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Many Trees Dying, Leaning In NYC After Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - When the flowers bloomed and the ground warmed up, one of Sandy's effects, hidden for the winter, became obvious.

As WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reports from Howard Beach, Queens, some say the city has to do more about it.

It took the start of spring for Carla Errico to notice something about one of the trees on her street.

"It's leaning a little bit and my concern is that if it's windy, it may fall over," she told Silverman.

Trees In Danger

The big sycamore is bare, save for a little cluster of leaves. At the roots, a patch of grass is bulging and straining against the sidewalk.

90th Street Howard Beach Tree
A tree on Carla Errico's block of 90th Street in Howard Beach, Queens (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

"Gardener came and did tell me that the tree was dead, that when they drink the saltwater, they dehydrate, so they die," she said.

But she said the Parks Department's inspector "declared that the tree was not dead and was not dying and they would not remove it."

"Some came back after the flood. Some did not," she said. "And it does look horrible looking down the block and seeing these bare trees."

Queens Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said that his office has gotten at least a dozen calls about sickly trees like this one.

He told Silverman that federal money could be available to help with removal.

"If there's a will, there's a way," he said.

The Parks Department said it will be watching trees throughout the summer to see if any show new signs of life.

They also released the following information:

More than 20,000 trees were lost throughout New York City due to Hurricane Sandy.  We will gain a fuller picture of the tree and plant mortality caused by Hurricane Sandy in late summer or early fall, when we can observe their behavior throughout the growing season. In the interim, we have been and will continue to remediate soil, as necessary, with compost and gypsum – both mitigate salt damage – to encourage the return of healthy biological functioning.

We also encourage residents to water their street trees, which helps to flush out excess salt. For more information on tree watering and to learn how you can become a tree steward, visit or contact MillionTreesNYC directly at (212) 360-TREE.
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