Thursday, June 7, 2012

Updated: Tompkins Square Park loses another tree

Ugh. Workers started removing part of this beautiful Elm in the middle of the Park yesterday... (See below — a limb fell)

Several readers said that the workers are taking out the rest today (Dutch Elm Disease?) ... Per Jean-Paul: "It's almost all gone — huge gap in the canopy right in the middle of the Park now." EVG reader Patrick said that the "branches are visibly rotted and hollow."

We'll get to the Park as soon as we can...

By my probably inaccurate count, this is the eighth tree the Park has lost since Hurricane Irene last summer. (Including this one on Avenue B.)

Photos by Bobby Williams.


This photo is from yesterday via @guywasko who noted: "Huge limb from majestic American Elm just fell in Tompkins Square Park. No one hit or hurt. Crazy loud."

Updated: 3:54 ... Ugh... Bobby Williams just sent photos of the tree now...


Goggla said...

Oh no! How old are these elms?

Rachel said...

Wait WHaaaat???! Are they removing the whole tree or just some old branches? I'm confused!

EV Grieve said...


As of yesterday, I only thought that they were removing branches. I haven't walked by today.... But two readers said it looks as if they're taking down the rest...

Matt said...

Wait, is Dutch Elm, like, a boutique brand of West Elm or something? Has the chain store invasion finally breached Avenue A? Will we finally be able to feed the rats, run the kids AND shop for fine midrange home furnishings in Tompkins? Huzzah!

Anonymous said...

I've said it before, that whole park is diseased.

The tree in front of the main square (semi-circle of benches) that is currently being held up by cables, is next.
Just like the effects of deforestation, eventually this park will become a sweltering chunk of hot pavement as more trees give up the ghost. It's all the result of decades of neglect (and even outright abuse) of that park from when it was just a part of a ghetto.

Richard Bensam said...

I've seen other people suggest that the real problem is the Parks Department doesn't know how to take proper care of trees anymore, vis.:

I'm not qualified to have an opinion one way or the other...but a city agency losing the competent people in favor of ones who tell the commissioners what they want to hear? This is a thing that happens. Couldn't rule it out in this case.

Fipper said...

I feel embarrassed for the tree... it looks naked.

Jared the NYC Tour Guide Goldstein said...

Tompkins Square Park has one of America's, certainly NYC's, largest collections of American Elms.
The other, greater, one is in Central Park on the Literary Walk (below Sheep's Meadow).
The trees have magnificent branches that twist, and they can stretch wider than the height of the tree.
In the 1960s, beetles carrying Dutch Elm disease stoweawayed on shipping pallets to the US. They carried a fungus that kills the trees, causing an epidemic that devastated the US' population of American and Dutch Elms. Manhattan's isolation saved our trees. There is an attempt elsewhere to hybridize elms so that they are resistant to the fungus.
In addition, some elms can be inoculated.
In the meantime, it seems that TSP is replacing them with Asian Dawn Redwoods, a deciduous (!) pine tree that grows around 3 feet per year. You can see a mature one in the Liz Christy Garden on Houston between Chrystie and Bowery, as well as near 78 Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights. Liz Christy's is over 100 feet tall. I think she planted it in the 1970s.
These trees are real carbon sequesters, since they grow so much and drop their pine leaves.
I don't know why TSP is planting these redwoods. I love them, but I am not sure if they will crowd out people and fellow trees.
I would be interested if someone could contact whomever is in charge of such things to see the park's plan to preserve and replace our beloved precious elms.
I mourn for the Elms.

Goggla said...

Oh, no, now I know which tree that is! It's probably my favorite as it looks like a party favor in winter and has (had) the most gorgeous silhouette. Damn, now I'm really sad...I took many pictures of that tree. :(