Central Park Tree Death: When Will Parks Department Act?

Ah, snow and sleds in Central Park. But the Times takes a moment to consider the death of Elmaz Qyra, a 46-year-old busboy who was conked and killed by a tree branch in the Park this week. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said "There is no reason to believe that anything else might happen like that."

The Times item recalls, contrary to Benepe's statement, the July Central Park tree branch bashing of Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, who remains comatose and whose family is suing the city.

Our own desultory inventory of falling tree limbs in the city over the past two and a half years reveals a greater danger than the Parks Department is willing to admit:

August 2007: After a windstorm, fallen trees smash "numerous" cars in Brooklyn. December 2007: The largest tree on 92nd Street between Ridge Boulevard and Third Avenue in Bay Ridge falls down.

March 2008: A tree smashes three cars in Corona. June 2008: Another car is crushed in Jamaica Hills; another reported in Brooklyn. August 2008: Corrections officer Donna Rypkema hit by a falling tree branch in Queens.

October 2008: A car smashed by a tree in Briarwood. December 2008: A 40-foot tree falls in Central Park -- no injuries. August 2009: Nearly 100 trees collapse in Central Park during a thunderstorm; no injuries. September 2009: A fallen tree in The Bronx interrupts Metro North service. October 2009: Windstorm knocks down trees in Brooklyn and Queens.

Just this month a tree fell on a car in Staten Island.

And that's just what we've heard about. The Parks Department is in charge of the trees, right? So what are they doing about it?


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