The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Parks Department Working Against Itself

The citywide, public-private program "Million Trees NYC" doesn't just give the impression of working cross purpose to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe's activities, it is blatantly obvious. A clear case in point is their "Trees for Public Health Neighborhoods" initiative. The following is from their website:

When planting one million new trees in a city as large as New York City, you have to start somewhere. The Parks Department has established six target neighborhoods that have been identified as neighborhoods of greatest need for trees. The six neighborhoods—referred to as Trees for Public Health neighborhoods (TPH)—were selected because they have fewer than average street trees and higher than average rates of asthma among young people. It is believed that additional trees in these neighborhoods will reduce the pollutants that trigger respiratory disorders, and contribute to healthier living standards.

The six Trees for Public Health Neighborhoods include:

* Hunts Point, Bronx

* Morrisania, Bronx

* East New York, Brooklyn

* East Harlem, Manhattan

* Rockaways, Queens
* Stapleton, Staten Island

Tree Planting Strategy

During the spring and fall tree planting seasons, the Parks Department will conduct block-by-block street tree planting in the six TPH neighborhoods, while New York Restoration Project and other non-profit partners coordinate tree planting on other public, institutional and private land, as well as engage in public education and community outreach activities. The goal is to completely green an entire neighborhood with an abundance of newly planted trees on both public and private lands.

While we are targeting neighborhoods of greatest need, MillionTreesNYC remains a citywide initiative. The Parks Department will continue to respond to individual requests for street trees, while NYRP and our many public and private partners engage community-based organizations and volunteers in every neighborhood throughout New York City’s five boroughs to plant and care for new trees.

I created the very long Google satellite image on the far left by piecing together several smaller sections. My intent was to give a more realistic view of the existing trees within the East New York section of Brooklyn. The simplified "Trees for Public Health" graphic lacked the authenticity necessary to show the dearth of trees outside of Highland Park and the Ridgewood Reservoir. The dense concentration of trees and other vegetation in and around the reservoir is located at the top of the Harbor Hill terminal moraine directly above the neighborhoods defined as needing trees. The final image on this page is a Google Earth close-up of the Ridgewood Reservoir. It clearly shows that the area within the reservoirs has the highest concentration of trees (by a wide margin) within the "target neighborhood".

I have just one, very simple question for our city administrators. Why in goodness name would Commissioner Adrian Benepe think that removing any of the forests from that neighborhood be beneficial to anybody? The decision to remove a forest anywhere within New York City is, clearly, not based on scientific recommendations, logic or common sense. I suspect that any investigative journalist worth their college degree could get to the bottom of this issue and it probably won't be a pretty picture.

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fiscus1 said...

The city may intend on planting a million new tress, but they take horrid care of the existing ones.

Case in point: Very recently the trees at the Maurice Fitzgerald Playground (106 Street & Atlantic Avenue) were pruned. It took them two days to do the job and the work was so severe that they left the trees nearly bereft of branches.

cat said...

well just like where the new yankee stadium is being build -- the south bronx is desperately in need of parkland. what does the city do? GIVES AWAY two parks! in the South Bronx with some of the highest asthma rates in children.

there we can see the direct corporate link, right? what is the reason for this proposed destruction of ridgewood reservoir? I think that commissioner benepe is just always looking for splashy ways to get in the news (milliontrees nyc - what a joke) and when it isn't privatization, it's p.r.

Thanks for your great blog!

Washington Square Park Blog

p.s. will you be reporting on the parks committee of city council meeting re: R.R.? Did that happen?