It all started when a resident noticed that a Long Island contractor, New York Tree & Shrub, was cutting much of the top off several trees on 80th Drive, between Kent and Chevy Chase Streets in Jamaica Estates.
Jamaica trees whacked
Posted notices indicated that the contractor had a permit to do the same to a total of 15 trees on the quiet residential block, which runs westerly from the foot of a small hill.
Suspicious because the work was being done on the holiday, and because none of the homeowners on the block knew who had hired the contractor, the informant contacted the office of City Councilmember James Gennaro, who chairs the Environmental Protection Committee, on Monday, January 21. Fortunately, staffers were there to take the call, and knew Gennaro was in Park City, Utah, attending the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, promoting a pro-sustainable fuel documentary, “Fields of Fuel” in which he appears.
He contacted top officials at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation on Tuesday morning, and by Wednesday, January 23, the saws were silenced.
According to a letter delivered to about 40 residents of the block from Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, the permits were “improperly issued.” Furthermore, “the six trees were not pruned according to [Parks Department] standards,” he said.
Benepe also indicated that the Forestry Division had completed a damage report, and was assessing the damage to the trees and “possible related fines.”
Incidentally, NY Tree and Shrub was responsible for the St. Saviour's massacre last July. Great to know that they are a company on the Parks Department's list of approved contractors.