Little Neck neighbors want problem tree removed


| mchan@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan
THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Neighbors in Little Neck say a rotted tree rooted on a popular pathway is on its last leg and poses a danger to pedestrians passing beneath its falling limbs.

“I walk on the street. I’m so afraid of walking under this tree that I make a detour,” said Vicky Cosgrove, 61, pointing to a problematic maple at 48-03 Marathon Parkway. “It’s very dangerous.”

According to Cosgrove, the tree is hollow inside and has a number of dying or already dead branches, especially on one long arm that looms over her neighbor’s front yard, where a three year old often plays. The threatening timber, Cosgrove said, is also situated on a sidewalk where many J.H.S. 67 students venture to and from the school located less than half a mile away.

“I’d hate to see a branch come down and kill a kid,” she said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Nahid Neysani, 56, who lives in the house in front of the tree, said it was once flanked by two other trees of the same poor condition. They were removed, she said, after a few branches came down on her fence and made noticeable dents.

Still, she said she was told by the city the last tree standing on her street was not a problem.

“They’re not rushing anything,” she said. “If we have crazy wind or storms, maybe the branches will break.”

Cosgrove said she filed multiple reports to 3-1-1 and even placed calls to higher ups in the Parks Department out of frustration, although her efforts were in vain. According to a recent 3-1-1 inspection report dated June 6 of this year, the Department of Parks and Recreation inspected the tree “but the condition was not found.” The service request was also listed “closed” with no planned further updates.

“I’m no arborist, but to say this tree was inspected and no conditions were found — I don’t believe them,” Cosgrove said. “Are they blind? I was livid. Nothing gets done with the city. They tell us, ‘If you see something, say something.’ When we do, we are treated with contempt.”

But the agency changed its tune soon after The Courier reached out for more information at the end of June.

A Parks Department spokesperson said after the city tree was inspected last week, it was determined to be “in poor health” and will be removed within the next 30 days. The tree will not be felled immediately though, the spokesperson said, because it is still alive and not split.

“I’m a tree hugger. I love trees, but you have to maintain them,” Cosgrove said. “Sure, you can’t help everything. If a tornado came tomorrow and a tree hit you on the head, some things can’t be helped. But this is an accident waiting to happen.”

City trees are inspected and pruned on a block-by-block basis in a portion of each community board every year, a Parks spokesperson said.