Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Post-tornado tree care leaves much to be desired

This letter was sent to the Times Newsweekly:

Dear Maureen:

On September 16, 2010 the huge tree in front of my house cracked vertically and fell down. Miraculously, my house was not damaged nor was the car under it, because the tree was somewhat supported by the wires for the street lamps. The tree covered 50 to 70 feet of the sidewalk and completely blocked access to my garage.

When it seemed that no emergency City service was going to at least cut the tree up and give me access to my garage, I hired a private tree service to have it removed at a cost of over $3,000. I don’t blame the City, they had a lot of work to do, but the fact remains that they only came to clean up the rest of Woodbine Street eleven days after the storm. I decided to pay because we needed the garage, especially since there were few if any parking spots left on Woodbine because of damaged trees up the block.

But imagine our surprise when today, October 2, 2010, the Lewis Tree Service arrived and proceeded to cut down a perfectly healthy small tree that had a few dead branches caused by the larger tree falling onto it. What’s more, when my sister went out to question the tree service, one of the workers was urinating on the truck and continued to do so while he talked to my sister!

The Parks Department supervisor accompanying the tree service said that there was a work order to remove my little tree, but it would have recovered from the shock of being hit by the large tree and at least left us some greenery.

Then the tree service proceeded to cut down the large tree across the street that has needed pruning and attention for many years. They cut down the tree in chunks, letting large branches crash to the newly installed sidewalk. The tree service I hired roped every large branch and swung it gently down. Lewis went up in a cherry picker and just slashed away, letting branches fall willy-nilly.

The irony of the whole situation is that if the City had paid attention to the poor condition of the large trees on the block when I first reported them 20 years ago, a lot of damage and expense would have been avoided. Apparently it makes more sense to do emergency work after a disaster rather than to do regular maintenance, thus likely avoiding having such a large disaster to begin with.

And, yes, there was a nice sign on the truck with the Mayor and Parks Commissioner’s names. I’d like to know what that cost.

As always, the City is a day late and a dollar short.


Peggy O’Kane


Anonymous said...

And Bloomberg goes on Letterman and lies about the state of NYC so why do people not hold him accountable and bring suits or real major attention at least to this mess that should be cleaned up with the trees after the storm weeks ago?
People in those neighborhoods need to post videos online and contact more papers documenting how he has ignored it and bring his name up concerning it.

Ms. Havisham said...

BLOOMBERG IS NOT DOING HIS JOB AS A MAYOR....HE NEGLECTED TO COME TO BAYSIDE WHICH HAD SO MUCH DAMAGE ALSO. QUEENS LOST OVER 3,000 TREES BUT BLOOMBERG IS BUSY PIMPING OUT THE CITY TO DEVELOPERS. THESE CONTRACTORS WERE FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. The city hired them; I spoke to one on a team that was cleaning up my block. That crew did a decent job and then moved on. But the question remains: WHERE THE FUCK WAS BLOOMBERG? NOT ONE CITY OFFICIAL SHOWED UP TO SURVEY THE DAMAGE FROM THE TORNADO. HE EVEN DECLARED BUSINESS AS USUAL. That's why it took me 45 minutes to take a trip that usually takes 10 minutes the next day. That's also why I didn't have power for 36 hours.