improvements.
Back in 1997, when crumbling sidewalks on the Bedford Park side resulted in 
senior citizens falling, BMCA gathered 300 petition signatures and sent them to 
the Bronx Parks Commissioner Bill Castro and elected officials. With money 
allotted by Councilwoman June Eisland, Castro fixed problem sections of the 
sidewalk and replanted trees in Gully Park, located in the southeastern corner 
of the parkway between Marion and Webster avenues. 
The Parks Department also recently paved over a stone path on the north side of 
the parkway to make it suitable for bicycling, forging a fluid connection along 
the Mosholu-Pelham Greenway, a network of paths connecting Van Cortlandt Park in 
the west to City Island and Orchard Beach in the east,. The newly-paved section 
goes from Gun Hill Road to Van Cortlandt Avenue East. Previously, bikers would 
go onto the roadway of the parkway when they approached that part of the trail, 
according to Richard Gans, a member of Transportation Alternatives, a cyclist 
advocacy group.
Gully Park improvements are now in BMCA's sights. According to BMCA president 
Barbara Stronzcer, the retaining wall in Gully Park is deteriorating and its 
many holes are attracting rodents to the park. She added that the park could 
also use a general cleanup and planting.
Castro said the area is baited regularly for rodents, and that the Parks 
Department is developing a punch list for Gully Park improvements. 
Stronczer had no major complaints for the rest of the parkway area, but said she 
would like to see more daily maintenance. "It's a big area and there is not 
enough staff," she said.
Overall, the consensus seems to be that Mosholu Parkway is in better shape than 
it has been in years, especially since the days of the Tree Massacre.
"The parkway looks even better now than before," Goggins said. 

Get Involved 

To contact the Bedford Mosholu Community Association, write to 400 E. Mosholu 
Parkway, Bronx, NY 10458. 
To contact the Mosholu Woodlawn South Community Coalition, which 
-----Original Message-----
From: Adam Honigman <Adam36055@aol.com>
To: community_garden@mallorn.com.; cybergardens@treebranch.com; 
cyberpark.@treebranch.com; urban.parks@topica.com
Cc: Corktree03@aol.com
Sent: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 14:41:44 -0500
Subject: (Urban.Parks) The Final Word on those Brooklyn Trees

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 From the horse's mouth
Best wishes, 
Adam Honigman 
-----Original Message-----
From: To: Adam36055
Sent: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 2:21:05 PM Eastern Standard Time
Subject: Arboricide in BK

Greetings Adam-
I was forwarded an email with your name and am replying. 
I am a consulting arborist and have worked on NYC infrastructure projects 
involving NYC street trees for the past 10 years.  So there are no 
misunderstandings, it is in all cases a contractors neglect and his intent on 
maximizing time and profits that result in damage to our trees.  York 
Restoration with their staff of professionals neglected to secure the services 
of a professional consulting arborist with experience in Construction & Trees 
prior to and during the excavation work.  Had the contractor paid a certified 
arborist to carefully monitor the guide the excavation work to minimize root 
damage, we wouldn't have this issue, the trees would have been saved and the mud 
slinging at the Department of Parks would not be occurring. 
The Department of Parks Brooklyn Forestry team are as serious about our street  
trees and critical of arrogant contractors as I am.  Forestry is not to blame.
Carsten Glaeser Ph.D
Certified Arborist
Glaeser Horticultural Consulting Inc
Flushing, NY 
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