Some of these bare-branched apparitions are still hanging on to life, but haven’t woken up to the season yet. Some are marked by the city for deletion using a green-painted “X” or small metal tags. Others are tagged “DEAD TREE” in white spray paint, probably the work of a rather literal-minded denizen.
Dead trees are the long-term blight left by the hurricane, a legacy that will continue to be felt in New York’s coastal communities for the foreseeable future.
In the immediate aftermath of Sandy, almost 11,000 street trees and 9,000 park trees were destroyed. That’s $28 million in day-of-storm tree damages.
In the years since Sandy, the work continues. In Brooklyn alone, 48,000 trees have been inspected, once in the summer of 2013, and again in the summer of 2014, resulting in the removal of more than 2,500 storm-impacted trees. The Parks department’s crews do their inspections during the summer, when trees would be at their peak leaf-out, to be sure of their vitality or lack thereof.
Monitoring the health of storm-impacted trees will be an ongoing responsibility for at least another two years, especially along New York City’s 520 miles of coastline.