Wednesday, October 31, 2012

City Loses Tens Of Thousands Of Trees - Hundreds In Central Park

City and Federal Parks Remain Closed

The Great Lawn - Central Park.  34 people have lost lives in the city as a result of Hurricane Sandy so far. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.



By Geoffrey Croft

Hurricane Sandy unleashed its deadly furry across the five boroughs.

Trees smashed into homes and cars and were directly responsible for killing at least three people. At least 34 people have lost thier lives, while others are still missing. 

Tens of thousands of trees were lost throughout city streets and in parks during the violent storm. 

"We lost hundreds of trees," said Central Park Conservancy head Doug Blonsky. 

The conservancy estimates they lost approximately 250 trees.

"The damage was not concentrated to certain areas this time, it was throughout the park."

"Thankfully we have plenty of crews both in-house and contracted out.  We were also lucky we did not lose any structures." 

Mr. Blonsky said Maples, Oaks and Linden trees were the hardest hit.

Cnetral Park - Merchant's Gate entrance.  South West corner of the park near Columbus Circle.

He said the park was shut until further notice to remove dangerous trees and survey the damage.

Asked when he thought the park might re-open he replied, "Maybe Thursday."

In Central Park metal barriers weighted down with sandbags were installed at entrances to prevent the public from accessing the park's 843 acres.  For the most part the public complied.

Yesterday morning Mr. Blonsky was seen opening up a barrier to let a stray female runner out of the park at Fifth Avenue and 90th Street.  

A number of large trees were lost in the Great Lawn, one crashed through a backstop. On the South West corner of the park near the Columbus Circle Merchant's Gate entrance tourists snapped photos of two large fallen trees.

A number of downed trees could also be seen along and from the park perimeter. 

W. 83rd St & Central Park West.  A tree dangles precariously in the park and onto Central Park West.  

This Sunday's NYC Marathon was another factor.

"It's a mess,"  said another Conservancy Park worker checking on fallen trees.  

"We trying to get it ready for the Marathon, there's a lot of pressure."

While playgrounds remained locked throughout the city the rest of the parks made due with  yellow caution tape strung across park entrances which many people ignored. Park Enforcement Parol and NYPD officers guarded some parks and interior roads and instructed the public to exit. 

Throughout the city crews are working feverishly to clear away trees and debris.  Downed trees were also littered across the city's parkways.

"The priority is to clear the street trees, and roads not inside the park," said one Parks Department gardener working a chain saw in the Bronx.

A woman examines a downed tree in Pelham Bay Park.  The city's largest park lost hundreds of trees. 

Hundreds of trees littered the ground of the city's largest park,  Pelham Bay in the Bronx. 

A handful of workers were seen scattered throughout the park removing trees and clearing away. A few people walked dogs and carefully navigated ignoring the park's closed status.

The Park's main sign was blown into the ground. 

The Department of Sanitation crews had multiple vehicles set up in the parking lot of Orchard Beach.

In Marcus Garvey Park, DPR employees using chain saws cleared away fallen trees. By mid-afternoon crews had removed a tree at a park entrance on 5th Avenue and 120th Street.  

A large Oak tree that crashed into the outfield of the baseball field remained. A 9-year-old girl was seen climbing on top of the limbs much to her father's disapproval.

The city said it received more than 7000 calls for downed trees. 

The last few years has been tough for the Middle Village community who has seen it's share of storm damage including from Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Firemen attach chain to tree on 78th St & 58 Avenue to pull it off a house in Middle Village Queens.  (Photo: Robert Holden/Juniper Valley Park Civic Association)

"Almost every block in the neighborhood had trees or major limbs down,"  said Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Valley Park Civic Association. 

"Some people were trapped and had to be rescued. Many trees are still blocking the streets. Thankfully we did not have the rain. We were lucky compared to other areas. We've had no loss of life as far as we know."

"We hope there is an aggressive tree pruning program," he said.

Mr. Holden said half the people had no power.

"A lot of seniors are calling, they're worried."

He said the August 2011 micro-bust which ripped thought selected commuunities in the city and destroyed thousands of trees and properties was the worst. 

"It's been a tough last few years ," Mr. Holden said.

"We've lost a lot of mature trees. It's heart breaking."

Rockway Beach lost dozens of blocks of its historic boardwalk.

Residents stand on the remains of part of the historic Rockaway boardwalk  in Queens after large parts of it were washed away during Hurricane Sandy on October 31, 2012.  (Photo: Getty Images)

The foundations of the historic Rockaway Boardwalk and other Parks Department facilites in Queens are all that remain after it was washed away. (Photo:  Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Staten Island was hit particularly hard.

Officials have confirmed that 12  people have died as a result of the storm. Many people had to be evacuated from their homes.

Police and rescue personnel are still searching for Connor and Brandon Moore, ages 2 and 4 who were washed away from their mothers arms when their suv was swept away into wetlands off of Fr. Capodano Blvd below Sand Lane on Monday. 

Tens of thousands of residents are without power.

300,000 gallons of diesel fuel have leaked into the Arthur Kill from the Motiva oil tank facility according to the Coast Guard. Oil has started to wash up in Smith Creek.

The death toll in the city has risen to 34, and was expected to go up. 

The Hurricane has caused billions of dollars in damage, it has destroyed more than a hundred homes and more than 400, 000 lost power. 

Central Park - Closed.  Police prevent the public from accessing the park at the Engineers' Gate entrance at Fifth Avenue & 90th St.  (Photos Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge

The Great Lawn.  Three downed trees. Field # 4 - A ballfield backstop in damaged by a fallen tree.

W. 83rd St. & Central Park West. 

An Oak tree crashed through a 16 foot high chain-link fence and into the outfield in Marcus Garvey Park. 

Marcus Garvey Park - Crews clear a downed tree blocking a path. 

Marcus Garvey Park. A father watches his 9-year-old girl climb on an Oak tree that fell into the baseball field. 

Marcus Garvey Park - Oak tree that fell into the baseball field.  

Marcus Garvey Park - Oak tree that fell into the baseball field. 

MillBrook Playground - Bronx.

Pelham Bay Park -  The  park's main sign was blown to the ground.

Pelham Bay Park - Park Enforcement Officers guard the road leading into Orchard Beach. 

Pelham Bay Park - Two trees and a lamp post.

Pelham Bay Park - Parks Department forestry crews go to work.

Pelham Bay Park - In the city largest park hundreds of downed trees litter the landscape.

Pelham Bay Park. 

Pelham Bay Park - A Parks Department worker clears a park entrance.

Pelham Bay Park

Gerard Avenue & E. 146th Street. 

York Avenue and E. 91St Street. A Department of Sanitation crew cleans up near the Asphalt Green

The Great Lawn.  Three downed trees. Field # 4 - A ballfield backstop in damaged by a fallen tree.

A number of trees fell around the Great Lawn in Central Park.    

The Great Lawn.  

The Great Lawn.

Firemen attach chain to tree on 78th St & 58 Avenue to pull it off a house in Middle Village Queens.  (Photos: Robert Holden/Juniper Valley Park Civic Association) 

 74th St near Pleasantview St, owner of vehicle walks by thankful that tree fell on car instead of her house.

 80th Street just north of Juniper Blvd North

Juniper Valley Park near Pullis Cemetery on Juniper Blvd North  

Multiple Tree Deaths As Huricane Sandy's Toll Rises

"Neighbors and relatives said that his family had pleaded with the city to remove the tree that wound up killing him — but that officials told them it was healthy enough to stay."

TRAGIC DUO: Brooklyn sweethearts Jacob Vogelman and Jessie Streich-Kest were killed. “I can’t believe she is not here anymore, said a pal.
Brooklyn sweethearts Jacob Vogelman, 23 and Jessie Streich-Kest, 24, were killed by a fallen tree while walking thier dog near E. 18th Street and Ditmas Avenue. (Photo: facebook) 

In Flushing Queens, Tony Laino was killed when a tree - that neighbors asked the Parks Department to remove last month - crashed through his bedroom.   A fund has been created to help his family.  

Storm fatality: A young couple were killed in Ditmas Park as they walked their dog through Ditmas Park as Hurricane Sandy touched down. Police say the two were crushed by a tree. (Photo by Paul Martinka via The Brooklyn Paper) 

City -Wide

Huricane Sandy’s destructive path through the New York area was also deadly.

As of late last night, the death toll in the city had risen to 22,  and was expected to go up according to the Mayor.

A young Brooklyn couple crushed by a tree while walking their dog.  

In Brooklyn, high-school teacher Jessie Streich-Kest and her boyfriend, Jacob Vogelman, both 24, were crushed by a falling tree while walking their dog, Max, on Ditmas Avenue at around 7 a.m. yesterday, according to the New York Post.
The dog survived and was taken to an emergency veterinary hospital.
Streich-Kest taught at the Brooklyn School of Social Justice and was a social activist with New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets.
“I can’t believe she is not here anymore,” said friend Matt MacLean. “Her passion for animal welfare, political activism and her new career as a high-school teacher were so amazing.”
A Queens man, too, was killed by a tree.
Tony Laino, 29, of Flushing, was sleeping at about 7 p.m. Monday when the tree crashed through his home and crushed him in his bed.

Tony Laino, 29,  (l) of Flushing Queens.  (Photo: gofundme/tonylaino)
"They tried to get this tree down for 25 years. They've been calling and calling and calling the city obviously did nothing about it and this is what happened," said Ralph Valente, the father of Laino's fiance.
"Somebody has to die before they take any action. There are so many trees in this neighborhood. If you look here, you look around, the sidewalks they're not even," said Nick Karapasas, Laino's neighbor.

Neighbors and relatives said that his family had pleaded with the city to remove the tree that wound up killing him — but that officials told them it was healthy enough to stay.
“The Parks Department was here last month cutting trees, but they let this one stay,” said neighbor Joanne Evangelista, 66.
Laino’s heartbroken fiancĂ©e, Danielle Valente, couldn’t hold back her tears as she stared at the home where her would-be husband died.
“This is awful,” Valente said, sobbing. “I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to be by myself.”
Read More:
New York Post - October 31, 2012 - By Doug Auer, Kathryn Cusma and Pedro Oliveira JR.

NY 1 - October 30, 2012 - By Rosemary Shultz

Times Ledger - October 30, 2012 - By Joe Anuta 

Friends, brother remember Flushing man killed during Hurricane Sandy
Queens Courier -  October 31st, 2012 - By Melissa Chan
A Walk In The Park - October 29, 2012 

A Walk In The Park - October 30, 2012 

Hurricane Sandy - All Parks, Playgrounds & Beaches Close Today At 5 p.m.
A Walk In The Park - October 28, 2012 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One Death - Numerous Injured By Fallen Trees As Hurricane Sandy Hits The City

Parks, Playgrounds, Street Trees, Beaches & Waterfronts Impacted

Tree Smash Car Harlem Hurricane Sandy

The large tree fell outside Jackie Robinson Park at  Bradhurst Avenue and 149th Street in Harlem at about 5 p.m. Monday. It crushed this car and damaged another. Residents say the tree was dead before Hurricane Sandy and are not surprised the high winds knocked it down, according to DNAinfo. (Photo: Jeff Mays/DNAinfo)  


By Geoffrey Croft

Hurricane Sandy unleashed its furry across the five boroughs on Saturday leaving death and destruction in its wake.

Thouands of downed trees were reported,  trees smashed into homes and cars. Record surge levels were reported throughout the city including almost 14 feet in Battery Park in lower Manhattan.

A 30-year-old man in Flushing Queens was killed this evening just after 7:00pm when a large tree fell into his home at 47-36 166th Street.  Police found the man pinned in his bedroom, according to sources.  The Department of Buildings have condemned the house. 

The victim's name was not immediately released.

A tree crashed through the second floor of a house on 166th Street in Queens, killing a man in his bedroom. (Photo: Courtesy Jim M. via gothamist)

Multiple people were injured on Saturday including:

A 30-year-old woman was struck by a large tree limb while jogging this morning around the perimeter of Prospect Park.  The incident happened at approx. 9:43 am near 297 Ocean Avenue.   The woman was brought to Kings County Hospital in serious condition according to FDNY officials.

A few minutes later a woman in her 40's was struck by a tree just after 10 a.m. while in the backyard of 206 Freeman St., in Greenpoint the FDNY said.  The woman was brought to Bellevue Hospital.

A Staten Island woman suffered a leg injury after being struck by a fallen branch and was taken to the hospital. 

This evening a 19-year-old was struck by a tree on the Pelham Bay Parkway. He was transported to Jacobi Hospital with a broken leg.

Gantry Plaza State Park - Long Island City. East River overflowing.   (Photo: WABC)

The Parks Departments' headquarters at the Olmsted Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens was flooded and employees had to be evacuated. 

On Saturday a number of Parks Department vehicles were struck by falling tree limbs.

In Bronx Park a large tree limb crashed into a parks PEP vehicle which triggered an ashma attack for one of the officers. The officers was treated by EMS and released at the scene.  In Marcus Garvey Park in Manhattan a vehicle sustained major damage when a large tree branch feel on it. 

On Staten Island a large tree fell through a house on 608 Renseelar Avenue bringing down live wires according to the NYPD. 

In the Bronx,  Orchard Beach was completely submerged,  with waves reaching the boardwalk this afternoon. Tiffany Pier was also submerged. 

Concrete and Barreto Park also experienced major flooding.

The Parks Department began closing parks and playgrounds on Sunday evening.

A massive tree fell across Garfield Place between 6th and 7th Avenues, in Brooklyn around 1:00 pm causing damage to parked cars, and making the street impassible. (Photo:

Fallen Tree on Garfield and Seventh Avenue Park Slope

Garfield Place between 6th and 7th Avenues.  (Photo: Leslie Albrecht/DNAinfo)

Downed tree at Orchard Beach during the beginning of Hurricane Sandy in the Bronx, NY on Monday, October 29, 2012. (Photo: EnidAlvarez/NewYorkDailyNews) 

Parking lot in Orchard Beach turned into a pond. (Photo: NY Daily News)

Union Square Park closed. Railings are tied down to light posts to stop them flying away. (Photo: NY Daily News)


Con Ed emergency vehicles mobilize in the north end of Union Square Park in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy on Sunday, October 28, 2012. (Photo: Jefferson Siegel/for the New York Daily News)  

Tree Smash Car Harlem During Hurricane Sandy

Area residents say the tree was dead and they aren't surprised the strong winds from Hurricane Sandy brought it down. The tree fell outside Jackie Robinson Park at Bradhurst Avenue and 149th Street about 5 p.m on Monday. (Photo: Jeff Mays/DNAinfo)

A tree cracked at its base and hit two vehicles on West 7th Street and Avenue T in Gravesend, Brooklyn this afternoon as a result of winds from Hurricane Sandy. Oct 29, 2012. (Photo: Todd Maisel/New York Daily News) 

A sailboat smashes on the rocks after breaking free from its mooring on City Island, New York. (Photo: Don Emmer/AFP/Getty Images 

Hunters Point- Long Island City Monday morning as the floods rise. (Photo: David Handschuh/New York Daily News)

Areas along the Belt Parkway near Verrazano Bridge in Gravesend Bay, were already breached by 9 a.m. on Oct 29, 2012, 12 hours before Hurricane Sandy is to hit in full strength. (Photo:Todd Maisel/New York Daily News) 

Part 2 -Waves from Hurricane Sandy as seen from 15th Street in Brooklyn, looking toward the Verrazano Bridge, on Monday. (Photo: Wayne Carrington)

A police officer cleared pedestrians off a walkway in East River Drive in Manhattan (Photo: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

A tree is uprooted at 75th street between 4th and 5th in Bay Ridge hit a house on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, as Hurricane Sandy is churning off the East Coast. (NY Daily News) 

Police work to secure the Coffee Street Pier in Red Hook. (Craig Warga / New York Daily News)

A wave crashes onto the walkway at Battery Park during the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012 in New York City. Record surge levels were reported throughout the city including almost 14 feet in Battery Park.  (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Water spills over into Manhattan in Battery Park. (Photo: UPI)

Battery Park being slammed. (Photo: NY Post)

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A Walk In The Park - October 29, 2012 

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