Tag Archives: trees

Western Queens gets greener: park officials


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Valerie Medoff

Western Queens has gotten greener these past four years with a project that has planted more than 1,000 new trees — and the program will just keep growing.

Partnerships for Parks, a joint program between the nonprofit City Parks Foundation and the city’s Parks Department, celebrated on Dec. 12 the planting of trees and tree care events in Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside over the past few years.

Key project representatives, elected officials and local organizations, such as New York Restoration Project (NYRP), Trees New York, City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks/Forestry, gathered at the celebration ceremony where the “torch was passed” to community volunteers, who will now lead the program and continue to green the neighborhoods.

Since 2011, the Greening Western Queens (GWQ) Urban Forestry and Community Stewardship Program has brought more than 1,100 new trees and over 100 community-enriching tree care projects to the western Queens neighborhoods.

The four-year, grant-funded project was part of a $7.9 million initiative of The North Star Fund to invest in energy efficiency and environmental projects in the community, which was affected by a 2006 electric power outage.

The GWQ program was created in the summer of 2011, when honey locusts and Japanese pagodas were planted. Since then, the project has planted 1,127 trees, including 598 new street trees on sidewalks, 528 trees in publicly accessible private spaces, such as schools, churches and public housing sites, and a storm water mitigation bioswale on the site of the Steinway & Sons piano factory in Astoria.

Other works include training over 400 people in tree care best practices with Trees New York and supporting more than 1,600 people at over 128 volunteer tree care and greening events.

An existing tree inventory was also conducted, and 455 blocks were digitally mapped in the project area in collaboration with TreeKIT and 54 local volunteers during 27 citizen mapping events.

The program also installed 400 custom-designed, GWQ-branded tree guards in order to protect the young street trees and planted more than 1,800 native perennials in 117 tree beds.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Five city trees illegally chopped at former Bayside Hills gardening center site


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Updated Saturday, July 27, 11:40 a.m.

The former site of the Keil Brothers gardening center in Bayside Hills isn’t a place for timber anymore.

Five city-owned trees with an estimated value of more than $340,000 saw the buzzer last week, resulting in complaints from residents and possible criminal charges and fines from the Parks Department.

Four ash trees and one American sycamore were killed. The trees were estimated to be at least 30 years old. The Parks Department is working with police to investigate the killing of the trees.

“Arborcide is a serious crime that deprives communities of the cleaner air, cooler streets and additional oxygen that trees provide,” Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said. “NYC Parks is working with the NYPD to investigate the arborcide of these five Bayside trees, and will pursue full replacement value.”

The Keil Brothers merged with Garden World in Flushing earlier this year, and sold part of the site to the Department of Education and the section in question to 48 Garden Realty LLC in July, city filings show.

Trees on both the 48th Avenue side of the property and the 210th Street side were cut. However, only the saplings on 210th Street were privately owned, while the sprawling 50- to 60-foot-tall city trees on 48th Avenue belong to the city.

Representatives for 48 Garden Realty LLC could not be reached for comment as there is no contact email or number listed for the the firm.

Residents weren’t happy about the landscape change and Councilman Mark Weprin promised charges would come.

“Arborcide is a criminal offense, and I will be working to support the Parks and Police Departments to see that the perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Weprin said.

Photo courtesy of John Richard

Although leaders at Community Board 11 said they hope new trees will be replanted, and the Parks Department is promising to seek full replacement, residents are still troubled by the loss.

“It was devastating. Instead of an empty lot, I was looking at a forest,” said John Richard, who lives across the street. “It’s sad because it takes 45 years to grow those things, but a day to cut them down.”

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article stated the trees were cut by the lot’s current owner, 48 Garden Realty LLC, based on misinformation. The Parks Department confirmed that the NYPD investigation is still ongoing.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Astoria Park gets new trees for green-friendly Five Boro Bike Tour


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

More than 30,000 bicyclists will pedal into a greener Astoria Park this May.

Volunteers from nonprofits Bike New York, the New York Restoration Project and other organizations, as well as local and city officials came together on Earth Day to plant 64 trees at the park, which will be one of the major rest areas for the 37th TD Five Boro Bike Tour.

“It’s our way of giving back to the environment and to the park,” said Beth Heyde, senior events manager for Bike NY.

Out of the 64 trees, which included 12 different species, 20 were placed Tuesday on the route bicyclists have taken throughout the park for years during the bike tour.

“It feels so good to give back to this park that has been giving us so much for 37 years,” said Kenneth J. Podziba, president and CEO of Bike New York, who was born in Howard Beach. “We love Astoria Park so much, we love Queens so much.”

The Five Boro Bike Tour is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 4, and begin in Lower Manhattan.

This year Bike NY’s bike tour, which allows 32,000 cyclists to wheel through all five boroughs on streets free of traffic, will be the city’s first sporting event and the nation’s second cycling event to be certified as sustainable by the Council for Responsible Sport after making the tour environmentally green.

The nonprofit has partnered with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to provide riders with fresh city drinking water, eliminating the use of plastic bottles during the bike tour. Riders will also receive a kit that includes a compostable bike ID plate, recyclable bibs and a reusable helmet cover.

“Today is the first step in the right direction,” Podziba said during the April 22 tree planting. “We’re improving Astoria Park. We don’t just want it to be one year; we want to do this every year.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Turn your Christmas tree into woodchips at this weekend’s MulchFest


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office's Flickr /Photo by Kristen Artz

Are you still hanging onto that Christmas tree?

If yes, then come to MulchFest, this weekend at participating parks around Queens and the rest of the city.

You can bring your tree to one of the park’s chipping locations on Saturday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to recycle it into woodchips.

Afterwards, you can take home your own bag of mulch or the woodchips will be used to nourish trees and plants on streets and gardens citywide. More than 26,000 trees were recycled last year, according to the Parks Department.

Some parks will be drop-off only locations. At these sites, you can leave your tree and it will be recycled later. The city’s Department of Sanitation will also be conducting special curbside collections for mulching and recycling through Wednesday, Jan. 15.

MULCHFEST LOCATIONS IN QUEENS:

Astoria Park*
19th Street & Hoyt Avenue
Chipping

Brookville Park*
Brookville Boulevard between 144th Avenue & Caney Road
Chipping

Cunningham Park*
Visitor Parking Lot & 196th Street
Chipping

Forest Park Bandshell*
Forest Park Drive, west of Woodhaven Boulevard
Chipping

Juniper Valley Park*
80th Street between Juniper Boulevards North & South
Chipping

Kissena Park (Sunday Only)*
164th Street at Underhill Avenue
Chipping

Kissena Park (Saturday Only)
164th Street at Underhill Avenue
Drop-off only

Land Restoration Project Compound*
Queens Plaza South & 10th Street
Chipping

Oakland Gardens / Playground 203*
Springfield Boulevard at 56th Avenue
Chipping

Rockaway Beach
Shore Front Parkway & Beach 94th Street
Drop-off only

Rockaway Beach parking lot
Beach 11th Street
Drop-off only

Rockaway Beach Neponsit Nursing Home parking lot
West of 149th Street
Drop-off only

Roy Wilkins Park
Park entrance at Merrick and Foch Boulevards
Drop-off only

Travers Park*
78th Street & 34th Avenue
Chipping

Chipping Biodegradable bags with free mulch at the sites marked with an asterisk (*)

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Homeowners get free tree help


| chudson@queenscourier.com

Tree Sidewalks Photow

Thanks to a $1.1 million grant from Councilmember Eric Ulrich, 317 people are going to get brand new sidewalks for free.

The Trees and Sidewalks program, started in 2005 by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, repairs sidewalks throughout the city that have been damaged by overgrown tree roots. The Parks Department will be focusing its repair efforts on 317 sites throughout Ulrich’s district, thanks to the grant he provided.

Owners of one-, two- and three-family dwellings are eligible for repair assistance under the program. Homeowners can call 3-1-1 to request an inspection of sidewalk damage by a Parks Department forester.

In 2009 testimony before the city council, N.Y.C. Assistant Commissioner for Forestry and Horticulture Fiona Watts explained how sidewalk damage is assessed.

“Inspectors quantify the damage to the sidewalk at each site by rating the site according to a number of criteria. These criteria include vertical lift, number of damaged flagstones, the volume of pedestrian usage, passable sidewalk width, and the condition of the tree.”

Damage is graded from 1 to 100, with repairs slated for areas scoring over 60, “based on available funding.” Unfortunately, once funds are exhausted, homeowners can be left with sidewalks in a state that is equal parts headache and hazard.

“[Homeowners have] been waiting on a list for a number of years to get their sidewalks fixed through the program,” Ulrich explained. “In the meantime, it’s been a tripping hazard, it’s a liability for them and if they have to pay for it on their own, it could be $1,000 or more to repair.”

Thanks to the funding from Ulrich’s office, work has already begun at designated locations, which were all scored at 65 or higher or the Parks Department damage scale. Ulrich estimates that all repairs could be completed within eight weeks.

 

Tree maintenance at root of problem


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Bob Friedrich

If a tree falls in Glen Oaks Village, and no one assumes responsibility for clearing it, does it cause damage?

Homeowners in the eastern Queens co-op are irritated over what they feel is a lack of effort by the city to clear dangerous tree roots and repair damaged sidewalks.

Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village, the largest garden apartment co-op in New York, demands the city take action.

New legislation, initiated by Friedrich and reinforced by Senator Tony Avella, would modify the current law that forbids residents from pruning street trees — ones located between the sidewalk and the road — holding the city responsible for damage done within co-ops by falling branches.

According to Friedrich, Hurricane Irene incurred over $59,000 in damages to Glen Oaks Village, ripping out roughly 100 trees and flooding several residents’ basements.

Since the storm, Friedrich said he has asked the city to remove the visible stumps and turned-up roots – something they promised to do within 90 days of the hurricane, according to Friedrich. He says the city has yet to take action.

“I refer to this area as ‘Queens, the forgotten borough,’” said Friedrich. “If you drive through Manhattan, you see all the resources they have. Bike lanes and trees. We can’t even get our curbs repaired. The city is inattentive to the needs of people in Queens.”

According to Friedrich, the city is accountable for repairing sidewalks damaged by trees during storms when it occurs in front of a single-family home. Friedrich feels this is an “issue of fairness and equality,” as according to him, residents of co-ops are responsible for paying higher taxes.

“The city has been doing an abysmal job and we’re really fed up,” said Friedrich. “We need them to step up to the plate.”

Friedrich added that many of Glen Oaks Village’s residents are senior citizens, vulnerable to falls and at risk of tripping over lifted tree roots.

According to a representative from the Department of Parks and Recreation, the city removes hanging limbs, dead trees and tree debris located on public property, including public sidewalks.

While property owners are responsible for sidewalk maintenance, owner-occupied, one-, two-, and three-family homes with sidewalks affected by the roots of curbside trees are eligible for free repair under the Parks Department’s Trees and Sidewalks program.

Since the program began in 2005, more than $18 million has been allocated to fixing over 9,200 trees and sidewalks throughout the city, including nearly $9 million to repairing damages in Queens.

 

Club to give away 100 trees


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Bayside - Whitestone Lions Club

A breath of fresh air is on its way to northeast Queens.

The Bayside – Whitestone Lions Club held its monthly meeting at the law office of Vallone & Vallone to discuss several community service opportunities, including the upcoming visit to the St. Albans Community Living Center to deliver the handmade knitted scarves, sweaters, and hats to the veterans.

The Lions also are planning an upcoming tree replanting and give-away of 100 trees to community residents on April 28. Last fall, the community suffered from the tornado that destroyed many beloved trees. In response, the Lions Club applied to the NYC Million Trees Program and was distinguished with the honor of being named as a host to distribute 100 eight-foot trees.

“It’s going to be another big project, but well worth the sweat and effort,” said Lions President Paul Vallone.

Many green-thumbed members were quick to volunteer a range of helpful contributions, including trucks to transport the trees, horticultural knowledge, and temporary storage while a large community-centered event is in the making to celebrate the achievement.

Ann Jawin, founder of the Center For The Women of New York, a non-profit women’s help and empowerment group, came to inform the members about her service organization, but ended up mentioning how impressed she was with all of the community members banding together to get the tree planting project off its feet.

“We work with any group that helps women because it’s all for the community,” said Jawin.

The Bayside – Whitestone Lions Club will meet Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. at the law offices of Vallone & Vallone. Everyone is encouraged to attend. For more information, call 718-428-7285

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/1/2011: Queens Library’s busy Elmhurst branch set to be torn down


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up
Queens Library’s busy Elmhurst branch set to be torn  down to make way for new state -of-the-art-facility 

The Queens Library’s second busiest branch is being torn down to make way for a new state-of-the-art facility. The Elmhurst Library, which hosted almost half a million visitors during the last fiscal year, will close on Nov. 7. And even though visitors will have to contend with a makeshift library of modular units for more two years, they say it’s worth the wait. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Attacks on NYC subway workers up 16% this year,  mirroring assaults on bus drivers

It’s not just bus drivers who are getting assaulted more frequently – attacks on subway workers also are up this year, officials said Monday. Assaults on conductors, cleaners and other subway staffers are up nearly 16% January through October compared to the same stretch last year, MTA officials said at a joint meeting of the City Council transportation and labor committees.  Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) urged the MTA to ask the NYPD to target the most troublesome bus routes with uniformed and undercover police officers. Read More: Daily News

 

NYPD combats bullying

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is aiming to take the fight out of bullies.
Officers of the NYPD Community Outreach Division joined Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi at P.S. 144 in Forest Hills on October 24 to present a police program designed to combat bullying in schools across the city. “Bullying is a real problem, and it can’t be ignored,” said Hevesi. “The NYPD did an outstanding job engaging the students in a discussion about bullying. The officers related to the students as they performed, and made them feel the emotional consequences of bullying.” Read More: Queens Courier

 

Richmond Hill Block Association gives residents a fighting chance against attack

Richmond Hill residents now have a fighting chance against sexual predators who have been terrorizing women in southeast Queens. In light of the recent patterns of sexual attacks in the surrounding areas, Sensei Ricky Singh of Dojo Warriors equipped a little more than a dozen women and men with vital keys to self-defense at the Richmond Hill Block Association’s monthly meeting on October 26. Of the countless sexual attacks in Queens, a 44-year-old female was assaulted on September 22 while she entered her home in Queens Village. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Downed Trees, Outages Remain After Weekend Snowstorm

New Yorkers were still feeling on Monday the effects of Saturday’s snow storm. Consolidated Edison said hundreds of city customers remained without power, and most of them were in the Bronx.The utility company said the delayed restoring of power is due to the extent of the damage from downed trees and wires in the borough. Meanwhile, tree cleanup was underway in all of the city’s parks on Monday. Read More: NY1

 

Mets To Alter Citi Field Walls To Try To Increase Scoring

The New York Mets are taking action to increase scoring at their home park, by bringing in and lowering the walls at Citi Field, hoping to turn a pitchers’ park into a neutral one. The new dimensions will add roughly 140 seats to the stadium, including 100 field-level seats in left field. A new left field wall will be about four feet closer to the plate, and the fence in left-center field will be brought 12 feet closer. Read More: NY1