They’re hanging on by a thread.
Bay Ridgeites continue to worry about the poor condition of the area’s trees. Those fears were confirmed when resident John Calabrese spotted a sizable loose branch on July 3 that had recently fallen on the sidewalk of 78th Street and Colonial Road.
No one was injured by the heavy branch, but the neighborhood has become all too accustomed to such close calls. On May 17, a branch fell on top of a car parked on 87th Street between Colonial Road and Ridge Boulevard, causing damage to the back window of the vehicle.
The following week, more branches in the area fell following rain storms, including one near a playground at Colonial Road and 83rd Street. “The next day, the Parks Department was on the scene trimming trees,” Calabrese said.
According to Calabrese, the potential for additional branches to fall is real. Another branch about 10 feet long was recently seen hanging loose above the street in the same area. “The branch is facing directing down to the street,” he said. “I called 911 requesting the Fire Department take the branch down.” Progress was finally made days later as the FDNY removed the loose branch.
Throughout the past several months, Calabrese has also sent several requests regarding other loose branches to the New York City Parks Department. Some of the cases were closed due to the department deeming the trees safe while others remain pending. According to Parks, when a pruning request is made, a Parks forester will inspect the site and decide if the tree needs pruning right away. If the condition does not require immediate attention, they address the issue in the next pruning cycle.
That, however, is every 10 years, according to Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, which is on record asking the city to make the pruning cycle shorter, and who previously told this paper, “We continue to advocate for pruning because the length of time between prunings has grown in recent years. We have many old, large trees and pruning is very important,” she stressed.
“The whole area needs a good tree trimming and maintenance. A lot of trees need these dead branches to be cut before they fall dry up and snap and fall,” Calabrese said. “Any block you can see branches falling. They can hit and hurt someone.
“I would say eventually it will cost the City and Parks department more money to settle a lawsuit if someone is seriously hurt than it would be to just inspect and trim all the trees in Bay Ridge. “
Meghan Lalor, a Parks spokesperson, responded to claims on dead branches on 78th Street made on July 4. “We did receive the requests through 311 and our Forestry staff is looking into it,” she said.