Falling tree limbs continue to be a problem in the Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights areas.
Following our report earlier this month, we learned of several more incidents, including in front of Redeemer St. John’s Lutheran Church on 83rd Street near 10th Avenue.
“Across the street, the tree is not healthy,” Reverend Khader Khalilia, the pastor at Redeemer St. John’s, said on August 6. “The big tree limb fell last week and we have a nursery and a school so it’s a major concern.”
The city’s the Department of Parks and Recreation prunes street trees on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, which is supposed to allow the agency a manageable amount of trees to prune in each community board every year. If the agency deems a tree not an immediate issue, it’s essentially left until the next pruning cycle.
When the branch on 83rd Street fell, it smashed in a parked car window and scratched other vehicles. Khalilia said that the Parks Department had already evaluated the tree, calling it healthy. After the branch fell, he and a neighbor called 311 and were given a four-day timeline for its removal. Khalilia then contacted the 68th Precinct, which shared the issue with the Fire Department, which removed the tree limb.
“[The Parks Department] came eventually. It’s just frustrating that they don’t do anything. We have beautiful trees but they need to be taken care of,” said Khalilia.
The only tree pruning on the Parks Department website listed for the CB 10 area is for the area bounded by 86th and 72nd Streets, and the Gowanus Expressway and Fourth Avenue, in June, 2019. If residents would like to prune a tree themselves, they have to file for the permits first or get fined.
John Calabrese, who lives at 78th Street and Colonial Road, has been advocating for better care of the trees in his neighborhood for years. “When you you do it online it’s always, ‘We checked it, it’s okay’,” said Calabrese.
The Parks Department finally sent trucks and a cherry picker to cut down a branch off a tree in front of his house earlier this month after weeks of him calling and emailing 311. He said there a still quite a few brown limbs on trees near his home that need to be cut. Calabrese also contacted Councilmember Justin Brannan’s office for assistance.
“My office is in constant contact with Forestry on just about a daily basis to inform them of dangerous branches and trees that need attention,” said Brannan in response to the situation. “My staff was on Mr. Calabrese’s block following up on the removal of some branches. This is something we take very, very seriously – especially this time of year with all the high winds and rainstorms.”